When you think of Miami, you probably think of South Beach, nightlife and luxury cars. Sure, there’s plenty of that, but there’s also lots of family fun to be had along with pampering opportunities for you and your bestie.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS
Let’s start with the gorgeous beaches. South Beach is chock full of beautiful views (and people), plus shopping, food and gorgeous art deco buildings. The kids might not be impressed by the Versace Mansion (which is now The Villa Casa Casuarina hotel and Gianni’s, a restaurant), but they’ll love the brightly colored buildings and hotels. Head north to Miami Beach, where you’ll find pristine sand, lots of spots to lounge and a bit more peace and quiet.
Aside from hitting the beaches and your hotel pool, there’s plenty to explore in the city. Don’t worry about renting a car—Uber and Lyft run everywhere. Plan to spend an afternoon at the Vizcaya Mansion, a lavish must-visit estate and garden. Built in the 1910s, this was the ultra-luxe summer home of millionaire James Deering. It’s definitely worth taking a guided tour to see the over-the-top decor and hear about his decadent life. Plan lots of time to explore the massive gardens and take photos. From the Biscayne Bay backdrop to stone gazebos, huge fountains and hundreds of flowers, this lush backyard is what gardener’s dreams are made of.
If you want some fun family photos, visit the Wynwood Walls. The hip, artsy Wynwood neighborhood is filled with cute restos, breweries and galleries. Make a quick snack stop at Pink Pies for tasty 3-inch pastries that won’t make you feel (too) guilty before walking through the Wynwood outdoor art gallery filled with unique graffiti-style murals. Also in the Wynwood area is FunDimension, a mega-arcade with laser tag and bumper cars. It’s perfect if the temps get too high or you end up stuck in the rain.
There’s also the Miami Seaquarium, where you can book a dolphin encounter; Jungle Island, a zoo that boasts a real-life Liger (Napoleon Dynamite fans know this is a cross between a lion and tiger); the Frost Museum of Science, packed with lots of hands-on STEM activities for the kiddos, and the Children’s Museum, perfect for pre-K kids who love pretend play. Don’t miss the one-of-a-kind Monkey Jungle, a reverse zoo where guests walk through cages while the monkeys roam wild.
WHERE TO EAT
You don’t want to miss any of the authentic Cuban food in Little Havana. On our recent stay we stopped at Cafe La Trova, a new hotspot that’s the brainchild of James Beard award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein and world-renowned bartender Julio Cabrera. Together, they’ve combined unique cocktails (try the Hotel Nacional, a mix of pineapple rum and other fruity liquors) with standards like arroz con pollo and Cuban sandwiches, as well as octopus a la plancha and foie gras turchon for the more adventurous. The kids will love the handmade empanadas. And don’t miss a trip after to Azucar, an ice cream haven that whips up unique flavors like guava, rose and cuarto leches.
Nestled inside the famed Eden Roc Hotel is Malibu Farm, an outdoor venue from California-based Chef Helene Henderson featuring a farm-to-table menu of seasonal goodies and fresh seafood. Try one of their unique salads and cool off with a frose, while soaking up the cool breeze. The nachos are a must for kids and grown-ups alike. Also next door is the Nobu Hotel, which features the famed Nobu restaurant known for its high-end, Japanese-fusion cuisine The black cod with miso is not to be missed.
WHERE TO STAY
Go old-school with a twist at Eden Roc. This classic art deco hotel, designed by famed architect Morris Lapidus, is filled with traditional charm and plenty of amenities. Because of its design, every one of the 400+ rooms has a stunning ocean view. You’ll love sitting on the balcony with your coffee in the morning.
Head to one of three pools to chill out and relax. et the kids splash around (order snacks and drinks poolside!) before hitting the beach or lounging in a beachside cabana.
The hotel recently added family yoga and a pizza making class at Malibu Farm. Its BECO Kids Club (included with some rooms, or available for an extra fee), is available on weekends to kids ages 4-12. The loft space is filled with an arts and crafts station and foosball table, and outdoor activities focus on preserving the beach and taking care of marine life. Take advantage of Kids Night Out babysitting so you can have a grown-up dinner.
If you can sneak away, head to the on-site Esencia Spa for a volcanic massage, aromatherapy treatment or just a few minutes in the zen relaxation room and steam area. If you’re a gym rat, the fitness center is open 24 hours a day and boasts big windows with stunning scenery, plus classes on indoor surfboards and barless barre.