Honeymoons have evolved from simple beach vacations, and these days, couples can choose a trip as unique as they are. In this series, Katie Goldstein from Travelingpanties and Smartypanties. is breaking down the best honeymoon destinations, one at a time, to help you narrow down the dizzying array of options so you can choose the one that reflects your interests, budget and style. Up today? Miami.
Destination: Miami, Florida
Miami International Airport, also known as MIA, is the main international airport in Florida. Travelers looking for a bargain can also check for flights into nearby Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), which often offers cheaper fares. However, when booking your trip, take into account that taxis from FLL to Miami will be close to $75, whereas a taxi from MIA will only run you about $35.
We recommend against renting a car in Miami as parking costs at hotels and restaurants’ valets can quickly add up. Most visitors rely on taxis, which are easy to hail in most popular neighborhoods. Added bonus? Now you don’t need a designated driver!
You’ll love it if…
You seek relaxation, fine dining and a wild nightlife.
Miami has always been a popular destination for honeymooners given its white sand beaches, turquoise waters, world class hotels and vibrant nightlife. Miami is an excellent and economical option for honeymooners looking for affordable luxury. While it might be ideal for celebs to jet off to Bora Bora, with the economy being the way it is, this may not be the wisest choice for the rest of us. Extravagant honeymoons can really set you back as flights to exotic destinations like Asia and Africa can cost thousands of dollars. Instead, for hundreds of dollars, Miami makes it possible to experience luxury at a price point that won’t break the bank.
Where to stay
Miami is home to some of the world’s most unique and luxurious hotels. Whether you’re drawn to its classic Art Deco architecture that dates back to Miami’s golden-age or its over-the-top, contemporary elegance, Miami has the perfect hotel to accommodate your tastes. Just remember: location, location, location! The place you choose to stay will set the tone for your trip.
The city is essentially split in two: Miami (the city on the mainland), which is more laid-back and filled with business and residential developments, and Miami Beach, also known as South Beach (or “SoBe”). South Beach is dominated by clubs, bars and luxury hotels packed with guests looking to party.
Couples looking to stay in the center of South Beach’s excitement amid the bustling clubs, restaurants and bars should choose a hotel like Clevelander South Beach or Shore Club South Beach, along Collins Avenue. These quintessential South Beach properties focus less on fine amenities and five-star service and more on the quality buzz they deliver to their guests.
Enjoy It all
Honeymooners looking for a bit more luxury that is slightly removed from the heart of the SoBe madness, yet only a short cab ride away from its main strip, should consider staying on northern Collins Avenue at hotels like W South Beach and The Fontainebleau Miami Beach. These hotspots offer relaxation by day as well as dynamic nightlife.
For couples looking for the ultimate luxury, The Setai Miami Beach and King & Grove Tides South Beach offer classy and secluded sanctuaries that are conveniently located in South Beach, yet feel like they are away from it all. Both of these properties boast opulent decor and spectacular five-star service.
Couples simply looking for relaxation should consider staying in the neighborhood of Brickell, which is only a 15-20 minute cab ride from South Beach. The Mandarin Oriental Miami is the top pick in this area, closely followed by the Viceroy Miami, which offers surprisingly affordable luxury.
When to go
Miami’s subtropical climate is ideal for most of the year. Although the best time to visit is admittedly during fall and spring, even the winter months of December through March provide mild and sunny weather. Although it won’t be as warm as the Caribbean, visitors from the northeast will still appreciate average temperatures in the mid-70s.
December is an especially fabulous time to visit because this is when organizers of the premier art show, Swiss Art Basel, come to town. This spectacle draws glitterati like Kanye West, Will Ferrell and Diddy. Although the summer months of August through October may be a bit more humid and rainy than the rest of the year, it’s still a fine time to visit because the rain doesn’t last long here, so you won’t be stuck inside for long! Plus, prices drop considerably during this time.
What to do
Many people don’t realize this, but Miami is quite a dynamic city. Besides offering sun-kissed days and a rowdy nightlife, there are a plethora of adventurous and cultural attractions for visitors to enrich their Miami experience. We checked in with luxury expert Tim Krenzien from Paul Klein Travel to find out some of his top picks for this fun-filled destination.
- One of Tim Krenzien’s top suggestions is to take a private airboat ride in the Everglades where couples can journey into astonishing grasslands in one of the world’s most unique ecosystems.
- Adventurous couples can also take a Jet Ski safari on Biscayne Bay to view its stunning waterfront estates.
For night owls
- No one can visit Miami without a visit to one of its legendary clubs. Dress to impress if you want to make it past the velvet rope at one of the swanky clubs in South Beach. Miami’s hottest clubs right now are Liv at the Fontainebleau, Foxhole and Hyde at the SLS Hotel.
For culture seekers
- Europhiles will delight at the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens — truly a lover’s paradise, which is also extremely popular as a wedding venue. This European-style villa and its manicured gardens provide guests the opportunity to wander through and enjoy the splendor of the Italian Renaissance.
- Tim Krenzien recommends that art experts and amateurs alike take an afternoon to gallery hop through Miami’s Design District. The art scene here is super hip right now and definitely worth a visit.
- For those looking to gain a taste of Miami’s daytime scene, a jaunt along Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue will provide fun people-watching, great shopping and delicious restaurants.
- Couples can also charter a boat to take them to see Star Island and Fisher Island, where Miami’s elite call home.
For those looking for romance
- Nearly every resort in Miami offers romantic-themed couples’ spa treatments — and these are not overrated. Indulge together and rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at top spas like Canyon Ranch Miami Beach and Viceroy Miami Beach.
For the sun worshipper
- Basking in Miami’s golden sunshine is to truly appreciate the hedonism for which South Beach is famous. Miami provides the perfect setting to simply lounge by the beach, cocktail in hand, and enjoy yourself. Just please promise us you’ll stop short of becoming a hyper-orange Miami cliche!
Where to eat and drink
- Dine out in style at some of Miami’s most “sceney” restaurants: Prime One Twelve and Prime Italian. Gourmet steak fare and enormous portions of decadent, Italian classics will make you wish you didn’t have to put on a bathing suit the next day!
- For a unique and delicious experience in the Design District, visit Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink.
- Couples looking for a romantic, French classic should visit Palme d’Or, located in the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
- For those looking for some of the Latin flavor for which Miami is famous, make reservations at Ola, a nuevo Latino restaurant on South Beach.
- For creative fare and over-the-top presentation, visit Barton G.
- For those looking for Asian-inspired cuisine, Hakkasan at the Fontainebleau and Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian will satisfy your craving.
- Finally, for those wishing to visit one of Miami’s most well-known seafood joints, check out Joe’s Stone Crab, famous for its fresh and succulent seafood.
What to Watch Out For
Be careful! And don’t let the spirit of excess get the best of you.