Why did I write a Travel Guide to Miami Beach?! So, about a month prior to our vacation I began looking up nearby beaches and spots to celebrate my 30th birthday! (I mean really?!) Miami Beach wasn’t initially at the top of my list, but after seeing affordable flights, reading other travel guides to MIAMI, why not go!? I mean a weekend in Miami couldn’t be that much more than a weekend drive to St. Simons or Destin, right? (I was wrong, but proceed.)
THE RUNDOWN of OUR STAY
Mom and I took an early morning Thursday flight from ATL to MIA. There was a bus system, but we took an Uber to our resort which was on Miami Beach. Later ,Check-in wasn’t until 4PM and it was about 11AM, but they did let us check in early to our room. (Had they, not the resort would have checked our bags. See STAY below.)
After checking in I dragged Mom to the nearest Citi-Bike stop. I downloaded the Citi Bike app which located the nearest bikes. I think over a few hours I spent $10 between the two of us. We biked down the boardwalk to SouthBeach grabbing lunch at a local Cuban restaurant on Collins Avenue. You are able to ride your bike down the boardwalk which sits between the resorts on Collins Avenue and the beach. Finally, We did a little shopping on Lincoln Road before taking an Uber back for a few hours at the pool before dinner at Nobu. Nobu was within walking distance from our hotel, Fountainbleu. I made the earliest reservation, maybe 6pm.
Earlier Friday, I wanted to do nothing but lay by the pool, sip Amaretto Sours and eat chicken fingers. I mean it was my birthday. This was the best day. We grabbed Lattes from the coffee shop. We alternated from beach chair to pool back to a beach chair. For dinner, I made reservations at Gianni at Versace’s mansion. I did accidentally book my first uber to the wrong Versace! The restaurant, for reference is in South Beach. Oops. By far my favorite dinner. The Versace Mansion was Instagram-worthy, with a pool in the dining area, and A+ service.
Did I go out after dinner? Maybe 😉 Later that evening, A friend from college invited me to Miami where we grabbed espresso martinis by the water at the Mandarin on Brickell Key before going to another rooftop bar called Sugar. My little bum pulled back into my resort and crawled into bed at 3:30 A.M. And THAT is 30 years.
Saturday I had places to be. We took an Uber into the Design District outside of Miami Beach where all my window shopping dreams came true: Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Bottega Veneta. We saw them all. I made one designer purchase in a pair of Christian Louboutin heels. I may not have the same feeling about this purchase once I arrived back home, but in the moment it was a grand purchase. We grabbed lunch at Tacombi and then coffees at the Dior Cafe while shopping. That evening we were so exhausted I canceled our reservations and we walked over to Scarpetta, an Italian restaurant facing the beach in our resort.
Sunday morning we took our early flight home to Atlanta!
Travel Guide to Miami Beach
LOOKS FROM THE WEEKEND
So Miami is inland, whereas Miami Beach is an island right off Miami. South Beach is the most popular with a price tag to match just south of Mid-Beach. I wanted to stay in a larger resort so we ended up in mid-beach. If I stayed inland, I might choose Biscayne Bay or Brickell Key. I didn’t find any of these descripitons on other travel guides
I am a Priceline girly so do try to pull up rates on Hopper, Expedia, and the main resorts page as well just to compare rates and specials, but I just noticed I was a Priceline VIP Gold. We were able to snag a room at Fountainbleu Resort for a great deal. It wasn’t beach-facing, so I think that was where the deal came in, but we had so much fun. The resort is massive with several pools, beach access, restaurants, a dessert station… and lots of people watching. (My favorite). I was warned pre-stay that it might be too much of a scene for my Mother and I, but we ate it up. With our shades on in our cabana by the pool, we scoped out the scenery and ordered drinkity-drinks in Coconuts. Our room was clean, we were able to bike to South Beach, and ended up eating at the restaurant on-site our last night.
- Nobu Miami
- Gianni’s at the Versace Mansion – Favorite Spot
- Scarpetto– Great seafood & view
- Dior Cafe (Design District)
- Tacombi (Design District, casual lunch spot)
- Limonada Bar + Brunch
- Don Sombrero
- Amalfi Trattoria
- Di Mauro’s Restaurant and Bar
- Byblos Miami
- Rent Citi Bikes and sight-see the boardwalk and Collins Ave
- The BEACH of course!
- Window Shop at the Design District
- Rent a Yacht for a few hours (A Must for bachelorettes, and large groups.)
I am actually going through Miami on my next trip and considering staying a night in the resort again because I enjoyed it so much! I did see some unhappy reviews on Facebook regarding lines. There can be a long check-in so make sure your arrival is mid-day rather than times other guests are checking in or checking out in the morning.