On one of my last trips to the United States I went to Florida to find out what to see in Miami and what attracts so many tourists all year round.
High palms, breathtaking beaches, crystal clear sea and parties at all hours of the day and night make Miami one of the most sought-after tourist destinations for travellers from all over the world. Add to this a friend who has moved there and provides you with his guest room and it becomes impossible to resist the temptation to spend a week in the warm Florida capital.
Trip to Florida, what to know before leaving.
Summer in Miami lasts all year round but the excessive heat and hurricanes in August and September make the winter months the best time to visit. Florida in May, when I was able to go there, is a bit to be considered as a borderline month, the temperatures start to be high but you can still breathe without having to take refuge in some air-conditioned room. Landed at the airport the best solution to move around wherever you need to go is Uber. I have not found other cities in the world where this service is as cheap as in Miami. With the UberX function (shared rides with other passengers) you will be able to pay 10-15 minutes rides only 4-5 dollars for two people!
The city of Miami
The city of Miami is basically divided into two areas: the inner city of Miami itself and Miami Beach famous for its endless beaches. Having been a guest I am not able to give advice about the hotels but I can tell you that Ocean Drive, the promenade of Miami Beach, is literally covered with solutions for every taste and need.
Always crowded with people who populate the myriad of restaurants and clubs this street is the true heart of the city. It develops along the entire coast dividing hotels, restaurants and bars from the gardens full of palm trees that are the entrance to the beach.
What to see in Miami
The sea is definitely one of the main attractions here. The beach has an impressive width and is largely “free” except for the mythical beach watchtowers’ turrets, which rise at regular intervals, and some structures that rent umbrellas and sunbeds.
The colours of the water are Caribbean with shades ranging from green to blue. Often moved by the frequent wind, the sea is always clean and it is impossible to resist diving into this paradise!
An excellent walk that I suggest you take is to reach the southern end of the beach where the “South Point Pier” is located.
As well as allowing you to explore the entire area and its gardens, it will pay you back with a beautiful view of the seafront in its entirety with the skyline of skyscrapers behind it.
What to do in Miami
The things to do in Miami Beach are endless. Sporty people like me will not miss the gyms where they can train, directly on the beach and free of charge. Everyone has access to every water activity imaginable, from surf lessons to motorboat racing.
Parties in Miami
Then there are the parties, impossible not to talk about it. Miami offers the possibility to party in every possible way. From the pool parties organized by the big hotels during the weekends (in the picture my face as I was about to leave one on the most beautiful to reach the airport and catch my flight back) to the clubs on Ocean Drive that offer every kind of evening to satisfy everyone’s taste.
Wynwood Art Distric
A pleasant surprise, which I advise everyone not to miss, is the Wynwood Art District. What until a few years ago was a bad neighborhood in the city has been transformed into the largest open-air art gallery in the world. The old, mostly industrial buildings are now covered with huge, colourful murals and the spaces occupied by over 70 different galleries that every second Saturday of the month offer extraordinary openings until late at night.
Key West, not to be missed!
For a hardened traveller like myself, there is no paradise that can hold back his desire to explore… Thanks to being left alone by my friend, who had to work, after three days I found myself in a rental car from which I got out in a fiery red Mustang GT convertible with which I set off to explore Florida.
The first destination chosen was Key West. The last of the islands that make up the Keys archipelago is a small oasis very well cared for, rich in history and beautiful sea.
What makes this visit unmissable, however, is the way to get there. The Overseas Highway crosses the main islands of the archipelago, connecting them with long bridges that run along the water level over a sea of fantastic colours. A unique spectacle that alone is worth the whole trip.
Disney World, an enchanted world
I think the title alone is enough and there is no need to add anything else. To tell the truth, however, when I was driving to the city of Orlando I decided not to stop at the theme parks dedicated to the animated world created by the genius Walt Disney.
What’s a big 35-year-old boy doing alone in the middle of a rabble of screaming kids? And then the price, more than 100 dollars for admission to just one of the five parks that make up the complex! It seemed too much…
Thankfully, the little more than 3 hours on the road made me think again because I would have missed one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Having only one day at my disposal I dedicated myself to Magic Kingdom, the most classic of choices, with Cinderella Castle and all the rest.
Not only did the kids not annoy me as I feared, but as if by magic after a few minutes I was back one of them! A truly magical atmosphere accompanied me throughout the day which ended at sunset with a unique and unforgettable fireworks display.
Kennedy Space Center
Not far from Orlando is Cape Canaveral where the NASA base is located, from which the famous Apollo 13 mission that brought the first man on the moon departed.
The base today has been transformed into a museum. In addition to booking a tour in what were the control rooms of those moments that made history, the centre offers visitors a long list of very interesting attractions. You will be able to admire one of the two shuttles still existing (but now retired) and experience, thanks to a simulator, the same emotions experienced by astronauts during a take-off.
Astronauts that you will also have the pleasure of meeting. Hearing me tell (alas, you’ll need a fair level of English) the experience of flying around in the absence of gravity from those who had the good fortune to live these experiences and to be able to interact with them with questions and curiosity made me feel a little bit like I was up there too.