Headed to Miami with the Family? Here’s Everything You Should Do While You’re There.
This adventure-packed itinerary includes five-star meals, oceanfront parks and even our favorite putt-putt place.
Living in Miami these days means fielding the same question from old friends and relatives on the regular. They’re coming to town, and they need to know where to stay, what to eat and where to go.
Maybe a generation ago, this question typically came from partiers in town for the clubs or from foodies checking out a restaurant scene just on the verge of its present-day prominence. These days, though, it also comes from families seeking a weekend full of adventure well suited for the little ones. But that Michelin-starred restaurant everyone wants to get into might not be the best spot for booster seats, and the South Beach hotel with that raved-about cocktail lounge on the bottom floor isn’t exactly ideal when you have tykes in tow.
Which is why we’ve assembled this itinerary, a long weekend trip to Greater Miami and Miami Beach that’ll be just as magical for the kids. If you live in Miami, here’s how to reply to that old friend who’s arriving tomorrow, and if you’re coming to town, we’ve got three days covered for you—and the whole fam.
Friday: Beach It
The weekend begins, as every trip to Miami should, with a day on the sand, specifically here in South Pointe Park, which is far more than just a beach. The park stretches out over the southern end of South Beach with grassy and shady sections along the water offering panoramas of the Miami skyline and a parade of boats and cruise ships that pass through the inlet. There’s a pier to experience the breeze off the Atlantic, and then of course a wide stretch of beach that meets waves that range from bright jade to cerulean blue. After all that sun, head to Time Out Market, the Miami Beach outpost of the much-loved international food hall, which hosts booths from acclaimed local chefs. Kids can surely find a favorite among the smorgasbord, like chef Jorge Kauam's burger bar, Gutenburg, or creative cookies at The Blakery (we’re recommending the chocolate chips stuffed with brownie batter). Take advantage of Miami's signature endless sunshine at the new three-acre Canopy Park, a collection of green spaces, an outdoor gym and a children's playground. Once they're all tuckered out from an afternoon of tag, a treat is in order. Good luck settling on just one decadent dessert at Sugar Factory, the Ocean Drive confectionery and eatery that feels like a candy wonderland. When it's time to wind down, check in to Loews Miami Beach. Between the massive pool steps from the beach and the Loews Loves Kids program featuring an abundance of activities, you won't have to worry about keeping your kids busy while the sugar rush wears off. Dinner this first night is at Barton G, and while the luxe restaurant is known for its lavish tableside presentations, it’s also welcoming to kids, with a menu full of items like Mouse Trap Mac n Cheese and Laughing Bird Popcorn Shrimp.
Saturday: City Exploring
Before leaving the beach, head to 11th Street Diner for its comprehensive menu of egg dishes, brunch items and dozens of decadent milkshake flavors like marshmallow, Nutella or honey-cinnamon. Afterward it’s on to downtown, where a pair of neighboring museums offer hours of entertainment for the kids: the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science and the Miami Children’s Museum, which offers a Sensory Saturday once a month for families with disabilities. For lunch, head to the Brickell City Centre shopping area for Casa Tua Cucina, which is laid out like an Italian market where the kids can pick a table or set up at the pizza station to watch the pizzaiolos toss and twirl dough. Spend the afternoon at Jungle Island, known for its Treetop Trekking aerial adventure that brings visitors into the lush canopy over the Biscayne Bay island. After all that adventuring it’s time for some pampering at the Mandarin Oriental Miami resort, where children get a welcome gift, their own bathrobes and DVD players. Dinner isn’t far away, as the much-acclaimed Peruvian Nikkei restaurant La Mar is right downstairs and offers a kids menu that doubles as a coloring book telling a story about Peru and features dishes like chicken anticuchos. Finish off the night with a little mini golf competition at high-tech Puttshack in nearby Brickell.
Sunday: Fun Day
Leave downtown for Glass & Vine, a Coconut Grove brunch tradition, where kids can play on the nearby playground as parents feast on benedicts and French toast. Afterward, get another dose of the sun and sand at Crandon Park Beach, where hiking trails and wide-open spaces can keep children who don’t want to build sandcastles occupied. For lunch, head over to Flour & Weirdoughs, Key Biscayne’s truly unique little bakery, where picky eaters will relish in flaky croissants and madeleines while the more adventurous can take in items that explain the name of the place, like pork and plantain empanadas and danish with salmon and cream cheese. Before heading out for the night, check in to the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, where parents can get a signature 100-minute Coconut Nourishment treatment at the spa while children take in the immersive Ritz Kids programming. Then it’s off to King’s Dining & Entertainment at CityPlace Doral, where a restaurant pairs up with ten-pin bowling, pool, karaoke and an arcade. To end the night, head out to the beach behind the Ritz-Carlton to take in the ocean of stars twinkling above the Miami surf.
All photography courtesy of Greater Miami Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau