When you’re in Miami for 48 hours, you’re only limited by the amount of sleep you need to grab. This tropical city of long, crystalline beaches on the Atlantic Ocean can be a near-endless playground for outdoor sports on land and sea during the day—if you know where to look—and arguably the country’s rowdiest party town at night (apologies to New Orleans). The itinerary below gives a sampling of some Miami adventures.
There are two top-notch budget hotel choices in Miami—depending on whether you want to be slightly removed from the action in South Beach or smack-dab in the middle of it. The quieter option is the Circa 39, a magnificently updated 97-room art deco classic located in the heart of Miami Beach, across the street (the legendary Collins Avenue, that is) from the ocean (rates this time of year start at around $120 a night). The livelier choice is the hip Whitelaw Hotel, where the party scene in the lounge is just as chic as its mid-century Mad Men drinks and decor (rates start at $86).
Start the day surfcasting off the city’s largest undeveloped beachfront along 99-acre Haulover Park. King mackerel, flounder, and spotted sea trout are known to lurk the shallow waters here. The staff at Haulover Marine Center’s bait and tackle shop can give you guidance.
Spend the afternoon snorkeling and kayaking the long stretch of white sand that’s protected by 800-acre Crandon Park on Key Biscayne. Eco Adventures, operated by Miami-Dade Parks, leads under- and over-water naturalist expeditions for $70 per person.
A weekend evening in Miami requires two stops: the Little Havana area for dinner, and South Beach for drinks. Islas Canarias restaurant, a local institution for Cuban and Spanish fare for the past 30 years, deserves a visit for experiencing its simple, consistent, old-school excellence. Make sure to save room for cocktails and dessert afterward in South Beach. Your first stop before hitting the nightlife scene should be the century-old Joe’s Stone Crab, where customers can still enjoy the flavor of old-time Florida, as well as the best key lime pie in the South.
One way to work the poisons out of your system from Saturday-night hijinks is to take a yoga paddleboarding session at Cape Florida State Park with Stand Up Paddle Key Biscayne. Lessons, which include 15 minutes of SUP instruction and 15 minutes of warm-ups, are by reservation only and run $49 for 90 minutes.
In the afternoon, make the grand finale of your 48 hours in North Miami Beach a mountain bike ride on the ten miles of winding, rutted dirt trails in the pinewoods of 1,000-acre Oleta River State Park on Biscayne Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway. This YouTube video offers a preview. The Blue Moon Outdoor Center rents bikes, starting at $25 for 90 minutes, and offers a trail map on its website.