Miami beach lifeguard hut
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Miami beach lifeguard hut

© Creative Commons / (le)doo

Miami travel guide

Famed for its tropical climate, Hispanic culture and Art Deco seafront, Miami has the glamour to rival LA but offsets any glitz with a gritty urban edge.

Dominated by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and its tended golden beaches, the city may seem brash at first but it has much more to offer than bling, beach babes and celebrity fans.

Its eclectic architecture should present clues as to its cultural and historical depth. Just look at its diverse neighbourhoods: Downtown Miami is a place of gleaming glass and steel skyscrapers, while Little Havana is home to a thriving Cuban community. The salty Port of Miami, meanwhile, is unlike either. This is where cargo ships and Navy destroyers moor alongside gargantuan cruise ships en route to the Caribbean.

Miami Beach is famous for its glittering strip of vast hotels, palatial homes and glamorous locals. The surrounding showy neighbourhood of South Beach is instantly recognisable with its candy-coloured buildings set against a pure South Florida backdrop of cloudless skies, dazzling blue ocean, pale sandy beaches and swaying palm trees.

The city is swiftly becoming a hub for culture too. The Wynwood Arts District and Miami Design District are a case in point, as is the Biscayne Bay museum quarter. Frank Gehry’s New World Center is a spectacular example of post-modernist design, while the wonderful Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is alluring on a smaller scale.

There is no shortage of things to do outside Miami either. If the beaches lose their appeal, head west to the Everglades, a sprawling flooded wetland which is home to thousands of wild alligators.

Further up the coast is Fort Lauderdale, with its Venice-inspired canals and vast cruise terminal, while to the south is the wonderfully bohemian Florida Keys (or The Conch Republic as it is known to some independently-minded locals). So, whether you are exploring the city centre or relaxing in the sunny suburbs, Miami is one city that never gets boring.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.