Miami, Florida Travel Guide
- Sunny beach weather year-round, especially from March to June
- Miami Beach's huge stretch of white sand and calm waters
- Topless sunbathing in South Beach
- Couture shopping, with rare designer boutiques
- Hopping club scene until 4 a.m.
- Chic fusion restaurants
- World-class golf courses
- Famed art galleries and design museums like the Bass and Wolfsonian
- Thriving LGBT community
- Live Cuban music on Calle Ocho
- Relatively little crime in most tourist areas
- Most attractive people in the U.S., according to Travel + Leisure
- No beaches near Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, or Downtown Miami
- Difficult, expensive parking, especially in South Beach and Downtown Miami
- Unreliable public transportation
- No private beaches -- all are open to public
- Occasional chilly days from December to February
- Sweltering humidity in the summer, especially August and September
- Slight hurricane potential from June 1 to Nov. 30
- South Beach: Quaint, neon-lit South Beach is one of the sexiest beach towns in America
- Coral Gables and Coconut Grove: Both off the beach, where hippie chic blends with upscale golfing
- Downtown: By day it's a business center, by night it's a relative ghost town
- Miami Beach: Low-key Miami Beach offers a quiet break from the at-times chaotic South Beach
- Northern Beaches: Wealthy locals, retirees, and snowbirds from the Northeast populate this quiet area
- Suburban Miami: Huge resorts with championship golf courses dominate sleepy, residential suburbia
- Key Biscayne and Virginia Key: Laid-back, surfer-dude appeal alongside the Ritz-Carlton
- Fisher Island: Exclusive 216-acre island with a private club, a hotel, and posh residences
What It's Like
Like Cuba's ultra-capitalist offshoot, Miami is a sprawling, modern metropolis with a Latino pulse. One of America's most fashion-forward cities, its couture shopping, A-list clubs, renowned art galleries, and innovative cuisine draw some pretty famous faces, with paparazzi (or Secret Service) frequently in tow. But beyond the glitz, Miami is a safe, impressively clean city -- the cleanest in America, according to Forbes -- with a touch of small-town charm in neighborhoods like South Beach, Coconut Grove, and Coral Gables. Young families, jet-setters, retirees, and college kids buying six-packs with spare change unite, brave the humidity, and celebrate the Sunshine State in style.
Where to Stay
South Beach -- with its perpetual techno gliding from every cafe, shoe shop, Ferrari, and pizza parlor -- is lined with historic, neon-lit Art Deco hotels that range from posh, be-seen haunts like the Delano to far cheaper, small-scale digs like the Albion. From Mid-Beach northward, larger, family-focused spa retreats like the Fontainebleau or Acqualina line the beach. Moving inland, there are business-focused Downtown towers like the Four Seasons and historic golf resorts like the Biltmore in Coral Gables or the Marriott Doral Golf Resort in Suburban Miami.
Miami Hotel Guides
We compiled lists of the best luxury hotels, family-friendly hotels, romantic hotels, hotel rooms, hotel service, pet-friendly hotels gay-friendly hotels, best hotel beaches, iconic hotels, best hotel pools, best hotel spas, and best bathrooms. Don't have time to read all that? Not to fear. We selected one hotel from each list that bests its competitors (if only slightly). Below, we present the best hotels of Miami.
After sleeping at more than 100 hotels throughout Miami and comparing them against one another, we are uniquely able to differentiate between the real value hotels and the cheap, seedy dives.
Price alone doesn't cut it -- what we're looking for is iconic design, beautiful rooms, overindulgent service, and the best damn food in Miami.
We've made a note of all the hotels we found especially kid friendly -- sometimes because they were overtly kid-centric (like the Loews and the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort), and sometimes just because we saw families having a lot of fun.
Here's our list of hotels with the largest rooms in Miami, with the best bathrooms, TVs, minifridges and freebies to boot.
Here's our list of the most attitude-free Miami hotels where you will be waited on hand and foot throughout your stay -- from check in to check out, from the beach to the pool and from your room to the restaurant.
While many Miami hotels allow pets, the hotels on this list really go out of their way -- offering everything from gourmet food to pedicures.
Miami's South Beach is one of the most gay-friendly destinations in the country, so any hotel in this neighborhood is a pretty good bet, but hotels near the gay beach at 12th St. or near hot gay clubs have a slight edge over the competition.
Even the tiniest of bathing suits is too restricting for some, so we've compiled a list of the best hotels to bare it all in -- places where the tops come off poolside or where everything comes off in the steamy, coed spas.