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Old 03-13-2010, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Mechelen - Belgium
64 posts, read 183,163 times
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We're a family (2 adults and 2 kids 15-13y) that is visiting Florida this summer and we are going to stay a couple of days in Miami.
We are mobile (rental) and would like to know what there is to do and see here.
Is KeY West worthwhile the trip? What about the different parts of Miami (Beach, Downtown, Little Havana, ........)

Need assistance !!!!

Thanks
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Old 03-13-2010, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Dallas
4,621 posts, read 9,823,893 times
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Without question the headline event in Miami is the gorgeous Miami ocean at Miami Beach




Then take the kids to Lincoln Road for dinner or lunch. The food is good and more reasonable than Ocean Drive and you never know what you might see there.


Other ideas would be a cruise on Biscayne bay - they have a pirate ship a speedboat (we did that one) or a slow cruise boat. You get them out of the Bayside Marketplace which is also a nice place for food, shopping, and kids playing. Clean safe and nice. There are a few kid rides too.
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:37 PM
 
540 posts, read 1,280,247 times
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Just so you know, July in South Florida is hot and humid. In my opinion, South Beach is ok for a few hours, but teens will get bored, because there is no boardwalk with fun things to do, like Ocean City Maryland. Also, South Beach is very calm and bath tub warm in the summer, so no nice waves to jump.. The traffic in that area is mind-blowingly bad.

A trip from South Beach to Key West is 160 miles and will take at least 4 hours. I would not go down and back in one day. Stay over at least one night and enjoy some things on the way down, and back up.

You would probably want to stop along the way at Shell Stores and have lunch at a fun place on the water like Alabama Jack's. That one is before Card Sound Bridge. It's casual, funky and outdoors. There is usually a band playing and some bikers hanging out. You can get your first taste of Conch fitters here, or a nicer place like the Green Turlte Inn at Islamorada. They have delicious Blue Crab cakes.

A great place to spend a couple of hours on the way down, is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo.They have snorkeling, diving, and an in-house guided tour. A wonderful place. Look it up. Guarantee teens will like it a lot more that South Beach.

The drive on the way to Key West is beautiful. I know there is somewhere there to park a motor home Just can't remember where. The streets are narrow in Key West, so it's best to park and walk or ride the trolley. There are no nice beaches in Key West. Hard to believe but true. I think the one public beach is Smathers, and as I remember, you could walk out 1/2 a mile and still only have water up to your knees. But there are plenty of other things to do.

The family would enjoy Mallory Square Sunset party. The sunset is magnificent, and there are lots of vendors and circus-like acts, free and on the square. You can take a ride on a glass-bottom boat here, and get an amazing view of sea life up close.

There is a Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum and a small museum with Pirate's Bounty from the sea. I forget the name. The Trolley Tour is a great way to get an overview first. If you are a fan of Ernest Hemingway, his home has an interesting tour.

Kids enjoy exploring Fort Zachery Taylor, which was the island's main defense point during the Civil War.
Fort Zachary Taylor


If you want to see Alligators there is an Alligator farm in Florida City. That is just before your drive to The Keys. Kids love that place.

Eveglades Alligator Farm

One other place of interest for us, was Key Largo Hammocks Botanical Site. It is 2000 acres of rare West Indian hardwood hammock trees. You can bike or walk the nature trail there and experience The Keys jungle.

We lived just north of The Keys and south of Miami for 5 years, and did just about everything. So if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Hope you enjoy your trip.
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:13 PM
 
540 posts, read 1,280,247 times
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Too late to edit, but wanted to add my favorite Mexican restaurant. If you drive through Homestead, there are several wonderful Mexican restaurants, but only the Casita Tejas makes Chiles Rellenos, and stuffed with chicken breast, smothered with ranchera and jack. Authentic, generous and reasonably priced. One order easily feeds two people.Oh yes, you will thank me for that one.
Casita Tejas Mexican Restaurant - Homestead, Florida

Last edited by baseballgal; 03-13-2010 at 07:30 PM..
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:25 PM
 
Location: FLORIDA
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Eww, in July. The best place to be is indoors near the A/C!
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Miami
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Awww Mr. Clucky, love him!!!

Florida in the summer is going to be hot, humid and rainy! But with kids I understand why you are coming in the summer. I think Key West is a great place for the family to go. The kids will enjoy the museums, as they can touch some of the treasures found in some museums. The others have given you great suggestions.

I would add that the more time you are in the water or in the a/c the better at that time of the year. There are plenty of outdoor activities however, if you do decide to spend lots of time out of the a/c make sure you stay hydrated.

Things to see: Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne, usually ranked as one of the prettiest beaches in the state. You can rent these four person bikes to ride around, there is a lighthouse that you can tour.

Coconut Grove is neat little area to have lunch after and just shop. Have lunch at Mr. Moes or at Scottys Landing on the water.

Fairchild Tropical Gardens is pretty neat, they have a bunch of iguanas (not sure how many are left after the frost we had) but the kids will enjoy seeing them I am sure. If you take a trip here, make sure you get direction to take you down through Bayshore Drive, Coconut Grove, Ingram Highway, past CocoPlum and down Old Cutler Road (not US1) as this is one of the prettiest roads in Miami.

Viscaya in Miami is an old house on the water with beautiful gardens that you can take a tour of.

Everglades National Park, always I nice trip, no place else on earth has something like this, so a must do in my opinion. Its going to be hot, so bring water, wear sunscreen and hats/sunglasses. You can even take an Airboat Ride through the Everglades instead of walking. The Micosukkee Indian Village is pretty neat for kids.

John Pennekamp Park in Key Largo has many things to do, if you don't want to all the way to Key West.

Key West has so many things, Mell Fisher has a museum in Key West that kids can touch a piece of treasure found in the ocean. Hemingway house with the neat cats (look at their toes, they have an extra digit). There is also a lighthouse you can walk to the top of. You can also take a day trip to the Fort of the coast of Key West. I would suggest taking the little train tour of the island first, to get your boundaries and ideas of what you want to do. So many things there to do.

Little Havana in Miami is a place you may just want to drive through, not really get out and walk around. You could go have lunch at the famous Versailles Restaurant.

Obviously you should walk around South Beach, along Ocean Drive to see the iconic Miami Beach Buildings you see in Pictures. Lincoln Road (17th Street) is an outdoor mall with shops and restaurants. Have lunch or dinner at The Big Pink in South Beach. The famous Versace Mansion is also in South Beach.

The Coral Castle in Homestead might be another stop you could do.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:40 AM
 
796 posts, read 1,750,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doggiebus View Post
Awww Mr. Clucky, love him!!!

Florida in the summer is going to be hot, humid and rainy! But with kids I understand why you are coming in the summer. I think Key West is a great place for the family to go. The kids will enjoy the museums, as they can touch some of the treasures found in some museums. The others have given you great suggestions.

I would add that the more time you are in the water or in the a/c the better at that time of the year. There are plenty of outdoor activities however, if you do decide to spend lots of time out of the a/c make sure you stay hydrated.

Things to see: Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne, usually ranked as one of the prettiest beaches in the state. You can rent these four person bikes to ride around, there is a lighthouse that you can tour.

Coconut Grove is neat little area to have lunch after and just shop. Have lunch at Mr. Moes or at Scottys Landing on the water.

Fairchild Tropical Gardens is pretty neat, they have a bunch of iguanas (not sure how many are left after the frost we had) but the kids will enjoy seeing them I am sure. If you take a trip here, make sure you get direction to take you down through Bayshore Drive, Coconut Grove, Ingram Highway, past CocoPlum and down Old Cutler Road (not US1) as this is one of the prettiest roads in Miami.

Viscaya in Miami is an old house on the water with beautiful gardens that you can take a tour of.

Everglades National Park, always I nice trip, no place else on earth has something like this, so a must do in my opinion. Its going to be hot, so bring water, wear sunscreen and hats/sunglasses. You can even take an Airboat Ride through the Everglades instead of walking. The Micosukkee Indian Village is pretty neat for kids.

John Pennekamp Park in Key Largo has many things to do, if you don't want to all the way to Key West.

Key West has so many things, Mell Fisher has a museum in Key West that kids can touch a piece of treasure found in the ocean. Hemingway house with the neat cats (look at their toes, they have an extra digit). There is also a lighthouse you can walk to the top of. You can also take a day trip to the Fort of the coast of Key West. I would suggest taking the little train tour of the island first, to get your boundaries and ideas of what you want to do. So many things there to do.

Little Havana in Miami is a place you may just want to drive through, not really get out and walk around. You could go have lunch at the famous Versailles Restaurant.

Obviously you should walk around South Beach, along Ocean Drive to see the iconic Miami Beach Buildings you see in Pictures. Lincoln Road (17th Street) is an outdoor mall with shops and restaurants. Have lunch or dinner at The Big Pink in South Beach. The famous Versace Mansion is also in South Beach.

The Coral Castle in Homestead might be another stop you could do.

Hope this helps.
I agree with all these recs...South Beach, IMHO, is overrated...the Keys are much nicer and have more things to do.
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Mechelen - Belgium
64 posts, read 183,163 times
Reputation: 33
Thanks to you all for this information. I still have a couple of months to go but I want to enjoy, relax and see some unique things with the family.
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:09 PM
 
Location: Miami Beach, FL/Tokyo, Japan
1,699 posts, read 1,956,034 times
Reputation: 765
Let me chime in here, because I'm one of the few people here who live on Miami Beach.

-Miami Beach is a fabulous vacation spot for singles, and couples. Not so much families. It's not, what I call, "child friendly" with all the partying, the drinking, the drug use, the sexuality of this space, with shops advertising girl swimsuits with messages on the bottom piece "Insert Here" and things like that. My push is you come here for 1 day, and spend the rest in Key West. If you're looking for a tropical vacation, Key West is better. Since they're islands, the heat in July is a bit more bearable however don't listen to the top couple posts, it isn't bad at all on the beach even come July, August.

- If you do come here for the 5 days, the most family friendly thing you can enjoy is the Beach. There is North Miami Beach and some other beachside neighborhoods that are more family friendly than here. I won't talk to them since I don't know them. However, here on Miami Beach anything below 5th is family friendly. If you go on 1st and go even south, you will see the rocks/pier which offers good snorkeling if the waters are calm. Which in July can be more a problem than now.

-Another activity to do here is shopping and eating. I mean I suspect you don't want to sample the nightlife with your kids. Ocean Drive, Collins, and Washington are three great drags parallel to the beach for this, Collins being quieter and pretty much residential or parking garage unless you're between 7th and 12th (roughly). Alton also has some shopping, restaurants but it's towards the bay, less touristy, more local, less exciting. Lincoln Road and Espanola are two streets that are actually perpindicular to the beach, they have been mentioned several times so let me say:

Lincoln is an outdoor mall, with many restaurants with outdoor seating. Espanola is a narrow street with chiefly restaurants. Both are tourist traps, both have overpriced food, both roads I avoid when I look to eat out here on Miami Beach. Unless someone is visiting me. For ambience go to Espanola, Lincoln is ok but not as nice as Espanola.

Ocean has a bunch of restaurants but your views will be sand dunes. There are a couple places with higher seating that have ocean views, like the Clevelander, but now I'm not sure if they serve food.

People mentioned an everglades tour, do that. Keep in mind you have to cross the glades, which is about an 1-2 hour drive if you don't hit traffic. There are some good restaurants out in Everglades City that serve things like alligator, plus their airboat rides.

There is jungle island. Fun for kids.
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:32 PM
 
10,004 posts, read 14,203,993 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDPMiami View Post
- If you do come here for the 5 days, the most family friendly thing you can enjoy is the Beach. There is North Miami Beach and some other beachside neighborhoods that are more family friendly than here. I won't talk to them since I don't know them. However, here on Miami Beach anything below 5th is family friendly. If you go on 1st and go even south, you will see the rocks/pier which offers good snorkeling if the waters are calm. Which in July can be more a problem than now.
Nice of you to try to help out the OP, but I think you're a little late; his post was from five years ago. He was planning to visit in July 2010, lol.

BTW, North Miami Beach is not on the beach; it is a city on the mainland. I assume that you're thinking of North Beach, which is still part of the City of Miami Beach. Your post reads as if South Beach is synonymous with Miami Beach and everything north of SoBe is some other municipality.
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