AdvisorGirl

Horseback riding at the Arch Creek Park

In it’s heyday in the ’60s and ’70s, Sunny Isles Beach was a pedestrian-friendly seaside strip of two-story snow bird motels with Vegas-themed names like Tangiers, Golden Nugget, and the Dunes. While wealthy visitors flocked to the Fontainebleau Resort, seasonal travelers favored the more casual and affordable kitchenettes along this 40-block stretch of North Miami Beach. In recent years, the kitschy motels and Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House have disappeared as city fathers worked to transform the landscape into towering resorts and condos sporting nameplates like the Trump International.  The retro Miami Beach vibe is history.

This race to capture moneyed resort clientele leaves the sidewalks along Collins Avenue rather daunting and austere. The brand new high-tech properties make it possible to remain on site for the duration of your holiday enjoying room service, spa treatments, and pricey drinks  by the pool. While a totally pampering oasis is awfully tempting, if you are traveling with your kids and want to find fun activities away from the commercial strip, here are a few spots to help you get back to nature and discover Florida.

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The Pool at the W South Beach

The Pool at the W South Beach

South Beachers have been holding back some pretty guilty smiles on FaceBook and Twitter pages recently as tales of shoveling out from Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse overwhelm their friend’s updates. We know it’s hard to handle grey days of frost and slush but it’s also hard not to reply, “Hey! I’m tanning right now and your snowbound stories are messing with my Bliss!”

If you have had enough of the wicked winter weather, here are a few easy steps to realigning your chi (or just defrosting your toes) on South Beach. Read More »

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The Rooftop Pool at the Hotel Of South Beach

The Rooftop Pool at the Hotel Of South Beach

Miami Beach is known for its pastel Art Deco buildings, its sexy Latin Ritmos, and the spectacular full moon rising over the Atlantic surf. If you happen to be in the city during our monthly lunar light show, here are a few of the top spots to toast your good fortune.

DiLido Beach Club (1 Lincoln Road): Once a month, the swank beach club at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach hosts a fabulous Full Moon Party from 7 to 11 p.m. featuring $7 cocktails, $5 beer, and free hookah pipes that fill the air with fragrant, fruity smoke. DJ Edwin Adams spins for a great-looking crowd that gathers on the sand to dance, mingle, and view the rising orb through high-tech telescopes. Read More »

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Lechon

Traditional lechon, a cuban dish served in Miami

Fans of Cuban culture in Miami look forward to Fridays for a variety of reasons. What thrills me is that the Friday special at most Cuban restaurants is lechón, a mojo marinated, slow-cooked roast pork dish that’s served with sweet plantains, black beans, and white rice. Tender, savory and delicious, lechón induces a near coma-like afterglow that helps usher in the weekend unlike almost anything else consumed on a Friday. Fight back the aftereffects with a strong Cuban coffee or give in to the buzz with a mint, rum, and sugar-fuelled mojito. Read More »

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Entrance to the Art Deco Walking Tours in South Beach, Miami

Entrance to the Art Deco Walking Tours in South Beach, Miami

Most  people think there is more culture to be found in a cup of yogurt than in South Beach — they are (sort of) misinformed. Visitors to the sunny shores of the Magic City who find themselves bored by the fantastic shopping, the dizzying variety of restaurants, and the endlessly beautiful beach days can discover quite a bit about the history of our little stretch of sand without ever straying too far from a frozen drink purveyor. Set aside your rum runners for an hour or so and you can learn a little bit about our past… Read More »

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Eleventh Street Diner in South Beach, Miami

Eleventh Street Diner in South Beach, Miami

While most South Beach nightclubs don’t hit their stride until midnight, it’s tough to find a decent late night bite in the Magic City. If you find yourself wandering Miami‘s pink-toned sidewalks in the wee hours, these three diners offer an oasis for the hungry and hungover…

News Cafe (800 Ocean Drive): Always open and ever crowded, this Ocean Drive pioneer is ready when you are. Following a much needed renovation in August of 2009, the iconic South Beach restaurant is back to business serving salads, sandwiches, and their oddly addictive tomato soup 24 hours a day. For snowbound travelers looking for a quick pick-me-up, the News Cafe has a live webcam so you can always see if the coast is clear. Stay nearby at the Pelican Hotel, Waldorf Towers Hotel, or the Whitelaw Hotel. Read More »

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Big Pink diner in South Beach, Miami

Big Pink diner in South Beach, Miami

South Beach enjoys its reputation as an adult playground where this week’s reality show celebutantes stir up faux scandals all over town. Parents who have been Keeping Up with the Kardashians or sipping along with Miami Social are no doubt concerned that there are few appropriate places to entertain the kids. Rest assured, we have plenty of G-rated attractions to dazzle the little ones that won’t strain your sensibilities or your travel budget. Read More »

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Jimbo's Place in Key Biscayne, Miami

Jimbo's Place in Key Biscayne, Miami

For a city surrounded by tropical waterways, finding a scenic spot for a drink or a bite to eat overlooking the water in Miami can be surprisingly challenging. However, visitors with a little patience and a rental car with a GPS unit can discover these out-of-the-way places favored by locals for the brews and the views.

Scotty’s Landing - Through a public parking lot, behind a marina, shaded by a grove of trees, this dockside shack serves freshly grilled mahi sandwiches, spicy wings, and pitchers of cold beer to a casual crowd seeking refuge after a sunny day of boating on Biscayne Bay. Local cover bands make Friday sunset happy hours popular with Downtown office workers and groovy Grove regulars. 3381 Pan American Drive, Coconut Grove Read More »

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One of 200 flavors of ale that are available at Zeke's Roadhouse in Miami

One of 200 flavors of ale that are available at Zeke's Roadhouse in Miami

If your travel style is more flip flops than stilettos, a weekend in South Beach should still be on your radar. Visiting a city that’s known for velvet rope nightclubs and fine dining can be daunting if you don’t have an insider’s guide to the chill spots in town. If you want to break away for a laid back weekend of sun, sand and surf, here are some of my favorite South Beach hangouts that are as easy on your budget as they are on your spirit. Read More »

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Merlot braised beef shortrib at Talula restaurant in Miami, FL

Merlot braised beef shortrib at Talula restaurant in Miami, FL

If, like me, you waited far too long to make reservations or were simply put off by the high prices of this weekend’s specialty dinners in celebration of the Food TV Network’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival, there’s still hope — provided you’re not put off by offal (animal guts). While most folks are drawn to the tender center cut of beef or the chaste chicken breast, many gourmets groove to the trendy ears-to-tails movement that’s bringing the sinewy cheap cuts to the tables of fine dining restaurants. Read More »

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