How NOT to do Miami Beach (with a toddler)

We were recently in Miami just for one day. Well, not really even a whole day. We drove from Orlando to Miami and back in one day. In case you were wondering, this is not the way to do Miami. If any of you find yourself in Miami (or any busy beach) here is a list of what not to do:

  • Don’t try to do Miami in half a day. From what I saw, Miami seemed awesome. It is a beautiful city, but I only got a tiny little taste of it. I wish we had more time to spend there to actually enjoy the city. Ideally, I would like to stay in a hotel or resort within walking distance of the beach for at least a couple of nights. Then we could explore all the shops and parks along the beach.
  • Don’t try to do the beach in half an hour with a toddler. This may seem like common sense, especially to those of you who are experienced parents, but we are naive, relatively new parents. And we’re stupid. So, we went down to Miami for a Marlins’ game, and after the game we decided to go to the beach for half an hour or so with our toddler before driving back to Orlando. We didn’t even put our suits on because we just wanted to walk along the beach. When we were ready to leave my daughter was just getting started. She screamed like she was being murdered when we left. Not pleasant.

  • Don’t expect to get free parking. First of all, Miami Beach is PACKED on a weekend afternoon during Spring Break season. Maybe it’s always packed–I don’t know, but the parking is crazy on April weekends for sure. We drove around for a while (through outrageous traffic) looking for parking and finally settled on the only thing we could find–a $20 parking garage. Twenty dollars wouldn’t be so bad for all day at the beach, but for half an hour of walking down the beach, I felt ripped off. I recommend staying in a place near the beach so that you don’t have to worry about parking, or go early enough in the day to get a spot in one of the cheaper lots. If you do spend $20 on parking, stay longer than 30 minutes so that it’s worth it!
  • Don’t wear a maxi skirt and no swimsuit, especially when taking a toddler. The idea of walking along the beach with a nice breezy skirt seemed picturesque and romantic. This may have been true if I was accompanied only by my husband. With a toddler, though; it was a nightmare! She made a bee line right for the water and there was no stopping her. She was completely soaked within a couple of minutes, and so was the bottom half of my skirt. Plus it was covered in sand–very uncomfortable! Just plan on getting in the water and wear a swimsuit and take a towel or three.

  • Don’t take a stroller to the beach. Strollers do not roll in the sand. Again, this seems like common sense…but we tried it. People were all staring and laughing at us try to carry it through the sand.

Overall, I highly recommend going to Miami for a fun, beach-filled vacation. The city and the beach were gorgeous. The water wasn’t too cold, even in April. The waves were large compared to the gulf side of Florida, and the water was a beautiful turquoise color. Just don’t make the same mistakes that we did, and you will have a great time!

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