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Florida Guide > Days Out

Miami - South Beach

Miami is approximately 240 miles from Orlando and it is about a 5 ½ hour drive. You can fly direct to Miami (the airport is situated 6 miles to the west of Miami) from the UK and I know of Brits who fly in here and then drive up to Orlando spending a few days in both locations.

I first visited Miami Beach \South Beach in January 2000. Having spent the Millennium in Orlando we decided we wanted to escape the hustle and bustle and visit Miami and South Beach in particular. South Beach occupies the southernmost 3 miles of Miami Beach. This was my first visit but hubby (we were not married at the time and it was our first holiday together) had visited it many times whilst working in the area. So he decided to take me to Miami for the night! He hired a convertible and off we set for the bright lights! We arrived 5 hours or so later and checked into one of the privately owned Art Deco hotels on Collins Avenue behind Ocean Drive. It was extortionate but absolutely beautiful, felt like a movie star! (Never have been a cheap date)!

After freshening up we decided to go and have some pre dinner drinks. Arriving on South beach at Ocean Drive we found it very poserish with people cruising or strutting up and down the street!! Beautiful cars and people everywhere. We even saw the archetypical babes and hunks on roller skates in their bikinis and swimming trunks coming back from the beach! After a couple of cocktails, we chose a restaurant from a cast of many. (It turns out it was the restaurant on the front cover of a rough guide to Florida! Did not realize this at the time and a few months later I was reading the book and thought the picture looked familiar and then the penny dropped)! The meal itself was very nice with a leaning towards Italian, pricey as you would imagine sitting opposite the beach. The wine alone was about £40 for something run of the mill that would have cost £5 in the supermarket! You have to throw caution to the wind on South Beach!

After the meal we did a bit of cruising ourselves as at night it is a real hive of activity, as tourists and locals alike hit the town to party. We visited a few bars and then headed for the more familiar names of Planet Holiday and Fat Tuesdays. Planet Hollywood has an outside bar with a swimming pool so we sat at the bar and waited for the inevitable to happen! The frozen drinks in Fat Tuesdays are yummy but the bar itself gets very busy and the crowd is young, at 32 I felt old! There are many other bars and clubs on South Beach where you can party the night away until the early hours and they cater for all tastes. When we eventually decided to call it a night we walked the length of the beach and saw all sorts of things, from Sand sculptures to Gianni Versace’s mansion where he was tragically gunned down in 1980S. The mansion is gated but you can peep through into the gates if that is your want. The properties in the area would set you back a cool million or two!

The next day after a leisurely stroll around the beach by day, it was amazing how different it was. We took some snaps and then had to head back to Orlando and caught our flight home tired but on a high after my first trip to Miami and made our Millennium trip to Florida even more memorable. Ironically a year to the day we got married in Las Vegas!!!

South beach by day and by night is definitely worth a visit.

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Page added on: 14 September 2004
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