Miami, Florida Guide

By James | Last updated December 29, 2023

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Miami is located in south-eastern Florida on the Atlantic coast and over the years has spread from the mainland onto a series of barrier islands, including Bay Harbor Islands, Miami Beach, Fisher Island and Key Biscayne. It is part of Miami-Dade County, the most populous state in Florida with over 3 million residents.

To the north of Miami lies Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, to the south Coral Gables and to the west the vast expanses of the Big Cypress National Preserve and the Everglades National Park.

Miami is a multi-cultural city with a strong Spanish influence that dates back to the earliest days of the Spanish colonisation of Florida. In fact the majority of people living in Miami are not from Florida originally.

There are large Cuban (Little Havana) and Haitian (Little Haiti) communities mixed with many Europeans, Americans and Canadians who have fled south to take advantage of the year-round warm climate.

Getting To Miami

Miami is well served by two international airports (Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport), good Interstate access, Amtrak train and Greyhound bus services and of course the World’s busiest cruise port.

Miami is about a four hour drive (230 miles) from the central Florida/Orlando area and about a three hour drive (150 miles) from Key West.

Read more about getting to Miami.

Getting Around Miami

Like many large Florida cities, Miami has a public transport system but the car still rules supreme, particularly if you wish to get to some of the more outlying areas.

The local transit authorities operate the Metrobus service with over 100 bus routes, the rapid transit Metrorail train service, the commuter Tri-Rail service and the free Downtown Metromover overhead light railway service. The newest service is the Brightline rail service from Miami to West Palm Beach with further expansion to Orlando and ultimately to Tampa.

As well as ordinary taxis, there are also a number of water taxis that can be used to simply get places or take a tour.

Places To Stay In Miami

Miami offers a range of accommodation, everything from chic boutique Art Deco style hotels to 5-star luxury resort hotels like the Miami Beach Acqualina Resort & Spa, Viceroy Miami and Mandarin Oriental Miami with plenty of choice in between.

Things to do in Miami

Whilst Miami does not have the blockbuster allure of Orlando’s theme parks, it still has plenty to offer from world class museums and art galleries to the Miami Seaquarium, Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Everglades Alligator Farm, Jungle Island, Miami Metrozoo and Monkey Jungle. Of course the Big Cypress National Preserve and the Everglades National Park are also close at hand.

If you plan on visiting more than one attraction in the Miami area (or even going to the Kennedy Space Center) then it might be worth considering a Miami Go Card or Miami Explorer Pass. These multi-attraction multi-day tickets can save you money on the normal gate prices.

Eating in Miami

Miami is renowned for its restaurants and cuisine and Zagat publish a range of annual guides, just on Miami’s restaurants; Zagat Miami, South Florida Restaurants and Zagat Miami Beach Restaurants.

Nightlife in Miami

You only have to watch an episode of “CSI Miami” to realise what amazing nightlife Miami has to offer, everything from jazz clubs to hot nightclubs and comedy shows.

Shopping in Miami

Miami boasts a number of exclusive shopping malls. For everyday shopping there are malls like the Dolphin Mall and Sawgrass Mills but for up market brands like Tiffany and Prada then there is Bel Harbor Shops.

If planning is approved, the largest mall and entertainment complex in the Western Hemisphere, the American Dream Miami mega mall could be coming to Miami in the next few years.

Miami Visitor Numbers

In 2021 Miami welcomed around 24 million visitors each year who come to soak up the glamour and the glitz, the wonderful weather, beautiful beaches, fantastic architecture, museums, restaurants, shopping and renowned nightlife.

About half of them were domestic travellers and just over five million international visitors. The busiest months are December/January and March/April. The quietest month is September.

Read more about Florida tourism statistics for 2021.

Miami Climate and Seasons

One of the attraction to southern Florida and Miami in particular is the weather. Miami enjoys a sub-tropical climate with year round sunshine. Most of the rainfall including thunderstorms occurs during the summer and early autumn (fall) months. Coupled with the rainfall though is high humidity and of course hurricane season runs from June to November.

Highest temperature recorded was 98 degrees Fahrenheit and the lowest 30 degrees Fahrenheit, just below freezing.

This climate means that Miami has different seasons to more central and northern parts of Florida. High season in Miami when it is usually warm and dry runs from December through March/April when you can expect hotel room rates to rise. During low season from June to August you can expect to pay 30% to 50% less for your room.

Florida Theme Parks

Theme Park Ticket Guides