I'm going to South Beach and I'm as boring as Mitt Romney...
September 16, 2012 7:29 AM   Subscribe

So, I'm going to South Beach, FL for the first week of October. But I don't do nightclubs, don't drink much, and usually fall asleep by 11PM. You are of course thinking to yourself "this guy is crazy!" Crazy I may be, but I'm wondering what is there to do in south Florida that does not involve (1) nightclubs, (2) excessive drinking, (3) staying up very late.

I'll have a car.

Is a day trip to Key West from South Beach feasible?

Other ideas for things to do in the general area of South Beach?

Thanks for any and all suggestions.
posted by dfriedman to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I had a great time snorkeling off Key Largo. Not only did I see the coral reefs, but also a dolphin! So much fun, I did it twice.

Key West is doable. It's a long day (7 hours in the car round-trip), but worth it.
posted by Houstonian at 7:33 AM on September 16, 2012

October is hurricane season. Surfing class?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:49 AM on September 16, 2012

I went camping in Everglades National Park. Rented a canoe, saw alligators and manatees, roasted marshmallows by the campfire. It was one of the best times ever.

If you're interested in nature at all, there are many beautiful spots (state parks, nature preserves) in south Florida, which has an incredible amount of biodiversity, especially at the unique habitats where salt water and fresh water meet.

Also look up cultural events in Miami during your stay. There may be some interesting festivals or parades.
posted by crackingdes at 7:51 AM on September 16, 2012

If the water is reasonably calm, there's always deep-sea fishing. I was just in South Beach recently and a few of us did a half-day trip for bonito, so it was catch and release. We used kites to fly everyone's line out, which was a new one for me. If you're interested, I can dig up the name of the boat/crew we used.
posted by jquinby at 7:53 AM on September 16, 2012

Visit Vizcaya and take one of the docent tours. It's astonishing, and jam packed with stuff. The Fairchild Botanical Gardens are really fantastic, too.

Key West is pretty much under construction right now - they're re-doing North Roosevelt Boulevard, and it's a mess if you're unfamiliar with the island.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 8:00 AM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hollywood, just up the road from you, is a neat little beach town that has a boardwalk and farmer's market (yes, on the beach!)

Seconding the Everglades trip, even if it's one of those horrible jet boats with the highly-domesticated alligators following along.

Key West is a long drive, but a unique one if you haven't made it before. Stop at Alabama Jack's for conch fritters, and No Name Pub for smoked fish and key deer sighting. If you're not getting drunk on frozen daquiris, you might actually be able to enjoy the history.

There's lots of stuff to see further upstate but since you only have a week you probably don't want to spend it traveling on I-95.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:19 AM on September 16, 2012

Kayaking on the Biscane Bay is my favorite South Beach activity. There are tons of tiny islands to explore and views of the city are amazing. I always borrowed kayaks from friends when I lived in Florida, but I bet rentals are available.
posted by justjess at 8:20 AM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd devote an afternoon to finding either the best Cuban Sandwich or Paella in the area.

Of course, if you go to Key West, the best Cuban Sandwich is at the White St Laundromat. (yes, at a laundromat... the family who owns it also runs a sammmich shop out of it...)
posted by matty at 9:04 AM on September 16, 2012

You can enjoy the beach between about 2nd and 13th I think. South Beach has a beautiful beach. You could do the Art Deco walking tour. You could tour Vizcaya, a beautiful mansion and grounds. (http://www.vizcayamuseum.org.) You could wander on Lincoln Road, an outdoor mall with great people watching. I'd definitely go kayaking - I liked South Beach Kayak which is on Purdy Ave (http://m.yelp.com/biz/south-beach-kayak-miami-beach). You get a stunning view of the city and of the mansions on the islands near the Venetian Causeway. If you are there during a full moon I'd recommend their full moon tour which includes a barbecue on an uninhabited island. You could snorkel or dive in Key Largo. We liked a company called ScubaDo. They operate a small boat with few divers which is nice. (http://m.scuba-do.com/#home.) You could get Cuban food at a super touristy institution in the Cuban neighborhood called Calle Ocho (Versailles is the restaurant).

Key West is definitely worth a trip, but budget 4 hours each way for sure. And don't speed. The drive is gorgeous from Key Largo to Key West (about 3 hours).
posted by semacd at 9:09 AM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

There is a cool museum in the middle of south beach called the Wolfsonian. There are also several cool theater looking places right off Lincoln Rd. Or the Apple store. Apparently that's always a destination. Also Little Havana is across the bridge in Miami proper.

While you can drive all the way to Key West and back in one day, I would personally avoid it. One way a day is plenty enough to take in.

Anyways, I hope you have more money than I did when I was down there. It will help.
posted by Folk at 9:50 AM on September 16, 2012

The Wolfsonian is great, and I enjoyed the Bass Museum of Art very much as well. I was actually there for a conference and, not being a club goer or drinker myself, mostly walked around and admired the buildings and sat on the beach.
posted by PussKillian at 10:11 AM on September 16, 2012

Yoga on the beach! Just bring a towel or yoga mat. It's at 7am and 6pm. The beach is beautiful at that time, and everyone was really nice. I went when I was in Florida last year, and it was one of the highlights of my trip. We also went on this walking tour.It's also really nice to rent bikes from the bike share program.
posted by the twistinside at 10:38 AM on September 16, 2012

My wife and I went to South Beach for a week a couple of years ago (or, at least, that was where we started off), and we, too, don't do nightclubs, staying up late, or excessive drinking. Key West was a bust (its prime demographic is white, functioning alcoholics in their fifties and sixties who wear T-shirts that feature non-subtle references to penises; also, Key West has no beaches, seriously, none), but Key Largo was totally great—the aforementioned snorkeling was great—and the Everglades were amazing. We just spent days walking/canoeing through parks, encountering wild boars, alligators, and adding dozens of birds to each of our life lists. A co-worker took the same trip last month, followed my advice, did the same stuff, totally loved it. Recommended highly.
posted by waldo at 11:38 AM on September 16, 2012

you don't have to go all the way to key west to enjoy the keys - there's lots of great stuff to do in key largo. pennecamp park for snorkelling, there's a bird sanctuary, the evreglades...
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:40 PM on September 16, 2012

As someone who grew up in Key West, I can say that
(a) there are beaches, although I think the only one worth going to is at Ft. Zachary Taylor,
(b) the best Cuban mix (sandwich), in my opinion, is at 5 Brothers,
(c) construction on one side of the island isn't really a big deal
(d) you can definitely enjoy things like snorkeling and fishing elsewhere, but the rest of the Keys feels different than Key West--none of the same architecture or character, in my opinion.

That said, I now live in South Florida, and I usually don't drive down there unless I can spend at least one night. I supposed if you left South Beach at dawn (which would probably be beautiful in itself) and came back at the end of the day it would be worth the drive. Is spending a night down there an option? If you have a week, why not?

As for South Beach itself, I would second museums like the Wolfsonian and the Bass. I also really like the Miami Beach Cinematheque for independent and foreign movies. Books & Books on Lincoln Road is a pretty great bookstore. And since you'll have a car, the rest of south Florida is really available to you, so keep that in mind. Someone already mentioned Fairchild, which is one of my favorite places in all of south Florida. If you drive out to the Everglades, stop at Robert is Here for tropical fruit and milkshakes. Taqueria Morelia on the way out there makes great tacos and ceviche as well. In South Beach, I like La Sandwicherie for loaded sandwiches on a baguette, Sardinia for more upscale Italian, Puerto Sagua for Cuban, and Shake Shack for a burger. Looking at the Miami New Times will give you an idea of what's happening as far as entertainment.

I hope this helps. If you write back with more specifics, maybe we can help some more.
posted by 6and12 at 7:35 PM on September 26, 2012

« Older Bento newbie seeks sensei   |   Help me identify this drawer runner. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.