A few years ago my boyfriend and I were looking for a nice beach getaway. We were considering many different destinations such as the Caribbean or the U.S. First and foremost we wanted a quiet yet safe place where we can relax and enjoy the sun. All things considered and after weeks of research we settled on sunny Florida. And the place that seemed ideal for us was Miami Beach. I’m thrilled to finally share with you our Miami Beach travel adventures. In addition I want to show you that you can have a great time and still stick to your budget.
Great Miami Beach Travel And How To Be On Budget
Miami Beach Travel – Tip #1
Where To Stay
I can’t tell you how many weeks we spend researching places to stay in Miami Beach. It was painstakingly long. And I was slightly going out of my mind. We went through a ton of online reviews. And not all of them were very helpful. The smallest things can dissatisfy people. It’s quite amazing. For every good review there were more bad ones. Deciphering between actual bad places vs. bad reviews was not an easy feat. But in the end we settled on about 3-4 places and started calling them. Our advice is to get a feel for the place by talking to the actual staff. In the end we picked the place that seemed the most accommodating and informative.
Address: 3900 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140, Phone: 305-538-4900
This great boutique hotel is situated right on Collins Avenue. It’s very conveniently located in Miami Beach, which is right between South Beach and North Beach. This was a perfect location for us because it was close enough to South Beach and all the action. But far away enough so we can get a decent sleep without worrying about all the crazy parties keeping us up. In addition Circa 39 is just across the street from a beautiful stretch of Miami Beach.
We felt very cozy in this modern and well-maintained hotel. As a matter of fact we had a wonderful stay there. Our room had nice furnishings, all the amenities we needed and a super comfortable king size bed. Best sleep I’ve had while traveling by far. The pool was accessible at any time therefore we were able to have some great midnight swims. The adjacent ‘Jules Kitchen’ restaurant had some tasty food options available such as a nice burger we tried. And the ‘Wunder Bar’ had delicious drinks. The hotel staff at Circa 39 were pleasant and accommodating. We had no issues while we stayed there all 10 days. In conclusion we would definitely consider staying at Circa 39 and would recommend it to other travelers.
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Burger and couscous salad at Jules Kitchen
Drinks at Wunder Bar
Miami Beach Travel – Tip # 2
Where To Eat
It’s always hard to know good places to eat when you’re in an unfamiliar city. There are many places to choose from in Miami Beach. We were very fortunate to get some great restaurant recommendations while we were there. These two restaurants exceeded our expectations above all and really deserve an honorable mention.
Address: 1570 Alton Rd., Miami Beach, FL 33139, Phone: 305-534-0042
I’ve never been a big fan of Greek food or should I say Greek food restaurants. That all changed after I tried Eat Greek on Alton Street. Billy the owner of this amazing restaurant really makes sure you get the authentic taste of Greece at his restaurant. This is what separates amazing restaurants from those that are just so so. We came here via recommendation from my boyfriend’s friend who stumbled upon this place just a week before us. How glad we are for his adventure to be able to come to this restaurant ourselves.
We loved the food at Eat Greek so much that we came back a second time within our 10-day stay in Miami Beach. Each time we were treated to huge platters of delicious food, amazing side dishes and outstanding service. Our dishes were bursting with full flavor and we could tell that love went into making them. This was Greek food at its finest. We had a wonderful conversation with Billy who really wants to give his customers an authentic taste of what real Greek food is all about.
His dishes are made in house with ingredients imported straight from Greece. You absolutely must try their Tzatziki sauce, which is to die for. We had to get some of it to go so we could munch on it later back at our hotel room. Everything on our plates looked gorgeous and tasted fantastic from the grilled veggies to the meats to the olives and capers. It was all perfection. The food here is very reasonably priced for the amount you receive.
Bacon wrapped souvlaki and beef souvlaki plates with greek fries, salad and an order of spanakopita.
Gyro plate with salad and rice
Beefteki plate with salad and house-made Tzatziki sauce
When you step foot inside the Eat Greek restaurant you feel as if you’re transported to Greece. The decor has that ancient Greek feel with beautiful Greek pictures and statues. There are plaques with ancient Greek mythology wisdom quotes from such greats as Socrates, Plato, Hippocrates and Aristotle. Quite the nice touch. And then the scent of the scrumptious food makes you forget everything. This place is not to be missed. Make sure you say hi to Billy when you visit. Feel free to check out my review of Eat Greek Souvlaki on Yelp.
Address: 959 West Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, 305-535-3050
We would have never found this great restaurant if it wasn’t for a local resident. After shopping at Whole Foods we asked a stranger on the street for any good restaurants in the area. She recommended we visit a local favorite called Oliver’s just around the corner. As a matter of fact she was right. This is truly a neighborhood gem.
Oliver’s Bistro is an American style bistro that offers a variety of different dishes. They range from American, Mediterranean, Thai, French and seafood. Similarly to Eat Greek, we loved the food so much that after having dinner here we came back another time for brunch. Their food is so flavorful and tasty it will leave you full but wanting more. It was apparent to us from the start that Oliver’s Bistro is the real deal. The food is very reasonably priced and for $15-17 American you’ll eat like a king.
CHICKEN PICCATA MILANESE OVER VEGETABLE PAPPARDELLE Fresh warm tomato coulis
CHICKEN SCALLOPINE MARSALA topped with fresh mushrooms in a creamy marsala wine sauce, mashed potatoes, sautéed seasonal vegetables
SMOKED SALMON EGGS BENEDICT on English muffin, hollandaise sauce, grilled tomato, home fried potatoes
The decor of this restaurant was so pretty and welcoming. The patio was the best place to be on a warm and cozy summer night. We not only got treated to delicious culinary experience but had the perfect spot for a quiet and romantic dinner. This place is one that we will definitely look forward to visiting next time we’re in Miami Beach.
Miami Beach Travel – Tip # 3
Since our hotel was only across the street from Miami beach this was our main spot while staying here for 10 glorious days. Circa 39 had a designated area on the beach where we could get a beach chair and rent an umbrella for the day. This strip of the beach was so chill and relaxing. It was exactly what we needed. Our days were spent lounging on our beach chairs, relaxing and taking in the scenery. The ocean here was beautiful and so refreshing after sitting under our umbrella soaking the sun. This was exactly why we came to Miami Beach. There were no loud and crazy parties here. Just the sun, the ocean and the cool breeze. A perfect vacation spot if you ask me.
No visit to Miami is complete without checking out South Beach or the party central of Miami. The beach here is just as pretty as anywhere on the strip but definitely busier. This is where all the partygoers are staying so just be aware of that. We opted to come here in the later afternoon so there was less people around. All we wanted to do was to take in the sights. As we passed by some of the hotel pool areas we could hear loud fist-pumping music blasting away. Not our kind of party. We were glad that we weren’t staying in any of these hotels. But it definitely was fun to see all the teenagers partying away Miami style.
Miami Beach Travel – Tip # 4
How To Get Around
The three best ways to get around in Miami are: rent a car, take a bus or take a taxi. All things considered we opted not to rent a car while there. The stress of driving around in an unfamiliar town would’ve been too much. After all we were on vacation. Miami has a great local transit system. The buses there run frequently and are safe to take. It didn’t take us long to learn the streets and bus routes.
After just a few days of our Miami Beach travel we already felt like the locals. There are always lots of tourists on the bus and we ended up giving directions to a few of them. The bus drivers are also pretty helpful and friendly. There was never a time we didn’t feel safe on the bus in Miami Beach. The bus fare is very reasonable and certain short distance routes are even less. So arguably it’s very cheap to get around Miami via public transit.
On a few occasions we did end up taking a taxi. We got caught in a downpour one night while waiting for a bus. So at this point we decided to jump in a cab instead. The distance from our hotel and South Beach area was not that long so it only ended up costing us around $10. Therefore taxis are not that expensive in Miami Beach either.
Miami Beach Travel – Tip # 5
How To Stay On A Budget
When you travel it’s very easy to go overboard with spending. But you don’t have to sacrifice having fun while traveling on a budget.
We ended up booking a very reasonably priced boutique hotel. It was cheaper because it was across the street from the beach. To us that wasn’t too much of a big deal. We also booked the hotel ahead of time so we were able to take advantage of some additional discounts.
In addition we did some meal planning when we arrived to our destination. We ended up buying groceries at the local Whole Foods and stocked up on items such as: cereal, fruits, veggies, bread, cold cuts and cheese. Because of that we were able to save money on going out. We made our own breakfast in the room and prepared sandwiches and salads for lunch on the beach. We only splurged and treated ourselves to dinner and occasional snacks and alcoholic drinks.
Flight & Transportation
When we were planning our Miami Beach travel we kept an eye out on airfares. As soon as we saw a good deal on flights we grabbed it. Therefore we didn’t end up overpaying booking at the last minute. In addition once in Miami we relied heavily on public transportation, which was the cheapest option to get around. No worry about where to park or how much extra money we would need to spend on gas. We only took a few cabs, which didn’t set us back that much.
Shopping and Extras
Another way we saved money on our Miami Beach travel was that we didn’t splurge on impulse shopping. Honestly, there wasn’t too much I wanted to buy clothing wise in Miami. The styles were geared towards club hopping and that’s just not what I’m interested in. I only bought a few things like a cute Miami Beach towel I really wanted and a few other trinkets. Surely if we found something truly spectacular we wouldn’t deprived ourselves. But for this trip all we needed was the sun, the beach, good food and each other’s company. That’s exactly what we got.
Our 10 days of fun in the sun in Miami Beach cost us at total of $4,400 Canadian for two people. This includes all the flights, taxis to the airport, groceries and alcohol, eating out, beach umbrellas etc. and getting around Miami.
Can’t afford a trip to Miami Beach this time around? If you’re in Canada I suggest you check out the hidden gem of Ontario – Sauble Beach. Read my travel story here and find out why we love it there.
Have you been to Miami Beach? Are you planning a trip soon? What do you think of our Miami Beach travel tips here? Share with me in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
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