The Sunshine State | Florida

The Sunshine State | Florida

I was in Miami from the end of May to early June, mainly with my best friend who had come out for a holiday. It was lots of fun with some great party spots and meals out, and I really did like all the sides of Miami that I was able to see. However, the weather in ‘The Sunshine State’ turned from stormy to intensely humid, and by the end I simply felt exhausted!

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3 THINGS YOU REALLY CANNOT MISS:

SOUTH BEACH | on my first day the sun was blaring and I walked and swam from the Freehand Hostel on 27th street all the way to South Point. The ocean was beautiful – warm and clear – and it was a fun way to check out all the painted life guard huts. I’d recommend seeing the historical Art Deco area via a self-guided tour, as there are so many cool buildings and colours everywhere. Also check out: The Clevelander Hotel’s roof terrace, JazID for amazing reggae, plus Lost Weekend and Macs Club Deuce dive bars for drinking.

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Miami’s beautiful South Beach
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South Beach in Miami
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I love SoBe’s painted life guard huts
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Stars and Stripes of course
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The Breakwater Hotel shows the use of clean lines, symmetry and ziggurat (zig zag) shapes that typify art deco.
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Sometimes hotels with nautical motifs, like the lighthouse tower, are defined as Miami Beach Tropical Deco.
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One of the best known hotels in the street, with several series of thin horizontal bands either side of the sign

HIRE A BIKE | and cycle over the Venetian Causeway, stopping at neighbourhoods like Little Haiti, the Miami Design District, and Wynwood – where there is loads of cool graffiti to admire. It was a hot and sticky cycle, but definitely worth the 24 hour hire to see a bit more of this diverse city.

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Graffiti on pretty much every wall in Wynwood
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All of the graffiti is impressive big works of legitimate art, not just tagging
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Shark attack in Wynwood

FLORIDA KEYS | we stayed in Islamorado at the lovely Drop Anchor motel, but were cursed with torrential rain the entire time. There are miles of beaches which we didn’t get to enjoy, and fun typically-American restaurants and bars like The Conch, Hog Heaven and Tiki Bar Holiday Isle. Also check out: Key West, at Florida’s most southerly point.

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We made it to the most Southerly Point without getting washed away, just
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The Sunshine State wasn’t living up to it’s name when we were at Key West

3 THINGS WORTH A SNOOP:

FORT MYERS | this destination was picked in a desperate sun-seeking attempt! Turned out pretty well though: another relatively small little beach town, not much going on and full of a middle aged crowd, but a great choice of stay at cute Silver Sands motel. Also check out: the walk to the headland, oysters at Smokin Oyster Brewery, and all you can eat prawns at The Grovelander.

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Happy to see that blue sky again – Fort Myers
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Silver Sands motel is a great spot, right near the beach
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Fort Myers is very charming and has a proper middle-America beach town feel
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Look how white that sand is, and how grey those clouds are! This is the headland at Fort Myers.
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A quick stop at pretty Bonito Beach on the drive towards Fort Myers

MARY BRICKNELL VILLAGE | is a great, buzzing spot that offers an alternative evening out to trawling South Beach, Miami. You’ll need to jump in a cab to drop you over Venetian Way, although it’s not expensive. Also check out: Blackbird Ordinary for an outdoor bar.

LITTLE HAVANA | offers another neighbourhood to explore in Miami, and on the last Friday of every month – which we luckily hit – there’s a street party vibe. There are old cigar shops with live music and drinking, and donation-only super-strong cuba libres, as well as the usual restaurants and bars open and in full swing.

3 THINGS TO STAY CLEAR:

URBAN WEEKEND | when we arrived it Miami, it was unintentionally on Memorial Day – which means a long weekend holiday in the US. There was a huge hip hop festival in town, which made for some great booty-shaking people watching, but made everywhere really expensive and crowded, with tonnes of police security.

EVERGLADES | we had fond memories of Gentle Ben style airboats, and pictured ourselves gliding effortlessly across the water. Instead we ended up kayaking in a quest for alligators. This was not only fruitless, but also pretty nerve-wracking the entire time in the very real fear that we might actually come across one! Also check out: Everglades Hostel is cool in a grubby-hippie kind of way.

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Gator hunting in the Everglades – luckily no sightings!
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Pretty scary each time your brain remembered a gator could be lurking near by…..

FORT LAUDERDALE | I got here on 2 long buses from Miami, and wasn’t that impressed. The beach is nice enough albeit a bit trashy, but Las Olas Boulevard and the riverfront area simply seem very monied from the big yachting crowd, and boring. I guess it’s great if you’re in said crowd!

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The beach at Fort Lauderdale

1 THING I WISH I’D DONE:

ORLANDO | I would have loved to have had the time, and money, to visit all the Theme Parks, from Disney World, to Universal and Epcot, as well as places like Kissimmee that I last visited as a 9 year old with my family.

AND KNOW THIS: Gatorade was named for the mascot of the University of Florida, where the drink was invented.

 

 

–> –> –> Next stop The Prairie State | Illinois –> –> –> (post coming soon)

–> –> –> Click here for the USA road trip | About My Trip page –> –> –>

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