We love Miami. It’s a place to relax, ride, swim, and sip your way through some of the most thrilling experiences in the world. Check out these, our top five favourite Miami experiences and you’re sure to be bragging about them for the rest of your life.
A stay at The Villa by Barton G
We think it’s something of an artistic wonder: you can walk in the footsteps of the late design icon Gianni Versace in the historic home he spent years renovating to perfection, lounging in exquisitely designed bedrooms and by the breathtaking Thousand Mosaic Pool. And if you fail to be impressed by that, we also love the critically acclaimed Dining Room – we always order the Truffled Asparagus Salad and a Duo of Beef Rossini.
1116 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, +1 305 586 8003, www.thevillabybartong.com.
For us, there’s nothing like velocity for excitement, and this 55ft power catamaran, running at speeds up to 50mph, delivers exactly that. The Thriller tour is a 45min spin that takes in the bay, Downtown, Biscayne Key and even jets into the Atlantic – our ultimate sightseeing experience – and all while a 1000 watt stereo blasts out fabulous tunes. This is one adrenaline-fuelled trip you won’t forget in a hurry.
401 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, +1 305 371 3278, www.thrillermiami.com. Reserve tours daily at 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm, 3.30pm, 5pm (plus 6.30 in spring and autumn and 8pm summer).
A dolphin encounter at the Miami Seaquarium
The Miami Seaquarium dolphin programme is superb for families, providing shallow water and deep water encounters with the mammals. We love the fact you can interact with the dolphins, from handshakes and friendly kisses to rubs and training techniques. But our favourite is the deep-water encounter, when they’ll even show you their strength by dragging you along in a “dorsal pull”. A 15min class and a ‘personal dolphin photo opportunity’ are included.
4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, +1 305 361 5705, www.miamiseaquarium.com. Open: daily, 9.30am–6pm.
Wade through the swamp with Dragonfly Expeditions
On the private guided Everglades Backwater Tour, you get deep into the muck of the backcountry with experienced field biologists, explore the ecosystem and spy on wildlife (including, perhaps, an alligator). We always pack our walking sticks and aquasocks, because when they say wet, they mean it. This eco-tour gets you closer to the Florida landscape that you’d ever have thought possible – and there’s a three-course lunch included to keep you sustained through the day.
1825 Ponce de Leon Blvd #369, Coral Gables, +1 305 774 9031, www.dragonflyexpeditions.com.
Take to the air with Miami Beach Parasail
Get a new perspective on the world – from 600 ft up – in a single or tandem parasail, as you soar over schools of fish, sea turtles, manta rays and rare manatees in an exhilarating joyride over the turquoise blue Atlantic Ocean of South Beach. As well as the Ocean, you’ll experience superb views of Miami Beach Marina, Biscayne Bay and the world famous Ocean Drive.
16th St and Collins Ave (on beach behind Loews Hotel), Miami Beach, +1 305 266 4144, www.miamibeachparasail.com.
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About the author: KatieKatie Manning
Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning