A Birthday Girl’s Travel Guide to Miami (Or Spring-Breaker)


Miami guide

Everyone Goes to Miami, But What Do They Do There?

Last year, one of my resolutions was to treat myself to a birthday trip. I didn’t care where I went, I just wanted to get away from all my responsibilities and celebrate me. I couldn’t have chosen a better place than Miami. In the middle of everything and right before the wave of Art Basel, Miami was the mellow and warm vibe I needed to give me a break from the cold and hectic mess of everyday life. I stayed right on South Beach, which really made my experience. With Miami being such a big travel hub, a lot of airlines fly nonstop to Miami from many cities around the U.S. I got a really cheap flight even though I bought it last minute. But I recommend booking as early as possible if you can though to make sure you get the best deals possible.

Even though Miami is really popular, I had never been so I didn’t know where to stay or what to do really. That’s why I’m sharing this guide. Hopefully, this will make planning your Spring Break trip to Miami easier so you can sort through all the great options and find what works for you. 

Miami guide- outfit

Where to Stay

South Beach is a great place to stay in Miami. I feel like everybody says that but now I know why. One thing I really like about the area is how easy it is to stay, explore, and enjoy. I thought it was going to be super touristy (and it probably is in the summer) but it wasn’t overly crowded and I loved the convenience of everything. There are tons of hotels right on the beach; many restaurants are within walking distance; and there are so many options for shopping nearby. We stayed at Nautilus by Arlo. When you’re booking, check out the hotels on Collins Ave. You’re close to everything and the beach is your backyard.

Miami guide -hotels

Places to Shop

Lincoln Mall 

This is one of the best outdoor malls I have ever been to. With options like Zara, H&M, CB2, and Kiehl’s,  you get a great variety of shopping options. You also find some great restaurants up and down the strip. Even Starbucks and Haagen-Daz both have two convenient locations on the strip. 

Sawgrass Mills

Everyone I talked to kept saying I should visit Sawgrass Mills. It’s where a lot of the name brand stores are. It’s basically an outlet mall. Prices for designer brands like Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade and more are lower than the originals. But I was ballin’ on a budget so I had to stay out of these stores!

Miami guide - Shopping

Ross and CVS

When you’re traveling, it can be a headache to realize you forgot something or you end up needing something you don’t have. In my case, I forgot to bring spandex. If you have thighs, you know the struggle that happens when dresses meet warm weather – chaffing. My whole trip could have been ruined if I didn’t find some spandex on day two. Luckily, there’s a huge Ross store and a CVS across from each other just off Collins Ave. I felt like I had everything nearby.

Must-Try Experiences

Dolphin Encounter

Make sure to do your research so you don’t just end up with a photo op if you’re looking for more. Some places allow you to interact more with the dolphins, but it depends on what you’re going for. You also want to make sure you’re visiting a place that treats the dolphins well. That was really important to me when I was shopping around. Groupon can be a great place to find deals. 

Outdoor Massage – Spa on the Beach 

Does this sound bougie? Well, oh well if it is! But seriously, if you can splurge on one thing during a vacay, this might be it. I booked this through our hotel and it was so relaxing. The massage is in one of the beachside cabanas so you have privacy but you can hear the waves at the same time. This is an experience I have never had and I probably won’t have it again, at least not anytime soon. Challenge yourself to have these unique experiences when you travel, but especially when you vacation.

Miami guide- Beaches

Wynwood Walls

Check out this amazing area for colorful murals and live artwork. Wynwood was a neighborhood in Miami with a diverse history. Today, you can see the changes that include vibrant shops on every corner, coffee shops, and restaurants, all perfect for the exploring tourist. It’s definitely cool to see and take pictures of…but we’ll talk more about this type of development in another blog post. For now, just enjoy!

Miami places

Getting Around 

Getting from place to place can be the most expensive part of traveling. Thank goodness for rideshare services! And legs lol. That’s basically how we got around. But you should also know that in Miami, there’s 1. a free trolly, 2. reliable buses, and 3. a free metromover. It’s surprising how many free transportation options there are in Miami. But it’s up to you to decide how much planning you want to do or if you just want to be lazy, which is okay on vacay!

Miami murals

Where to Eat 

Miami restaurants

Look out for the “Foodie’s Guide to South Beach” where I talk about all the amazing places to eat nearby. Ocean Drive is full of restaurants that will keep a foodie happy day or night. From Cuban food, to a Mexican dance restaurant, and even snack spots, we were always eating! Some of our favorite brunch spots were on Collins so make sure you check out your options.

Check out my other travel tales here!