I think most travelers go to the U.S. not for a couple of days, but at least for a week and usually plan to see not just one city, but at least a big chunk of this not the smallest country. So here we are, taking in most of the East Coast in three weeks. Not only did we visit Niagara Falls first, but we also drove another 2,500 kilometers south from New York and visited a lot of towns, eventually making it all the way to Key West. One of the cities we did visit was Miami, located in the southeastern United States of America and the Florida peninsula in the state of the same name.
We drove there in a rental car in New York, and after a billboard with the state’s name, signs for orange farms and beaches kept appearing on the road. As we soon found out, locals call Florida “the sunshine and orange state.”
The sign at the entrance to the state
Oranges and tourists owe their appearance here to the tropical monsoon climate and the proximity of an oceanic warm current.
History and Population of Miami
Before Europeans, these warm lands were inhabited by Indians. The first Old World arrivals were the Spanish, but after U.S. independence the English led the way. Later on, the state’s location and climate brought many nations and peoples to the area, establishing corners of their culture in the city.
How to get there
Travel options to Miami are quite varied and can vary depending on goals, objectives, time and budget availability, and the traveler’s location. The main ways:
Our and hopefully your route.
The journey to Miami is not a short one and will take a tangible amount of time, even if you take a plane.
By air .
This is the fastest way. There are different ways to get to Miami from Russia:
- Aeroflot planes fly every two days (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays) for about 500 USD per ticket (you will spend 13 hours in flight).
- You can also build a complex route through European airports with connections. It is longer but cheaper, for example via Istanbul the trip will take about a day, but the tickets will cost about 150 USD cheaper. You can find the tickets for the dates you need with the commonly known search engines or here.
Both options for flights from Russia take you to the Miami International Airport, located on the west side of the city, literally about 7 km from the center. It takes about 20 minutes by car or 30 minutes by subway from Miami International Airport Station.
Flight options if you are already in the United States:
- From John F. Kennedy Airport or LaGuardia Airport in New York City, for example, it takes just over 3 hours to fly with Delta airlines, with airfares ranging from $150 to $300 depending on the time of day.
- From Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington, D.C., it takes less than 3 hours and costs 100-120 USD.
- Miami’s domestic flights are also served by Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport, located slightly north of the city. It is about 40 minutes by car or cab from the airport to Downtown.
Amtrak offers a 28- or 31-hour trip from New York City (starting at Penn Station) with a ticket starting at $100 USD and departing at 11:00 or 3:00 PM.
If you’re already in D.C., you can catch the same trains at Union Station, but the trip is a little faster and cheaper. Trains run every day and tickets can be purchased either online or directly at the departure stations.
The arrival station is called “Miami” and it takes 25 minutes by car or cab to get downtown and the same 25 or 30 minutes by Metro from the Tri-Rail station closest to the station.
The train that will take you to the south
Greyhound offers rides all along the East Coast from New York City (Port Authority station at 625 8th Ave, NY 10018) for prices starting at $70 USD, depending on the day of the week and time of departure.
However, the journey will take 30 to 35 hours and may require 0 to 2 transfers. The bus makes several stops in the city, the last one at Miami International Airport.
Bus across the East Coast
Probably my favorite way. Not the most budget-friendly, but the most mode-free, schedule-free. It allows you to stop and see anything you like, eat at the best seafood restaurants in Georgia, swim at any Florida beach, sleep in atmospheric motels, and things like that.
The Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge is 28 km long.
It takes about 20 hours to get from New York City, not counting stops if you are in a hurry. If you have time, however, I recommend that you don’t just stick to the main I 95 route, which runs all the way up the East Coast. Then on the way you can swing by Washington D.C. (you can see it without the museums during the daylight hours), or take a ride through Delaware and drive the 28 km Lucius J. Kellam Jr. Bridge-Tunnel across the Chesapeake Bay, stop in Williamsburg and visit the colonial town to get a 19th century feel, or visit Rainbow Row in Charleston. But if you are still in a hurry, when leaving New York, choose the direction South and itch until you see the sign: MIAMI.
Charleston’s most famous street.
When it’s in season. When it’s best to go.
The climate in Miami is tropical monsoon. To give you an idea of what tropical means: the average temperature in January is about +19 ° C (although during the day rises to +25 ° C), and in summer it’s +29-35 ° C. And monsoon: the rainy season lasts from May to mid-October, and from mid-August to late September here often typhoons, and periodically there are tornadoes.
The most favorable time for a holiday here is just from November to April. During this time, of course, there are more tourists and accommodation prices are higher (by about 30%), but also there is more action. Altogether in Miami it is always warm (or hot), humid and often rainy, and because of the proximity of the Everglades, the western part of the county regularly sees alligators. But it’s not all bad.
Along with that, Miami is one of the most partying, swimming, cruising, and possibly entertaining places on the entire East Coast of the United States.
Miami Beach in Season in Winter
Miami in Summer
Late spring and summer is a good time in Miami for vacationers like me – lovers of hot summers, swimming, contemplation and few tourists.
It’s hot (around 30 degrees Celsius) and sunny, but sometimes it rains or even hurricanes, so it’s not that crowded, but you get a lot of weather.
Miami in the fall
September through October is still the rainy season, and typhoons and hurricanes are most common.
Miami in the spring.
We were in Miami in early May and were pleased with the way it turned out. The weather was quite warm but not hot – about +25 ° C, the rainy season hadn’t yet come, cloud cover was either absent or minimal, and this allowed us to go for walks and trips to the beach, and watch gorgeous sunsets and sunrises.
One more positive moment – absence of tourists. This allowed us not to plan everything in advance, and act as we pleased: if we wanted – didn’t bother with booking, and chose any favorite motel (plenty of places available!), if we wanted – went for a ride on a bicycle or speedboat (not too hot and the ocean is not stormy!).
Sunrise and sunset in Miami Beach.
By the way, there is a Cuban Festival in the Little Havana area in March, keep that in mind if you happen to be planning your trip for spring.
Miami in Winter
Winter here, of course, a purely calendar concept, the temperature rarely drops below +20 ° C, and during the day most often reaches +25-30 ° C, it almost never rains.
Thanks to the warm current, the water in the Atlantic remains warm all year round. Therefore, both Americans and tourists try to go here from November to March.
All the activities that were promised, you can try: swimming, surfing, boating, and walking in comfortable temperatures.
Miami – weather by month
Neighborhoods. Where to live
Despite having just over 430,000 residents on its own, Miami is one of the four urban agglomerations in the United States with more than 5 million residents in and around the city. This makes the city one of the key economic points of view in the southeast of the country, and therefore it is full of offices of all kinds of international corporations and banks.
In general, the city allocated a lot of areas, but for convenience they are grouped in the Northern, Southern, Western and Central parts.
- In the Center, which is actually in the east on the waterfront, is Downtown – the business district. A little further north is the administrative center, hospitals, and research institutes.
- To the South are historic neighborhoods like Coconut Grove and Coral Way. Here, along with the old neighborhoods, you’ll find a lot of nightclubs, bars, restaurants and stores.
- The western neighborhoods are now populated mostly by Latin Americans, not for nothing one of the areas here is called Little Havana.
- The north of the city – it’s mostly residential neighborhoods with high-rise apartment buildings and mansions of the 20s and 50s of XX century. It is also home to the Latin and African-American neighborhoods of Little Haiti and Overtown.
Briefly about some of the neighborhoods:
- Downtown is one of Miami’s most famous neighborhoods. One of its standout streets is Brickell Avenue, a pretty neighborhood for the lovers of urbanism and skyscrapers, by the way it’s considered the street with the highest concentration of international banks in the United States. And in general, there is a huge number of central and not only offices of large companies, banks, courts, schools, research institutes and hospitals. For living, this area is one of the quietest. During the season, a night will cost from about 130 USD.
- Miami Beach is not formally part of the city itself, but many people associate it with Miami itself. The most elite hotels, the most expensive restaurants, the most nightclubs, villas and yachts of the most famous celebrities and finally 15 km of beach on the Atlantic Ocean. The coastline of the beach is divided into three main parts. If you want to live in the center of the party, choose Miami Beach, or maybe even its southern part. A night’s stay will cost you from 150 USD, sometimes there are promotions on booking sites such as Bucking or Venus and you can get a room at a lower price. You can compare hotel rates here.
- In Little Havana, up to 98% of the population speaks Spanish. During the day in this area, you can visit a theater, museum, go to a fruit market, sit in a cafe or buy Cuban souvenirs. In the evening, it may not be safe to walk because of the high crime rate. By the way, in March, the famous Cuban festival Calle Ocho is held in the area. During the season here you can get a room for 75 USD, because of the distance from the coast and the local color. If you want to fully immerse yourself in the local color, it makes sense to rent an apartment from locals, you can find options here.
- Most of the population of Little Haiti come from the island of the same name in the Caribbean archipelago. By day you can learn about the culture of this country (for example, by visiting the Haitian Museum of Art or the Museum of Haitian Heritage), and in the evening with the barbarity of the local punk. There aren’t even any hotels in the area itself, although there are a few motels in nearby Aper East Side. One of them, the Shalimar Motel, is where we stayed. In season the price was about 110 USD with breakfast, and in May we paid 90 USD for a standard room. The motel itself is decent enough and even has its own free parking, but the surroundings are quite dark, and the staff themselves warned us not to move without a car even during the day.
- Coconut Grove is an area in the south, with bedroom communities on one side and lots of cafes, bars, restaurants, festivals, parades, and carnivals on the other. The center of cultural life of this place is the entertainment center “Kokowalk. There are also several small parks. The most famous among them is Barnacle, where you can see what the coast of Florida looked like before it was built up. One of the nicest places to live, it combines a safe environment, nice and cozy residential neighborhoods, and an abundance of cafes, restaurants, and that big entertainment center.
What are the prices of vacations
Prices in Miami vary widely, so when planning your trip, decide on a budget first and then scour the internet and you’re sure to find options that work for you. Globally, everything except public transportation and cabs are cheaper in the off season, which is about April through October. We still saved money by eating out not at restaurants, but at fairly budget cafes and cooking at home.
Also google coupons for entertainment, we, for example, saved an extra 15 USD for three people on a speedboat ride on Grupon. Museums sometimes have student discounts and discounts for youth under 25, they may be symbolic (about 1 USD), but still nice, and if you visit a few places, it will be even nicer.
International Student Card.
I once made an Isic card and actively used it both in Europe and in America, it is believed more readily than our classic paper student card.
How much will it cost to travel and vacation in Miami on a trip?
Tips for travelers
Vacationing in Miami has always been very attractive and prestigious, and although the prices of trips are quite high, reviews of tourists who have been to Florida unanimously argue that the trip is worth any cost.
How much does a tour to Miami cost?
Prices for trips to Florida depend primarily on what exactly will be included in the tour. On average, travel agencies ask from 42 to 50 thousand rubles for a flight, assistance in obtaining a visa and accommodation for one week. The cost of “exclusive” tours for a month costs on average from 92 to 102 thousand rubles, and a visit to New York and Miami, where the total stay in the U.S. lasts two weeks, will cost 70-75 thousand rubles.
Freebird / flickr.com
These are average prices for a vacation in the U.S. for one person, which does not include meals and organized excursions.
How much will it cost for an independent trip?
While it is often better and much more budget-friendly to go to European countries on your own, the situation with the prices of everything related to a trip to the beaches of Miami is quite the opposite.
The first thing that those who are going to see with their own eyes the best beaches in Miami and all the other famous places of this city will have to deal with is getting a visa. The procedure for obtaining a visa to the U.S. often negates the desire to visit the country.
The U.S. consulate sees every tourist as a potential emigrant, and illegal, looking at applicants literally under a microscope. The denial of visas for self-filing occurs much more often than people think, and the paid fees are not refunded.
There is another nuance, which should know about the options for an independent holiday in Florida. This is the fact that the visa in the U.S. does not give the right to enter the territory of this country. That is, you can fly into Florida and within the same day to fly back, as the border officer would find it impossible to let into the country.
This situation seems anecdotal to anyone who has never crossed the border into the United States, but it is very real. When you travel on your own, the chance that a long trip to the beach in Miami will end with a view of Florida from the porthole, is very high. And no hotel reservations or other documents indicating the purpose of the trip can be disregarded. Especially full families visiting the U.S. for the first time “do not like” to be let in.
Phillip Pessar / flickr.com
The third feature that those going to the U.S., whether to Miami or any other city, will have to face is the cost of the flight. Prices for one-way airfare start at 25700 rubles and have no upper limits.
Accordingly, adding together the cost of the flight, the hassle of obtaining a visa, passing the border line in the U.S. and adding a number of other little things, such as the cost of the trip from the airport to the hotel in the absence of a transfer, it becomes quite obvious that seeing the beaches of Miami Beach more profitable, using the services of travel agencies.
Self-drive only makes sense if it is not your first visit to the U.S. and plans a long enough stay in the country, in a rented house or apartment. Tourists who are just going to relax for a few days on the Florida coast, to see all the most interesting things and to fly for a day to Hawaii, it will be much more convenient, comfortable and cheaper to use the services of tour operators.
What are the advantages of vacationing in Miami?
In fact, a vacation in Miami has only one advantage – prestige, as for quality, it is the same lottery and a matter of taste and personal preferences, as at any other resort.
Basically, Miami is a city that, like Moscow, never sleeps. This applies not only to the endless number of art galleries, clubs, concert venues, various exhibitions and stores, but also to the beaches.
Freebird / flickr.com
The beaches of Miami Beach are full of life literally around the clock, there isn’t a single night of the year when there aren’t bars, parties, and so on running on the sand. Often in the evenings on the beaches are held workshops of contemporary art trends, organized by one of the many galleries, all sorts of shows, and in general, there is a lot of interesting things happening.
Miami – a very modern city, although founded the century before last, the tourist can not find here a single piece of “live” history, even related to the rise and fall of the Italian mafia, not to mention the earlier times.
Miami Hippodrome, featured in many movies and frequented by Al Capone and other famous “godfathers” looks very different today than it did in the movies of the 90s. The same goes for all the other places.
Phillip Pessar / flickr.com
Miami is a trendy and partying place, a place that is expensive and implies showing off your own financial power and awesomeness. Here you can wear diamonds to breakfast and no one at the restaurant will notice. The notorious “red Ferraris” are as commonplace as traffic lights.
If you want, you can find places here that are not associated with a “demonstration of wealth” or spending money. For example, to visit the Botanical Gardens, family parks, or wander through one of the most prestigious and yet democratic world shopping centers Dolphin Mall, in the galleries of which you can easily meet Brad Pitt or Valery Leontiev, who has lived for many years, exactly in Florida.
That is the peculiarity and advantages of Miami – the possibility to rest at the same time with the children and from them, if we are talking about a family trip. And if we are talking about adults, vacationing without families, then Miami – a place of unlimited prospects, opportunities and the illusion of “life from the movies,” and you can always find something for your own taste, from night parties on the sand to the presentation of new limousines or visit an art gallery.
What are the downsides?
The disadvantages of Miami, it is also advantages. That is, a vacation here requires the availability of funds and the opportunity to “show themselves. Otherwise, the tourist will be uncomfortable. It is not necessary to wear diamonds for breakfast, but it is customary to change swimsuits several times a day.
Tydence Davis / flickr.com
Miami Beach – only in photos is an endless ribbon of white sand that goes over the horizon with skyscrapers in the background. In reality, there are always a lot of people on this ribbon of sand, even at sunrise. It’s very noisy, with sounds ranging from the background “soundtrack” of a metropolis in which something is constantly being built, to the creativity of beach DJs and music from coastal restaurants.
It’s almost impossible to see a sober person after about 6 p.m., when the sun starts to sink to the horizon, but it’s also impossible to see a drunken person.
In general the whole Miami is a bustling, noisy and extremely mobile place where you can “show yourself and see others”, “go wild”, and the presence of children usually does not stop anyone, because almost every hotel has not just animators, but a developed system of “supervision” and organization of children’s leisure activities.
There are practically no historical or cultural monuments, Miami is a vacation beach, active, nightlife, and so on. For those who don’t just want to sunbathe, drink tequila at sunset or visit modern art galleries, go to New Orleans instead of Miami Beach.
What is “Miami” in the Crimea?
Quite a curious place, where a lot of shots of domestic modern TV movies were filmed, where the plot takes place in Florida, is the beach “Miami” in the Western Crimea, near the village Olenevka.
If we compare how much it costs to vacation in Miami in Florida with the amount in which the cost of recreation on the beach “Miami” in the Crimea, the advantages of the place in which almost all domestic adventure films, for example, “Amphibian Man”, “Hearts of Three” and many others, will become apparent and indisputable.
In addition to at times lower costs compared with a trip to America, holidays in Olenevka has several other advantages, especially for visits with children. There is no stormy nightlife, you can rush on the beach, play ball, throw sand and not pay for it animator, there is no language barrier and a child who was urgently required to “step back in the bushes” will not draw any attention, and his actions will not entail a fine.
As for “Miami”, Olenevka has places where you can take pictures of both Florida and Argentina, even retouching does not have to apply. In principle, many Russians and especially Russian women do so, filling their own pages in social networks pictures in incredibly beautiful places, which in fact – the village Olenevka.
However, when you come here, we should consider the season, as the Western Crimea is still not Florida and year-round vacation at the sea will not work.
However, for those who still want to see the real Miami, will be useful reviews of tourists who were in Florida.
So if you don’t know the Miami Beach area, look no further.
What do they say about Miami?
“There’s not much to do in Miami, except maybe visit the Vizcaya Villa. The place is beautiful, a little piece of Europe. It’s a kind of break from the rest, from skyscrapers, glass, noise and everything else. The villa is open for visits from half past ten and closes at half past five. It is located just off South Miami Avenue, west of Brickell Avenue. The place reminded me of the Hermitage, though a friend raved about the Italian houses. There are almost no foreigners in this museum, but there are always a lot of Americans, and watching them is even more interesting than looking at the exhibits” – Karina, 36, Moscow.
“Dolphin Mall near the airport is a great place. It has everything, but about eighty percent is American goods. For those who need an iPhone or macbook, but the prices in Moscow are biting or have a fear of buying a Chinese fake – you have to go here. My wife got a bunch of American cosmetics “on sale”, probably for the rest of her life. There are a lot of restaurants in the center, there is some great Texas fast food. In general, anyone who wants great American shopping should go here” – Oleg, 43, Moscow.
“Very unlucky with the neighborhood. We settled in North Miami because it was cheaper there. It turned out that everything here is very clearly divided – the center is a place for business and hangouts “for business”, the north is the area where Hindus, Africans, Arabs and other migrant workers live, a lot of Ukrainians and Moldovans. It’s a horrible place, it’s just unpleasant to leave the hotel. In the west – Israeli and Russian emigration, a lot of Europeans in general. It’s a very nice place to stay. The best location for the hotel, in my opinion, is the coastline in the south. That’s where all the atmosphere of Miami Beach is concentrated. Of course, it’s more expensive, but you don’t have to go all the way across the metropolis.
What to do not to burn in the sun or if you have already burned. Last minute tours from Travelata.