Our first introduction to Miami was in the TV series ‘Dexter’!
The series may be known for its forensic science, gore, and thrilling storyline, but what we noticed most was the relaxed and casual vibe of Miami and Miami Beach.
Miami is one of the most popular cities to visit in the USA. It is known for its laid-back vibe, amazing beaches including the famous South Beach, murals at Wynwood, and warm weather.
The city of Miami is also home to amazing neighborhoods.
South Beach is popular for people watching and its art deco architecture whereas in Little Havana, you can enjoy and understand the Latin American culture.
And then of course there is high end shopping and amazing nightlife in Miami Beach. The city is the best place to let your hair down and enjoy a weekend away.
Fun Fact: Downtown Miami and Miami Beach are actually two separate cities linked by the causeway! They even have separate mayors and governments. Don’t worry, you can definitely see them both on the same trip!
If you are tired of continuously running around in the theme park in Orlando, and then drive down to spend a fun-filled, relaxing weekend on the beach in Miami.
See the attractions in downtown Miami, people watch on South Beach, take an Instagram worthy photo with Wynwood murals, then take an airport ride in Everglades National Park.
Or drive down the overseas highway to party in Key West. Miami is also an amazing place to explore other popular attractions in southern Florida.
If you love the outdoors, then go snorkeling or windsurfing or hire a fishing charter. There are also several hiking trails near Miami.
Also Read: Best Beaches to Camp in the USA
Here is a detailed Miami travel guide to make the most of this amazing city. Spend anywhere from a day to three, Miami has enough attractions to offer for all kinds of travelers.
Miami Itinerary Ideas
Here are the best Miami trip itinerary ideas.
3 Day Miami Itinerary
Miami is one of the most popular cities to visit in Florida and receives over millions of visitors every year.
While some come here for just a day or two, we recommend spending at least 3 days in Miami and Miami Beach area to see the most popular tourist attractions including South Beach, Wynwood Wall, and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
Here’s our ultimate itinerary to enjoy the best things to do in Miami and explore its unique vibe.
Day 1 in Miami
On Day 1 in Miami, see the top favorite attractions in Miami.
Start by visiting the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Downtown Miami and end the day in South Beach / Miami Beach. Have lunch on Espanola way and admire the art deco historic district.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is the former estate home of businessman James Deering, of the Deering McCormick-International Harvester fortune.
This sprawling mansion is located on Biscayne Bay in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida and is a must visit when in the city.
The landscape was influenced by Tuscan Italian Renaissance style while the house was designed in the Mediterranean Revival style of architecture.
The blend of styles creates a truly unmatched architectural gem in South Florida that is hardly rivaled today anywhere else in the greater United States!
The estate and surrounding area consist of 50 acres with the villa and the gardens located at its heart. The remaining landscape is made up of native jungle forest.
The 10-acre garden blooms with beautiful plants and orchids every year and draws in thousands of visitors.
On a tour of the villa’s museum, you can walk through more than seventy rooms displaying artistic interiors and decorated with numerous antiques.
The antiques and decor place an emphasis on 15th through early 19th century European style furnishing and art.
The stunning design and unique beauty of Vizcaya is why in 1994 the estate was designated as a National Historic Landmark.
And since then, it has remained one of America’s most popular and also most beautiful museums and is a must-stop on any Miami itinerary.
South Beach is arguably the most recognizable neighborhood in all of Miami! With a nickname like the ‘Sun and Fun capital of the world’, it is easy to figure out why!
South Beach was the first part of the greater Miami beach development and has grown into a popular tourism hub since then.
It has a huge array of fantastic attractions and sights available for anyone that visits this area and is perfect for everyone including friends, families, couples, and solo travelers. .
The South Beach area is famous for its white-sand beaches like South Pointe and Lummus Park, which are said to be the best beaches in Miami Beach city.
Also Read: Best Beaches in the USA
The stunning skyscraper dotted Miami skyline is located behind the beach and makes for picturesque photos.
The colorful lifeguard stations on Miami Beach are brilliant pieces of Art Deco style and design and one of the most Instagram worthy locales in Miami.
In the South Beach area, you will find a variety of popular nightclubs as well as some of the world’s best restaurants.
You can easily spend hours getting lost exploring popular districts of Miami Beach like Lincoln road which has excellent shopping and art galleries.
South Beach is the beating heart of Miami beach culture. Its vibrant atmosphere and glamorous nightlife scene make it the perfect stop on your Miami itinerary for 3 days.
South Beach is especially popular in winter, making Miami one of the best winter sun destinations in America.
Ocean Drive and Art Deco architecture
The Easternmost street of Miami Beach, Ocean Drive is the symbolic center of Miami and is an iconic tourist attraction due to its beautiful art deco architecture.
Ocean Drive is the heart of the historic Miami art deco district. It features a huge variety of architecturally impressive hotels, restaurants, and bars that attract thousands of visitors every day.
The majority of art deco buildings in Miami Beach were built between the Great Depression and the early 1940s so any stroll through this historic district will have you feeling like you took a step back in time.
Visit the iconic 1939 Colony Hotel which is known as one of the most photographed art deco buildings in the world. It has been featured in scores of movies and TV shows.
Or stop by the Sunray Apartments, another famous Art Deco building, which has been immortalized as a filming location in the cult classic Scarface.
Other popular buildings include the Raleigh, Delano, and National hotels. You can even go on a guided Art Deco tour of the area.
The beautiful designs of this neighborhood as well as its atmospheric nature are what make it a perfect stop on the first day of your Miami 3 day itinerary.
Espanola Way resembles the romantic small towns found in Europe.
Here you will find cobblestoned streets and a charming atmosphere. It is eclectic and bohemian and quintessentially Miami!
Espanola Way has its origins as an artist’s colony. Today, the area has grown into a popular dining spot and has a unique mix of restaurants, bars, sidewalk cafes, and boutiques.
Dining here is delightful. It’s the perfect match of really good food, people watching, and romantic ambience.
Visitors love spending hours here, exploring through the one of a kind stores, shopping for souvenirs and trinkets, and discovering a truly different part of Miami during your 3 day itinerary.
Day 2 in Miami
This day of Miami 2 Day itinerary is for soaking in Miami’s vibrant culture and indulging in some shopping.
Enjoy a slice of Cuba in Little Havana and then admire the murals in Wynwood Arts District. And the day window shopping and people watching at the Bayside Marketplace.
If you want to know the roots behind the Cuban culture and history that is ever present in Miami, visit Little Havana.
This Cuban neighborhood has been molded by the thousands of Cubans that fled to America after the country’s 1959 communist revolution.
The neighborhood has been declared a national treasure and it’s easy to see why as you wander the streets.
This is truly the perfect slice of Cuba. It is steeped in the Latin American culture and relaxed way of life.
Time seems to stop here – you can spot the locals playing dominoes sipping on local coffee!
Some of the must things to do in Little Havana?
Enjoy delicious Cuban cuisine, drink a Cuban coffee, and visit the many noted landmarks like the Latin walk of fame. You will also easily find culinary and cultural tour in Little Havana.
A must is the tourist hotspot of Calle Ocho which is home to the Domino Park and the historic Tower Theater.
Also notice the giant colorful roosters that are present all over Calle Ocho. Take a photo with the Welcome mural and spot other murals in the area.
If you can, attend the Calle Ocho Music Festival, the largest Latin music festival in America. Little Havana is definitely a must on the Miami itinerary of 2 days.
Love street art? Visit Wynwood Walls on your 2 day Miami itinerary!
This is one of the greatest outdoor graffiti and street art museums in the world.
At Wynwood Walls, you will find an impressive amount of street art and murals on a variety of thought provoking and intriguing topics.
Besides the murals, Wynwood is also home to numerous eateries, art galleries, and retail stores. Looking at the hub that i Wynwood today, it’s hard to imagine that this area was a ghetto in the 1990s!
Visit the Market place area and enjoy unique food vendors as well as watch some of the live shows which are so prominent in the district.
If you are lucky enough to visit on the second Saturday of every month you can enjoy the Wynwood Art Walk.
The entire Wynwood Business Improvement district turns into a late-night street party and arts festival where a variety of food trucks set up and live music plays well into the early hours of the morning.
The number one most visited attraction in Miami the Bayside Marketplace.
This two-story open-air shopping center is located on the banks of Biscayne Bay adjacent to the Miami Marina.
Here you can shop to your heart’s content for a variety of apparel, trinkets, souvenirs, and home goods.
Beware – the stores here are high end brands, so if you want a budget friendly trip then keep to window shopping!
After you are done, marvel at the boats and yachts of Miami. You can also take a boat tour. Then try some of the best seafood in all of Miami for lunch.
Perez Art Museum
End your day at the Perez Art Museum which is located near the Bayside marketplace and Bayfront Park.
This is one of the largest contemporary art collections in the world with over 2000 pieces available for visitors to view!
The museum building itself is equally stunning and one of the most popular Instagram spots in Miami. Views of the water from here are also relaxing.
This museum is an important part of the art and culture scene in Miami and is a must-stop on any 3 day Miami Itinerary.
Miami Design District
Miami design district is a must visit if you love fine dining or high and shopping.
In this neighborhood you will find a plethora of art galleries, public artwork, showrooms, antique stores, gastropubs, celebrated restaurants, and more.
Art lovers should go to the Institute of Contemporary Art located here. The sculpture garden is especially stunning.
Those who love taking photos for the ‘gram, should head to the Fly’s Eye Dome sculpture. Take a walking tour to see the amazing artworks spread throughout the district.
Day 3 in Miami
On your last day, you have a couple of options. You can either visit Everglades National Park and see the mysterious Coral Castle on the way.
Another option is to take a day trip to Key Biscayne. Combine it with spending the day swimming at the pool in Coral Gables!
If you have kids, then consider spending an entire day at the zoo!
We have tried to include brief information about each of these popular attractions in Miami.
Everglades National Park
The park is the largest tropical wilderness in the United States. This 1.5-million acres wetlands preserve on the southern tip of Florida is a natural treasure.
Everglades National Park is a unique natural biome made up of coastal mangrove forests, sawgrass marshes, and pine Flatwoods.
It provides a nourishing habitat for many of Florida’s unique animal species including the famous gators.
Also Read: Best National Parks to Visit in the USA
The best way of seeing the Everglades is an airboat tour. You can easily spot many species including alligators, manatees, otters, turtles, and raccoons.
You can also spot birds such as blue herons, ospreys, egrets, and hawks.
The Everglades is a UNESCO world heritage site and a must-see for any visitors to Miami, hence why it is one of the most popular locations on our 3 days in Miami itinerary.
Coral Castle is known as Florida Stonehenge.
This enigmatic tourist attraction was created by eccentric Latvian American artist and engineer Ed Leedskalnin.
There is a lot of secrecy and mystery surrounding the castle. It is built from numerous megalithic stones each weighing several tons.
Part of the castle’s attraction mystery relates to its construction. No one can tell how the heavy monoliths were moved and placed without any heavy machinery.
Legends say that Ed figured out the secret of the pyramids and used it to build Coral Castle.
On a guided tour of Coral Castle, you can learn more about Ed, his life, and inspiration behind the castle.
Key Biscayne is the ultimate day trip from Miami. Just take the scenic causeway to the island and you are in for a treat.
This small town in Florida is located on a barrier island.
It is home to beautiful beaches, mangrove forests, and a variety of wildlife including shorebirds and seabirds, sea turtles, and butterflies.
Here you will also find attractions such as charming neighborhoods, an aquarium – the Miami Seaquarium, restaurants, and even hotels if you want to extend your stay.
The views from Key Biscayne are some of the best in Florida.
The city of Coral Gables is located just four miles away from Miami.
Coral Gables is a beautiful planned community designed in the Mediterranean Revival style of architecture.
It is most famous for the impressive Venetian Pool. This magnificent public pool was built in the 1920s in an abandoned old coral rock quarry.
The Venetian Pool caters to hundreds of visitors every day!
Other things to do in Coral gables include the Merrick House, Fairchild tropical botanic gardens, and the Lowe art museum. The townhomes and houses inside the gated community are very pretty.
Another must is the colorful Umbrella alley.
The Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens which is also known as Zoo Miami is one of the best things to do in Miami for families.
The zoo has many animal species such as giraffes, zebras, big cats including lions, tigers, and apes such as gorillas monkeys and chimpanzees.
Kids can also see a variety of birds including flamingos as well as otters and crocodiles.
Besides the animal attractions, the zoo also has many extra amenities such as a boat ride and a monorail tour of the zoo.
Here’s a tip: wear your best walking shoes and carry a bottle of water as you’ll be easily spending 2 to 3 hours to see the entire zoo.
Miami Itinerary 4 Days
Alternatively, you can also see Everglades + Coral Castle on one day and Coral Gables + Key Biscayne on another if you want to plan a Miami Itinerary of 4 days.
Other fantastic day trips from Miami include St Augustine, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach. To read about them all, see our post Best Day Trips from Miami.
Also Read: Best Places to Visit in America
5 Day Miami Itinerary
If you have more than the minimum 3 days in Miami, then consider driving down to Key West. The Florida Keys road trip is one of the best road trips in America and can be easily done in 2 days.
Here are a few essential stops that you need to make on this epic Key West road trip. This works best if you want to plan a Miami Itinerary for 5 days.
Key Largo is the first island of the Florida Keys and a must stop on your Key West drive. It is the ultimate tropical paradise and has a host of tourist activities for all kinds of travelers.
Take a glass-bottom boat tour through the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. You can spot many of the marine mammals that call this part of America home including rare sea turtles.
Explore the mangrove waterways by a kayak or just unwind and relax on the stunning sandy beaches.
Key Largo is also one of the most popular scuba diving locations in the world. Here you can dive into the world’s largest artificial reef, the 510-foot USS Spiegel Grove.
You can also plan a customized diving tour if you are interested in scuba diving or snorkeling in Key Largo.
Another popular thing to do on Key Largo is to take a boat trip out on the famous African Queen boat tour.
Key Largo is a dream tropical destination and is a perfect addition to any Florida Keys Itinerary.
Known for its stunning coral reefs and comprising 6 keys, the village of Islamorada is a popular tourism destination. It has a beautiful tropic environment as well as a host of tourist attractions.
Here you can visit the Theatre of the Sea marine park and swim with bottlenose dolphins and Californian sea lions.
Or stop by the History of Diving Museum and marvel at unique relics and exhibits that showcase the evolution of diving.
Take time to walk amongst the virgin tropical forests of the Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park or take a boat tour out to the Indian Key Historic State Park which holds a host of 19th-century ruins from a long-abandoned ghost town.
Islamorada is also home to the Morada way arts and cultural district. Here you will find several art galleries and studios as well as participate in art walks.
Marathon is set on 13 islands in the Florida Keys and is known for its beaches and barrier reef.
Highlight of a visit to Marathon – view Loggerhead turtles’ nests at Coco Plum Beach!
Visit the Curry Hammock State Park and walk along its sandy shoreline. Go to the Dolphin Research Center to see interactive shows and swim with dolphins in a shallow lagoon.
Stop by the Marathon Marina and visit the Crane Point bird-rescue center and natural history museum.
Here you can view dozens of unique tropical bird species and learn about the amazing biodiversity of the Florida Keys.
Marathon is a nature lover’s paradise and is the perfect stop on any Miami itinerary.
Seven Mile Bridge
Your 5 day Miami itinerary will take you over the impressive Seven Mile Bridge that connects the Middle keys to the Lower keys and is one of the world’s modern engineering marvels.
The views from the Seven Mile Bridge are fantastic. You can see the Atlantic ocean and the Gulf spread around you. If you can time your drive at dusk, then you can witness one of Florida’s most amazing sunsets.
This bridge is the reason that the drive from Miami to Key West is said to be one of the most scenic drives in the US.
Bahia Honda State Park
The Bahia Honda State Park provides the perfect day out experience on your Miami itinerary. Calusa Beach, located inside the park, is said to be one of the best beaches in the country.
Visitors can enjoy some of the best scenery in Florida right from the shore. hike up to see the Old Bahia Honda bridge or see the beautiful butterflies in the butterfly garden.
Kayak off the coast from palm-lined beaches in crystal clear water and spot stunning marine life including colorful fishes and stingrays.
The park is an excellent place to observe unique shorebird species and you can rent boats here and head out for a day of diving at the reefs in this beautiful State Park.
The island city of Key West is Florida’s southernmost point and lies just roughly 90 miles north of Cuba.
Key West is famous for its vibrant atmosphere and pastel hued conch style houses. It is a popular stopping destination for cruise ships and diving enthusiasts.
Here you can visit the Southernmost Point Buoy which marks the southernmost point in the continental United States.
Stop by the former home and now a museum for the legendary novelist Ernest Hemingway. Visit the bustling Mallory Square and enjoy its famous sunsets.
Visit the historic Fort Zachary Taylor to mix some American history with a day at the beach. Take a walking tour of Old Town and shop for souvenirs on the seaport.
Key West is in many ways the beating heart of the Florida Keys and it’s a must see location on any 5 day Miami itinerary.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park is located in the Gulf of Mexico west of Key West. This is one of the most remote and least visited national parks in America.
It consists of 7 islands as well as a protected coral reef. The area is home to beautiful beaches as well as the historic 19th-century Fort Jefferson.
Loggerhead Key has a lighthouse and sea turtle nesting location. To reach Dry Tortugas National Park, you need to take a NPS managed boat tour from Key West.
If you are a diving enthusiast make sure to visit the nearby Loggerhead Reef which is home to the Windjammer Wreck, a sunken 1875 ship.
One Day in Miami Itinerary
You can also use this as a guide if you have only one day in Miami itinerary or can plan a day trip to Miami.
Start by seeing the iconic neighborhood of Little Havana and the splendid murals at Wynwood in Downtown Miami. Then cross the causeway and see Ocean Drive and the Art Deco buildings.
Have food in Espanola Way then finally head to South Beach. Spend time relaxing on the sand then enjoy Miami’s famous nightlife.
This Miami Itinerary of 1 day is hectic but lets you enjoy the best of Miami in a few hours. Start the day early to make most of your time.
However, if you have the time, we definitely recommend visiting Miami on a long weekend or when you have more time. There is so much to do and see on your Miami trip that you need a few days to cover everything.
We hope you liked our Miami itinerary. Did we miss any amazing spots? Let us know in the comments.