Bienvenidos a Miami! A South Beach Travel Guide wouldn’t be complete without a Welcome To Miami reference, right?!
Before we jump right into my South Beach Travel Guide, I do want to add a little Travel Guide disclaimer here: this guide isn’t the “30-something Spring Break” Miami/South Beach scene. This is just two parents, getting away for a long weekend, and getting to bed well before 2am 😂 We can call it “A Mom’s Guide To South Beach”.
Keep reaching my South Beach Travel Guide to see where we stayed, where we ate, and what we did while staying in South Beach, FL!
Where we stayed
We flew into Miami International Airport, and it was just a short drive into South Beach. Neither of us had ever stayed in Miami or South Beach, but we knew being on the water was a must. Most of the area is under construction (the boardwalk is going to be amazing once it’s done!), so we didn’t have a ton of options. When we pulled up to W South Beach, we immediately knew we made the right call! (Not surprising, as it is a Marriott property!)
The hotel’s location on Collins Ave was perfect. We could walk to most places we wanted to go (mostly Starbucks), and we were in the middle of the Art Deco area, so there were a ton of cool murals and sculptures/instillations to check out. Just across the street sits Collins Park. It had some shaded spots to sit, and a play area for kids. Collins Park is also home to Miami Mountain, this fun rainbow rock tower is 42 feet tall!
The hotel also had a ton of cool art, from some tastefully artistic black and white nudes to the Andy Warhol prints in the lobby!
The hotel itself was packed. (Likely the result of the construction all over, but it is something to keep in mind, with peak season approaching!) We had a corner suite on the 8th floor. It was stunning.
We had one whole wall of windows along the side, and then a large balcony which was accessible from the bedroom and the living space. The room was complete with modern furniture, a kitchenette, fridge, and a lot of closet/drawer/storage space.
The staff was very friendly, and masks were required inside the building. It was a 50/50 if people were wearing masks outside in the pool area.
My only real complaint about the property was with their chair reservations. We were told we would get 2 chairs and 2 towels daily (beach or pool). We arrived to the beach the 3rd day around 10am, and were told the ENTIRE first row of beach lounges and umbrellas were reserved, and we could not sit there. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon when the groups of people finally made it down to the beach. We heard multiple people arguing about this throughout our trip. Same deal at the pool. There were tons of empty chairs we were told were being reserved, and no one ever came down. That gets frustrating, and most properties we stay at do not allow “holds” like that.
Where we ate
Exploring new restaurants is one of our favorite parts about traveling. Miami is such a diverse area, so we were excited for the food!
The Restaurant at W South Beach (RWSB)
The 3:30am wakeup call to catch our flight caught up with us the first night, so we opted for dinner at the hotel. RWSB is an American-style restaurant located inside W South Beach.
The inside is cozy, with coffee, a bakery counter, and seating. We opted to eat outside, however. Dinner was good, but not mind-blowing. I had the catch of the day and David ordered the Hanger Steak.
We also grabbed breakfast here each morning. Now, the breakfast here was delicious! The food was fresh and delicious. We made a habit of grabbing an early breakfast to beat the rush from the hotel.
I think Myn-Tu was our favorite place! It was very unassuming, and honestly didn’t look like a restaurant. We had a reservation and decided to walk. We got there about 15 minutes early, to find that Myn-Tu wasn’t open yet. It looked like a closed store on the strip. HOWEVER. Once they set up their entrance, and we were inside, it was bursting with energy.
According to their menu, Myn-Tu is “an elegant blend of Japanese and Vietnamese culture influenced by a French flair”. The service was amazing, and the food was even better.
We ordered the Creamy Rock Shrimp and an octopus starter. The portion of Creamy Rock Shrimp was huge, and not my favorite. The octopus, however, was some of the best I’ve ever had!
For our dinner, Dave ordered the Hot Stone Wagyu Beef, and it was plated so well, with the hot stone! I ordered the Sea Bass. We cleared our plates, and were entirely too full for dessert. (Worth noting: they did bring forks and knives for dinner 😉)
Taco Taco is located on Collins Ave (same road as the hotel), so we passed it one morning and made a mental note to go back for lunch if we didn’t see anything that looked like more fun. Spoiler alert: nothing did! Taco Taco hd a ton of outdoor seating near the sidewalk, which made for excellent people-watching and car-spotting!
It was PACKED, so getting seated, placing our orders, and getting our food did take a while, but we weren’t in a rush. It was worth the wait, too. Taco Taco gets two thumbs up from us, and is a close second to Myn-Tu!
They had an amazing menu, with so many fun drink options I ordered a Miami Vice, and Dave had the Sobe Pineapple Rush. I had the mahi mahi tacos and Dave ordered a quesadilla. I could have sat there for another 40 minutes, sipping a cool drink and eating chips and salsa. This is a must-visit for the fun atmosphere for sure!
Irma’s is the cozy little bar outside at W South Beach. Everything had a tiki vibe, and the drinks were delicious. They do offer small plates, but we simply grabbed a cocktail before heading out to dinner one night.
Worth noting: this margarita was significantly stronger than the margaritas served at Wet!
Wet Bar & Grille
Grabbing a drink at Wet was actually the first thing we did after dropping our suitcases off in the room. Wet is located on the pool deck, and had very friendly service! My favorite part was getting drinks and food brought right out to our lounge chairs on the beach!
I got the coconut shrimp the first day, and it was so good, I ordered it for lunch once more before we left. Dave and I agreed that lunch from Wet was our favorite meal from the property itself.
I also have to add a note about their spicy margarita — it was AMAZING.
What we did
We only had a few days in South Beach, so we tried to make the most of them!
Obviously. You can’t leave -16 degree temps and nearly 2 feet of snow and not spend the majority of the time on the beach 😉
Despite my note above about the chair reservations, we were able to have chairs at the beach each day (just not the prime chairs!). The beach was busy, and there weren’t many shells at all. We didn’t take too many walks during the day, and mostly just relaxed.
The water was the most gorgeous color blue, but it was the cute chairs and umbrellas that did it for me!
We did take an evening beach walk, and found the beach to be almost completely empty! It was the quietest, and most peaceful — escaping the live music and bright lights of South Beach!
We went out on a rented boat our second day of the trip. It was such a fun day — the weather was perfect, and we enjoyed champagne and lunch while anchored near this old amphitheater (the “it” place to stop, according to Captain Juan!) South Beach looks gorgeous from the intracoastal!
If you caught my Marco Island Travel Guide, then you know how much Dave and I adore the mangrove forests and views over the water in the intracoastal!
The sunset from the water was amazing, unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of sunset views from our section of beach, but the sunrises were gorgeous!
The Design District
We had to get our shopping fix in 😉 so we headed to Miami’s Design District.
This area reminded me of a tropical version of Oak Street in Chicago! It was fun to just walk around, and there were lots of great-looking restaurants and photo-opps, too.
We had fun popping into Cartier, checking out Fendi, TKEES, and a few other high-end boutiques (like Dior, Fendi, and Louis Vuitton).
We managed to find a bar, and sat to enjoy a drink and admire all the cool architecture!
Us finding Lincoln Road was a happy accident! Our last day was a little too breezy to enjoy the beach (and we couldn’t get a chair at the pool), so we decided to just walk around and check out the area.
Lincoln Road was bursting with excitement! It’s blocked off from traffic, though there are a few streets with cross-walks. There were a ton of restaurants, with outside seating down the center. It was very cool to walk around and window-shop. The shops here were more like what you would find in a mall — like Dylan’s Candy, Forever 21, and Zara.
Like I said, it wasn’t the typical “eat at 10pm, party until 5am, sleep until noon, and repeat” kind of trip. While the Miami/South Beach area is not a place I would bring the girls, Dave and I had a wonderful first impression! I am already day dreaming of visiting again!
Looking for more Florida vacation inspo? Check out this post from our family Spring Break trip to Ookaloosa Island from a few years ago, on the Gulf Coast of Florida!