Art Basel taking place earlier this month reminded me of my trip to Miami last summer. It was probably the first vacation where all I did was relax instead of running around to catch as many notable sights as I could. Most of my time was dedicated to lounging on the beach, driving around with beautiful landscapes in view and gorging on local food in excellent company.
The first thing I saw of Miami from the plane was palm trees. I remember being so excited as they’re the sign that you’re about to land in a warm exotic place.
I’m usually not a big beach person despite growing up on the seaside, but give me warm clear water with sun and I’ll spend my days there.
We did however take in the Art Deco architecture on Ocean Drive with its many hotels.
Along the way we came across Gianni Versace’s former mansion in front of which the designer tragically died.
If you feel like shopping, The Webster is the place to go. Run by a French woman, The Webster is Miami’s version of Colette or Liberty.
Another French-run place my friends and I were fonder of was La Sandwicherie. It’s the perfect spot to indulge in big sandwiches and delicious natural smoothies before hitting the beach.
Other restaurants we enjoyed include Loews Hotel for their amazing breakfast buffet, the Italians Quattro and Bianca (at the Delano Hotel) and Icebox Café for its desserts. (Nobu was a bit of a disappointment.)
Speaking of the Delano Hotel, we loved the outdoor bar where you can lounge on giant pillows or in your own little tent around the shallow pool. And the cocktails are great too, which doesn’t hurt.
If you fly to Miami, do spend an extra 2 or 3 days in the Keys. The drive itself is a pleasure with beautiful landscapes and excellent restaurants along the way, like the Butterfly Café in the gorgeous Tranquility Bay Resort where we stayed. Breakfasting on sweet crêpes at the French-run Banana Café in Key West and dining at Marker 88 with the sun setting on the ocean were quite an experience too.
Snorkeling in Bahia Honda State Park was probably the highlight of my trip. It was exhilarating to observe the coral and tropical fish so up close.
For shorter day trips, head to Key Biscayne. Once there, you can climb the stairs to the top of the lighthouse and take in the beautiful view before hitting the beach.
Are there any similar trips you would recommend me for next summer?