228 miles south east of Orlando
A Miami vacation will introduce holiday makers to a sub-tropical city very different from anywhere else in the USA. This cosmopolitan playground attracts 11 million visitors per year, more than any other US destination. The days are long gone of Miami just being a playground for aging retirees.
The city still attracts folks wanting to retire with the sun on their backs but it also attracts the ultra-chic glitterati, the yachting fraternity and Cuban immigrants. The population of the Greater Miami Area is 50% Hispanic.
Spend a day on the streets of Miami and you will hear conversations in Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and German. Most Miami vacations are actually spent at Miami Beach, a separate municipality on a sandbar 4 miles (6 km) across Biscayne Bay from Miami.
The combination of these two cities includes several ethnic neighborhoods such as Little Havana and Little Haiti. This cultural mix is evident in Latin American languages, cuisine and music.
Miami Beach attracts holiday makers wanting the sun, magnificent beaches, entertainment in the clubs and bars, and enjoyment of the diverse mix of art, music, food, fabulous golf courses, professional sports and other attractions.
Visitors can dine at a different ethnic restaurant every night and enjoy a diversity of international cuisines. Miami, and Miami Beach, provide an excellent base for travel to several other major holiday attractions. The Everglades are just a short distance inland and to the south, the beginning of the Florida Keys is just off shore.
Miami has the biggest cruise ship center in the USA with hundreds of sailings to all parts of the world, but especially the Caribbean and Latin America. Visitors will find Miami hotels to satisfy all tastes and budgets. From the fanciful restored boutique hotels of the Art Deco district, modern high rise hotels, beach front condominiums and resorts, serviced suites, budget hostels, inns and guesthouses... there is a type and price of accommodation to suit everyone.
Getting There & Getting Around
Miami International Airport is one of the major airport in the USA. It is a major hub for American Airlines' and most major domestic airlines fly to and from Miami, including Continental, Delta, Northwest/KLM, United and US Airways. Several economy carriers also fly in and out of Miami. Amtrak operates two trains daily from New York. The travel time is approximately 27 to 29 hours to complete the journey to Miami.
The Metro-Dade Transit Agency runs two rail systems. Metrorail is a modern elevated commuter train between downtown Miami and the southern suburbs. Metromover is an elevated line circling the downtown area and connecting with many of the important attractions, shopping and business districts.
Tri Rail is a south Florida commuter train service that connects all the major centers from Miami to North Palm Beach.
Miami & Miami Beach Vacation Highlights
The Miami Beach Promenade has probably appeared in more films, and served as a photo shoot backdrop, than any other beach front location in existence. It's also the favored spot for skaters, bicyclists, skateboarders and joggers. A walking tour of Miami is recommended to witness the spectacular rejuvenation of the 1920's buildings in the Art Deco Historic District. This precinct is the heart of South Beach and is one of the largest areas on the US National Register of Historic Places.
Miami has several buildings with unique characteristics that make them stand out from their surroundings. Morbid curiosity draws visitors to Versace Mansion (aka Amsterdam Palace) because the famous designer was murdered on the front steps. However the intricate Italian architecture makes this house a genuine attraction in its own right.
Beach Post Office dates from 1937 and this historic post Depression
building features a fabulous rotunda, coral steps up to the entrance, an
intricate sun motif and a mural depicting parts of South Florida
Estefan Enterprises' headquarters is located in a whimsical
building with a facade carved with color-lined waves and
and Gardens is a magnificent villa built
in 1916 as the winter retreat for the industrialist James Deering.
ornate mansion took 1,000 artisans 5 years to build. The property is
overflowing with antiques, relics and works of art starting from the
Most of the original furnishings and paintings are still
intact and the magnificent gardens are a highlight. Miami's most beautiful
swimming pool is the Venetian
Pool, dating from 1924 and listed in the National Register of
Historic Places. Underground artesian waters feed the lagoon pool which
is shaded by three-story Spanish porticos with fountains and waterfalls.
This ornate mansion took 1,000 artisans 5 years to build. The property is overflowing with antiques, relics and works of art starting from the 16th century. Most of the original furnishings and paintings are still intact and the magnificent gardens are a highlight. Miami's most beautiful swimming pool is the Venetian Pool, dating from 1924 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Underground artesian waters feed the lagoon pool which is shaded by three-story Spanish porticos with fountains and waterfalls.
The Miami Metrozoo is a 290-acre complex with mono-rail located about 45 minutes away from central Miami. The enclosures are not caged and the animals are managed by carefully designed moats. This is a popular attraction for younger children as there is a petting zoo and play area. The Parrot Jungle and Gardens is a Miami favorite. Along with the hundreds of parrots, macaws, peacocks, cockatoos and flamingos, the park features an Everglades exhibit, a petting zoo, and several theaters, trails and aviaries.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, located at the southern tip of Key Biscayne, has some of the most secluded beaches in Miami. The reserve has been consistently rated in the top 10 beaches in the U.S. for its 1.25 miles of wide, sandy beaches. The historic 1825 lighthouse is the oldest in South Florida.
Rare and exotic plants are the attraction at Fairchild Tropical Garden. At 83 acres, it is the largest rainforest environment of its kind anywhere in the continental USA. The 11 lakes and numerous meadows are home to palmettos, vine pergola, palm glades, and other unique species. Over 100 species of birds have been recorded at the garden.
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