Miami is full of warmth and sunshine year-round and I was lucky enough to go there to shoot the latest Billabong x Elle Ferguson collaboration. Between the tropical lush palm tree landscapes, the vibrant culture, and the sun and beach, it makes for one of the best photo destinations in the US. It is a melting pot of a place, it’s almost like Vegas meets Cuba. It’s a tourist hotspot with mega hotels and chain restaurants mixed with a Latino vibe, Cuban sounds, sandy white beaches and blue aquamarine waters (only in the Keys, not really on South Beach). We are pretty certain there was a heat wave while we were there, almost 40 degrees and 100% humidity. Maybe just a typical day in Miami, who knows, but we felt the Miami heat. Read on for our top travel tips on Miami.
WHERE TO STAY
The Shore Club has a floaty, white-curtains, I’m on holiday feel to it, with spacious well equipped rooms and a pretty standard yet still picture-esque pool compared to other hotels in the area. It’s an art-deco labyrinth of gardens and alcoves and on the first day is quite hard to remember your way around. With the Mexican restaurant ‘Diez y Sies’, Skybar, a luxurious spa, a gym, bicycles and more, there is no real reason you really need to leave your spot by the pool.
WHERE TO EAT
PLANTA: Is like stepping into a plant oasis with such beautiful décor you kind of want to move in. It’s decorated so beautifully with gold plated cutlery, crystal glasses and palm wallpaper. The menu is completely plant based and is so scrumptious it would convert any carnivore. We had the spring rolls, the mushroom pizza and the pea fritter salad, which certainly filled us up.
PURA VIDA: This place was a go-to most mornings, a healthy oasis amongst the American fast food and diners. They have little tonics shots of goodness which are always good to have while you wait for your meal. Think acai bowls, serious smoothies, kombucha and our fav go-to, avo on toast. A place in paradise that believes health is happiness!
DIEZ Y SIES: The Mexican restaurant is located in the Shore Club Hotel so of course we ate here. It is your traditional Mexican menu with a renegade take on classic cuisine. The best part about going to a Mexican joint it getting the guacamole and corn chips as a starter. They were devoured in no time, before we all tucked into some delicious fish tacos.
LILIKOI: A beautiful organic café with cute mix-matched décor, passionate and friendly staff and a varied menu with unnecessary sugar, genetically modified food, and processed ingredients left out of their dishes. The have gluten-free quinoa waffles topped with coconut whip which was a hard one to pass up, but we needed some greens so went for a green nourishing bowl packed with nutrients. An enchanted little gem we would definitely go back to, to taste everything on the menu.
FIVE GUYS: When in America right, must eat burger. We went here after the end of our two days shooting and it felt so deserved! Hands down the best burger we have ever had in the USA. You order either a hamburger, cheeseburger or bacon burger and add all your own toppings, from cheese to pickles and everything in between. Handcut style chips were the real deal and we even washed it all down with countless refills of Coca-cola. It’s fast food at it’s finest.
BODEGA TAQUEIRA: What was once a tricked out taco food truck now has a permanent location quite literally inside a shop with both indoor and outdoor seating. Think easy street food with lots of different types of tacos to choose from, and of course lots of different types of hot sauce too! A fun, vibrant, loud and live music kind of vibe for a quick pit stop of tasty and authentic food.
WHAT TO DO
- Wander Wynwood Walls in the design district (over the bridge from South Beach) to marvel at the mural and artwork around every corner
- Walk along the boardwalk and admire all the different coloured lifeguard towers
- Visit the Confidante Hotel and rent their daybeds on the beach – open to the public and just the cutest pastel coloured umbrellas and daybeds with food and beverage service to your chair. A day well spent!
- Rent a jetski and whizz through the canals lusting over the expensive houses, probably owned by J.Lo and co
- Visit the Faena Hotel which is one of the most gorgeous places we have ever seen. A main feature is the Damien Hurst masterpiece in the centre of the property – it’s a 3 metre woolly mammoth skeleton coated in 24karat gold. A must see in the middle of the day as it sparkles in the sun. Also the bar there is every mermaids dream come true, the whole thing is covered in shells. Unfortunately, the pool and beach front daybeds are for hotel guests only, but it’s definitely worth it just to see the art piece
- Visit Espanola Way – this little street is filled with Spanish Colonial architecture and openair European streets with incredible Cuban restaurants. Walk along and enjoy people-watching, grabbing a coffee or staying a while for some lunch. It feels very romantic at night time with the restaurants buzzing under twinkling strings of lights between the palm trees
- Walk around the Art Deco area. Miami has the highest concentration of Art Deco buildings in the world with South Beach home to over 800 Art Deco sites. If you are even more intrigued you can book a walking tour to learn the history of the buildings. Everywhere we looked there was cute places to take photos in front of!
- And last but not least, try and time it so you can go to the Miami Swim Show. It’s so great to see all the swim designers show off their work on stage!
I hope my tips help you if you ever find yourself visiting Miami, Florida
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