A Few Days In Miami - Orlando / Florida Guide
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If you are lucky enough to be able to combine a trip to Orlando with a few days in Miami, then you will find lots to do and see.
We often fly in via Miami, as flights can be considerably cheaper, and we love the area as it is so diverse. A couple of days relaxing here would be a great start to your Florida adventure, and a wonderful way to prepare for all the excitement of Orlando.
However, when you arrive, if you have had a long journey and just want to chill out before driving up to Orlando then I would not suggest going too far, especially if you have children. If you go south, towards Key West, you will be adding more miles to your eventual journey to Orlando, and after a tiring flight you might be better to relax and get into the holiday spirit.
I would suggest the short drive (20 miles) from Miami airport to the Fort Lauderdale area, or to Boca Raton (40 miles) as this is taking you in the right direction for Orlando. Access is usually swift and easy along the I95. Both areas have lots to do, but if you just want to relax then there is nothing better than chilling out on the beaches, which are really beautiful. If you have children you may find that a couple of days playing on the beach would be a great way to start your holiday, and give you a battery recharge before hitting all that Orlando and the parks have to offer. You might even persuade them to accompany you to the odd mall in return – and there are malls galore to try out.
We particularly like the stretch of beach near the Eden Roc Resort, as it is not crowded and you can park easily in the car park beside this famous landmark hotel – but don't park in the hotel car park as it is very expensive. This beach can be found by driving along the coastal road, the A1A, which runs parallel to the beach, and the Intercoastal waterways of the Fort Lauderdale area. It is a fascinating route to take, as it passes Millionaire’s Row, as well as the new buildings in progress by Donald Trump, and some of the most famous hotels on the way. This beach has glorious soft sand, and the sea is usually an azure blue.
When you have had enough sand and sun, then walk back up the beach, and have a meal at the fantastic Aquatica Beach Bar and Grill at the Eden Roc Hotel. This open air restaurant overlooks the beach, and is the ideal place to eat. The large wooden deck area with tables and chairs, has a simply glorious view of the sea, and you can sit here and savour one of their fantastic entrees or starters. The portions are huge and the food is beautifully presented – the fresh fruit platter is a dream, and won’t put the pounds on.
But linger long enough to catch the rich colours of a Miami beach sunset, as the glorious blue skies melt into pink and peach, before they darken to purple, and a warm velvety black descends. It’s a spectacular sight. The sea is calm, there is a warm breeze caressing you, and on the horizon you may see the twinkling lights of a cruise ship on the horizon. It’s a perfect way to end your Miami beach day.
Of course there are some fantastic malls if you like shopping - our favourite is the Aventura Mall just south of Fort Lauderdale. It has recently been completely re-modelled and is stunning. You could always visit Sawgrass Mills, another great mall, or maybe if you want something completely different try one of the Everglades tours, and get close to nature.
Restaurants abound in the area, and suit all tastes, so there is ample opportunity for eating. You might also like to try some of the boat rides in the area - from the Duck Tours which are similar to those on the Thames in London, to the high speed rides, or a gentle cruise through the beautiful intercoastal waterways, where the rich and famous have their fabulous houses. You might even see dolphins.
When you are ready to drive up to Orlando it is easy to get back to the Florida Turnpike, for example, by going west at Boca Raton, along Glades Road, and rejoin this long, straight toll road all the way up to Orlando.
Whatever you decide, we are sure you will have a great trip.
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