Miami Beach Travel Tips
Summary: where you stay can greatly impact your cab and food bills
I've had the pleasure of visiting Miami Beach on three occasions, staying at the charming Blue Moon, the forgettable Deauville Beach Resort, and most recently, the construction-laden Eden Roc Resort. I definitely want to return, and would like to make my next stay at the Loews Hotel. Britney Spears reportedly resided at the Loews while we were in town, no doubt eschewing the company of her soon-to-be-ex in favor of the ubiquitous business convention goers.
South Beach includes everything south of 23rd street, and is the area that the beach is most widely known for. North Beach has it's own charm, but I found my stay there costly in hidden ways. Although I did manage to jog the four miles from the Eden Roc (49th Street) to South Beach, I still took five cab rides to/from South Beach over three days. That added up to about $50 in cab fees. Plus, there were very few dining options around the Eden Roc - none of them particularly reasonable price-wise. South Beach has infinitely more dining options, plus a myriad of low-cost eateries such as Subway, Miami Subs, etc. I likely would have been able to save an extra $50 or so on food had we stayed in South Beach. That's $100 I could have blown any number of ways (a visitor to Miami Beach and his cash are easily parted).
Cab rides to/from the Miami airport to Miami Beach were a flat $32 + tip. There was absolutely no problem catching a cab from the airport, and most any hotel can flag one for you. You can theoretically hail a cab from the street, but I never had any luck. Your best bet is to duck in the nearest hotel and hail a cab from there. In fact, we ended up hitching a ride at the Ritz-Carlton after unsuccessfully trying to catch one on the street.
Miami Beach is unquestionably growing on me. It doesn't quite hold the same lure as New York, Los Angeles, or Vegas. But it's a short plane ride from Raleigh, and there is much to love: beautiful people, to-die-for weather, interesting cuisine, plentiful shopping, and so much more. Plus, you never know if that Hummer with the tinted windows holds Jennifer Lopez or a Columbian drug lord. Either way, an adventure awaits you around every corner!