The Ultimate Guide to Miami Beach Excursions

Apr 11, 2018

Guide to Miami Beach Excursions | Things to Do in Miami | Westgate Resorts
By Rich Weidman

The Ultimate Guide to Miami Beach Excursions

“Party in the city where the heat is on/All night, on the beach till the break of dawn” – Will Smith, “Miami”

It’s tempting for Miami Beach visitors to simply spend all day enjoying the white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and swaying palm trees, and all night reveling in the sizzling nightlife of South Beach (AKA “The American Riviera”) that ebbs and flows through the streets and back-alleys between Miami resorts and art deco domiciles dotting the length of Collins Avenue. However, to fully experience what the area has to offer, it’s always a good idea to venture beyond the beach and the bars every once in a while and take a fun-filled excursion to some of the most enticing areas of Miami Beach. There are plenty of things to do in Miami Beach and popular excursions include everything from exhilarating boat tour adventures along scenic Biscayne Bay to lively strolls through the heart of the colorful Art Deco Historic District. So whether you tour by land, sea or air, take the time to explore Miami Beach with the use of this handy travel guide!

Take a Boat Tour along Beautiful Miami Waterways

A variety of amazing tours in Miami Beach are available for all tastes. For a unique way of getting around Miami Beach, consider taking a narrated scenic boat tour of the area. For example, Island Queen Cruises offers a variety of sightseeing cruises, including a 90-minute “Millionaire’s Row Cruise” where you can view the homes of the rich, famous and sometimes infamous along beautiful Biscayne Bay. The Island Queen departs from Bayside Marketplace, a bustling shopping, dining and entertainment complex located in the heart of downtown Miami just across the causeway from South Beach. Billed as “Miami’s Most Authentic Boat Tour Experience,” Ocean Force Adventures departs from Miami Beach Marina in South Beach and explores a diverse area around Biscayne Bay, including the legendary Prohibition-era Stiltsville Shacks. For an amazing “land and sea adventure,” hop aboard Duck Tours South Beach, an eclectic 90-minute amphibious tour that takes you to South Beach landmarks followed by a grand finale splash into Biscayne Bay. Seeking more of a Miami Vice-style adventure? Opt for Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures, a 45-minute boat tour aboard a 42-foot power catamaran reaching speeds up to 50 miles per hour. Zoom past Miami Beach area sites ranging from South Beach and Port of Miami to Monument Island, Star Island, Fisher Island and Biscayne Bay.

Explore the World’s Largest Collection of Art Deco Architecture

No trip to Miami Beach is complete without a stroll through the incredible Art Deco Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and features uniquely stylized architecture and vibrant colors. The Art Deco Historic District also encompasses lively Ocean Drive, which is home to a variety of nightclubs, restaurants, cafes and specialty shops. Before you embark on your sightseeing adventure, make your first stop at the Art Deco Welcome Center, where you can pick up a guide map, as well as get information about guided walking tours. Each January, the Art Deco Historic District hosts Art Deco Weekend – the longest running free community cultural festival in Miami Beach. By the way, film buffs need to know that scenes from the notorious 1983 gangster flick Scarface were shot in the Art Deco Historic District.

Stroll through a World-Class Museum of Art

A South Beach landmark located in the heart of the Art Deco Historic District, The Wolfsonian-FIU boasts an impressive collection of objects dating from the Industrial Revolution to the end of World War II – all collected by Florida businessman and art enthusiast Mitchell “Micky” Wolfson Jr. The premises include the Dynamo Museum Shop & Café. Located in a historic Art Deco building dating from the 1930s that formerly housed the Miami Beach Public Library and Art Center, the nearby Bass Museum of Art specializes in international contemporary art and features a permanent collection of paintings, graphics, sculptures, graphics and textiles. Art lovers also will want to stroll through ArtCenter/South Florida, which contains various artist studios and exhibit space that hosts a multitude of arts events annually. It is located in the Flamingo Park Historic District of Miami Beach. Last but definitely not least, the World Erotic Art Museum is home to an extensive collection of erotic art (including a particularly notorious prop from Stanley Kubrick’s controversial 1971 film, A Clockwork Orange).

Shop till You Drop at an Expansive Outdoor Mall

Brand-name stores, art galleries and sidewalk cafes can all be found at Lincoln Road Mall (AKA “The Road”), an immensely popular, open-air, pedestrian-friendly destination located in the heart of South Beach that is often referred to as the “Fifth Avenue of the South.” Popular stores that line the 10-block promenade include Athleta, NIKE, Forever 21, Anthropologie, ZARA, Books & Books (often cited as the best independent bookstore in South Florida), Goorin Bros, Aldo Shoes, Urban Outfitters, Surf Style and many more. The Lincoln Road Mall is also home to the Regal South Beach movie theater. Many of Lincoln Road’s eateries offer outdoor seating, making it a prime location to see and be seen in South Beach. Don’t miss the Lincoln Road Farmers’ Market held every Sunday from 9 AM to 6 PM.

Visit a Beautiful and Historic Botanical Garden

Seeking a temporary break from the hustle and bustle of South Beach? Take a tranquil stroll through 2.6-acre Miami Beach Botanical Garden, a recently renovated tropical oasis. First opened in 1962 and nestled along the historic Collins Canal, Miami Beach Botanical Garden features South Florida native plants, as well as subtropical plants from around the world. Highlights of the Miami Beach Botanical Garden include 100 species of palms, a vast collection of orchids, a Native Garden, a Japanese Garden and an Edible Garden. Ideally located adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center, it also offers year-round cultural and artistic programs for all ages. Admission is free.

Experience an Interactive Zoological Park

One of South Florida’s oldest attractions, 18-acre Jungle Island first opened as Parrot Jungle in 1936 and is home to some of the world’s most exotic wildlife. Although Jungle Island suffered extensive damage due to Hurricane Irma, the popular Miami Beach attraction plans to reopen in the late spring of 2018 with some brand-new adventures in store as it evolves into more of an “eco-adventure park.” New features at Jungle Island will reportedly include an indoor trampoline park, aerial rope course and outdoor skydiving wind tunnel, as well as a new tree-house-style playground. Jungle Island is located on Watson Island between South Beach and downtown Miami. Make sure to call ahead for the latest updates prior to your visit to Jungle Island.

Relax and Chill Out at a Beachfront Park

Ideally located on the southernmost tip of Miami Beach, South Pointe Park is a relaxing counterpoint to the bustling South Beach party scene. In addition to beach access, spectacular ocean views and tons of green space, South Pointe Park features a fishing pier, playground with mini water park, walking paths, dog park, BBQ facilities and pavilions. It’s also a great spot for viewing the behemoth cruise ships departing from the Port of Miami. Palm-fringed Lummus Park features walking and biking paths, along with an outdoor fitness gym, and lies just minutes from lively Ocean Drive. Feeling slightly more adventurous? Visit Haulover Beach Park, a clothing-optional beach located between Bal Harbour and Sunny Isles Beach. Incidentally, it’s also one of the best places in South Florida to go surfing.

Plan Your Miami Beach Excursion Today

As you can see, tours in Miami Beach offer something for everyone! Whatever Beach excursion you choose, Westgate places you in the heart of the action with a variety of Florida Resorts package deals. Have a great trip!

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