One word to describe the city: GTL
Cost per person: 130
Kilometers driven: 379
Hours spent: 20
Attractions/Sights: See here
Rating: 8.5 out of 12
Ideal visitor: beach bum
To cap off the Southern Swing, we traveled our Southern most point: the Magic City, a.k.a. Miami. Coming off of the extreme high that was Harry Potter World, we had a four drive to complete and quite literally we spent the majority of the drive talking about Harry Potter. A great end to a great day until we got to Miami hungry, tired, and with no plan on where to park or how to eat.
Our hiccup started like this: we had decided to hold off on dinner until we had gotten out of the Orlando. This plan worked great until we realized that we had failed to google map our route prior to leaving and discovered that the majority of our drive was through a conservation area. This meant no rest stations or food or general comfort until we got to Miami.
Luckily for us, when we finally arrived at our hotel in South Beach late that night, we discovered benefit of staying in a party town: 24 hour everything.
After our somewhat stressful checking in experience at the Kent Hotel (right on the main street of South Beach, read: loud, no parking, feeling lost in the big city especially in our amusement park clothes), we finally got a few hours sleep and then hit the town!
First stop of the day: breakfast and the beach:
Spending 2 hours walking on the beach, with our feet in the sand, basking in the warm sun was great – especially knowing that we had escaped from the Northern weather:
Honestly this was such a highlight for us. Not only was this the southernmost part of our journey this year, it is also about as south as any of us ever gets. The ocean was as blue as we could hope for and we were so sad to leave it.
Attempting to forget the glorious beach, we forged on. First step: we went to the former private residence of American businessman James Deering. The home was built around 1920 (fun fact: apparently 10% of Miami’s entire population was involved in building it) but it’s design was inspired by the Italian Renaissance which results in a stunning home unlike any other we’d seen in any other city.
Just a causal stroll out to the gazebo where Deering and his friends would enjoy their afternoon tea and watch the arrival of guests to the continuous parties that were occuring at the house. This guy had a stone boat built out in his bay that he could have dinner parties on (#trueballer)
We decided to get into touch with our artsy side at some point so we ventured through the city to reach the neighborhood of Wynwood, known for the incredible street art on essentially every single surface available and/or imaginable.
In the center of the neighborhood, there is a maze of alleys that has now been transformed into a permanent street art gallery with works done by artists from all over the world:
Quick note on some of our trials and tribulations in Miami: having a car was both essential and annoying. We couldn’t park without smartphone interwebz, couldn’t get anywhere because of gridlock, and almost got killed several times by other drivers. So the rest of the evening we spent driving outside in what we could attempt to positively describe as a automobile tour of the city. Eventually we had to boogie on out in order for flights to be caught and the 24 hour drive home to begin. And we completed our highly anticipated Southern Swing!