The crown jewel of Southern Florida is most certainly Miami. With more than 2 million people living in Miami-Dade County, the area effortlessly blends sunshine-seeking retirees with young, fun-loving residents.
Miami is home to the largest Cuban community outside of Cuba. With the coast of Florida just 90 miles away from the Cuban shores, Miami is the nearest port for those looking to emigrate. The multicultural population and location of the city means that international business and trade drive the local economy.
Mention Miami, and most will imagine the art deco clubs and hotels along Ocean Drive in South Beach. Sure, there are neon-studded clubs that stay open until 5 a.m., however South Beach (SoBe) is much more than a stretch of road for tourists. A thriving arts scene, world-class restaurants, high-end shopping and spas are all within reach. Stepping out of the shadows of coastal palm trees and high-rises, visitors and locals tend to forget that Miami is surrounded by national parks. Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park allow visitors to experience the natural ecosystem of Florida, ranging from lush green forests to alligator-filled swamps. A wide variety of wildlife native to Florida still call the parks home.
Within the city limits, take advantage of the film history of Miami by taking a guided tour of famous film spots. Famous movies from all genres, such as Scarface, There’s Something About Mary, The Birdcage and Goldfinger all call Miami a co-star. Every year in early March, the city hosts the greatest Carnaval scene north of Rio De Janeiro. The 10-day festival culminates in a nearly 24-hour celebration in the Calle Ocho neighborhood, known to all as the heart of Little Havana and the domestic Cuban community. The Florida Keys are just a few hours down Highway 1. Bridged highways connect the various islands of The Keys to Miami, extending all the way to Duval Street and mile marker “1” in Key West. Stop off for a bushel of fresh Key limes and gaze along the same coast that inspired Ernest Hemingway during his stay between 1931 and 1939.