Hot nights listening to the exotic beat of Caribbean music, dancing on a sunlit beach, city sidewalks and jungle-like safaris through the everglades are the sights and sounds associated with Miami. It’s a sleepy environment, with a gentle blue ocean, palm trees seeming to murmur in the air, wildlife just a step away from the spreading metropolis, but it has an energetic people. Miami hosts a colorful art scene, professional sports and a myriad of family attractions and recreational activities. The global city offers world class shopping and “Floridian” cuisine; a unique blend of Caribbean and American style preparation.
Miami is surrounded by beaches, each with its own appeal. A popular resort is South Beach, which faces the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the most filmed beaches in the area and the subject of the average Miami post card. There is nothing average about it, though. The white sand beach is the perfect place to work on your sun tan or enjoy a refreshing swim. Its skyline is filled with exuberant art deco architecture, world class boutiques and restaurants, fabulous shops, museums and historical buildings. The night live is lively, but the day time exploration can be just as energetic and fulfilling.
North of South Beach is Miami Beach. The edgy northern tip resembles a beach town with some touches of modern architectural development. The mixture of greenery with sparkling coastal waters never ends. Play eighteen holes at a nearby golf course and enjoy fresh seafood at night. The beach side boardwalk, ambling between tropical shrubs, with views of sailboats nudging into harbor, complete the vision of a quiet little town in a thoroughly modern city.
If you want to feel the beat, your destination is Coconut Grove. Tucked into the bay, this charming village is the oldest, continuously inhabited community in Miami. Beyond the recognizable names of chain restaurants, are small, local cafes and independently owned boutiques. The Bohemian atmosphere attracts the college crowd to local clubs and taverns. Attractions include a number of open-air bay front parks, such as the Peacock Park, Kennedy Park, and the Barnacle Historic State Park.
Whatever you like to do in the water can be done in Miami. From spa and fitness resorts, to deep sea diving, Miami has it all. Visit the Seaquarium, where dolphins walk on water and sea lions delight the crowds with their tricks and antics... Discover the refuge of the threatened Manitou, watch killer whales fly through the air, and explore along coral reefs where eels have made their home. The world-class entertainment park offers eight different marine animal shows and presentations daily.
If the great outdoors appeals to you, you might wish to make the Oleta River State Park your holiday destination. Located on the Biscayne Bay in the bustling metropolitan area, it is the largest urban park in Florida. Although there are a variety of recreational activities, the park is best known for its twenty-five kilometres of off-road bike trails. You can take a guided tour to learn about the park’s unique ecological system, its plants and animals and the park’s history. Spend your tour relaxing in a rented canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle boat while you glide through the river, listening to the calls of woodpeckers, ospreys and loggerhead shrikes. Swim off four hundred metres of sandy beach, or go salt-water fishing. Overnight camping in rustic cabins is available through pre-arrangement
A holiday to talk about is one that’s the experience of a life time. The Everglades National Park covers 1.5 million acres of a very unique eco-system. It’s a watershed providing a multitude of habitats for sub-tropical species of animal and plant life. There are three ways to access the area by car. The main entrance is in Homestead, Florida and connects visitors the Royal Palm Area and the Flamingo Area, while the Gulf Coast entrance is located in Everglades City. Miami visitor can access the park through the Shark Valley entrance. Additionally, boaters and paddler’s may enter the park through its coastal boundaries and waterways.
There are resorts, boat rentals and guide services located near the park, along with daily air boats that leave every few minutes. Your air boat tour will take you deep into the heart of alligator country, and a few close encounters. Over 200,000 alligators lurk among the Everglades marine life, along with crocodiles, twenty-eight different snakes, a few of which are venomous, and multiple species of fish. It’s also home to several endangered species of birds and the elusive Florida panther.
Miami likes its sports and has a favourite for each season. The Miami Heat has been raising temperatures on the basketball schedule with national games played at the American Airlines Arena (AAA). Fans cheer the ball cracking skills of the Miami Marlins during the spring through summer and are waiting for the splash-down of the new Marlin’s Ball Park in the heart of Little Havana. Autumn is for football, with national games played at the Dolphin Arena.
It’s not all about ball. If your adrenalin pumps with the fast action of automobile racing, you’ll thrill to the blistering sounds of the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Located in Homestead, Florida, the Championship Track is the host to the NASCAR Championship Finale.
Adrenalin junkies can stay on track at the Gulfstream Park Racetrack and Casino. One of the nation’s premier thoroughbred race tracks, it offers year round Championship racing. Place your bets or simply enjoy the thunder and beauty of horse-racing at its best. Gulfstream Park also offers live casino action 365 days of the year.
The Miccosukee Native American tribe also offers a casino and resort. Poker, bingo, slot machines and high-limit gambling are available, as well as a chance to explore the Miccosukee heritage. Make a night of it. Sign up for air boat ride, alligator demonstration and a tour of the village.