Miami Vacations for Families, Couples and Friends

Miami Vacations for Families, Couples and Friends

Miami is more than just miles of golden sand beaches; it offers loads of year-round itinerary options that can easily be tailored to your travel group’s needs — whether you’re traveling with your entire family, your partner or a group of friends. Here you’ll discover a city getaway that effortlessly blends a vibrant arts scene with family-friendly attractions, international flavors and a pulsing nightlife.

Customize which activities make the most sense for your travel group using this guide and then, get ready to explore.


Getting to Miami

Book a flight to Miami International Airport and drive about 8 miles east to the center of downtown or 13 miles east to the sandy shores of South Beach.

What to Do in Miami ... for Families

While many may associate nightlife and art deco architecture with this vibrant Florida town, Miami also offers much for families. At the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, which opened in May 2017, enjoy hands-on activities like MeLab, where you’ll travel through interactive zones and make choices — related to eating or moving, for example — that reveal how your body and mind work together and the role your daily choices play in facilitating this. Afterward, discover outer space in the planetarium, or get up close to a hammerhead shark in the aquarium.

Love a good outdoor family adventure? Drive 75 miles west from downtown to Big Cypress National Preserve, the first national preserve in the United States. The more than 229,000 acres of swamp house diverse wildlife (including the Florida panther) as well as tropical and temperate plant life. Hop onto the Florida National Scenic Trail, which stretches 1,400 miles across the Sunshine State, and traverse across an old oil road and through hardwood, prairie and pinelands; the trail from the northern boundary to I-75 is about 8 miles one-way, but you and your kids can choose how far, or little, to hike down the trail.

If your family prefers activities on the water, rent a canoe or kayak from one of the nearby approved commercial service operators and paddle out to the watery border between the preserve and Everglades National Park. If you’re lucky, you may spot manatees, eagles and other wildlife in the mangroves and swamplands.

Kayaking in the Everglades Search for native wildlife — ospreys, sea turtles, dolphins and manatees — as you and your family paddle through the Everglades. Photo courtesy of Everglades National Park, NPS, Flickr.

Where to stay: The beachfront Hilton Cabana Miami Beach opened in 2014, but features 1950s Miami Modernist (MiMo) architecture. Its modern amenities — like 42-inch flat-screen televisions and mini refrigerators in each room —make your family’s trip to Miami comfy. The two oceanfront pools will help your kids burn off any extra energy they have left at the end of the day.

What to Do in Miami … for Couples

Start your couples retreat in Miami on the water in Coconut Grove at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, where you can park for free and then stroll hand-in-hand through romantic Italian Renaissance-inspired architecture and 10 acres of gardens. The Formal Garden may remind you of Versailles outside Paris, while in the Maze Garden you’ll find it easy to lose yourselves — literally — while finding your way out together.

Vizcaya Gardens Vizcaya's lively fountains and antique statues make it easy to pause and admire your surroundings, and each other, while roaming through the European-inspired gardens.

After a day of exploring the city, sit back and relax at the Sunset Lounge at the Mondrian South Beach. Watch the sunset over downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay with an appropriately named Biscayne Sunset — concocted with framboise liqueur, orange bitters, Champagne and a lemon twist. Snuggle up in the lounge’s discreet “kissing corners,” or sit outside enjoying the soft breeze and each other’s company as pinks and oranges fill the evening sky.

For dinner, make reservations at Jaya at The Setai Miami Beach. The menu’s shareable dishes are filled with modern Asian flavors such as turmeric, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, chilies, coconut milk and tamarind. From the Dim Sum menu, try the Truffle Rice Hot Pot, or choose to share the Thali Platter, which is the chef’s daily selection of assorted vegetarian Indian dishes.

Where to stay: The Julia Hotel, a 29-room, adults-only boutique hotel opened in 2017 in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood and offers a quiet sanctuary — yet still close to the action — to rest your heads on a couples’ Miami getaway.  Cozy up in one of the five, two-story Ibis rooms, which each feature unique art installations including one that depicts a delicate swarm of beautiful Miami blue butterflies made of paper.

What to Do in Miami … with Friends

Melting into beach chairs and lounges under the Florida sun and ordering drinks from a nearby beach bar may just be the perfect way to kick off your friends’ getaway. After you’ve unwound a bit, you’ll quickly realize that this city is made for your crew, and there are plenty of Miami activities for adults.

Get a taste of Cuba by wandering through Little Havana for cigars, sandwiches and mojitos. And, if you’re in town on the last Friday of the month, check out Viernes Culturales, or Cultural Fridays, showcasing the neighborhood’s arts scene.

Speaking of art, take your friends to see the Wynwood Walls in Miami’s former warehouse district. Muralists from around the world have created vibrant, larger-than-life masterpieces, like Maya Hayuk’s vibrant, symmetrical patterns and Jean-Francois Rauzier and Ara Peterson’s striking black and white stripes of the Wynwood Building, which happen to be terrific backgrounds for Instagram shots.

Wynwood Walls While exploring some of more than 70 art galleries in the Wynwood Art District, stop and snap a group photo in front of the iconic Wynwood Building, whose bold and contemporary black and white stripes make it nearly impossible to miss.

Where to stay: For a fun Miami vacation with friends, check in at the SLS Brickell and make your way to the hotel’s Altitude Pool Deck, which boasts sweeping views of the city below. After you’ve had a chance to take a dip, or refresh in your rooms, venture out to the urban Brickell neighborhood before heading to the beach.

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About the Author

Susan B. Barnes, aka travlin’ girl, is a travel writer who enjoys exploring the world as much as her own Florida backyard and sharing discoveries with her readers. Follow her travels online on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.