A Botanical Miami Garden Getaway
Find us sipping something cold in the shady oasis of Florida's best garden patios and botanic gardens.
As far as travel desinations go, many people think that Miami shouldn’t be touched in the heat of summer, but think again. There’s delight to be found in the Magic City and it relies on a plant-focused approach—one that celebrates the city’s tropical gardens, herbal-inspired spas, juice cafes and foliage-filled patios.
If you’re looking for a quick summer trip, don’t dismiss this southernmost metropolis. But, forgo the towering high rises, glamorous beach boardwalks, or sunny shores of South Beach. Discover the joy of Florida’s tropics and find pleasure in slowing down with a good book and cold juice beneath a lush canopy of cool.
Here’s where to stay, eat, play and relax for a botanical Miami getaway that makes the most of long summer days and light summer nights.
Mayfair House & Garden
Plant yourself (ehem) in Coconut Grove, a walkable and historic neighborhood south of downtown where you’ll share the sidewalk with laid-back local Miamians. Book a room with a private garden patio and cooling outdoor shower at Mayfair House & Garden. The newly renovated hotel resuscitates a midcentury shell defined by the majestic plant-filled atrium at the heartbeat of the hotel. In fact, Flamingo’s editors spotted it early as one of Florida’s best new boutique hotels in our Spring/Summer Icons edition. If you decide not to stay, at least stop in for a cold beverage and some tunes at their Gaudi-esque rooftop bar, SipSip.
Delivering Miami glam in all the best ways, Faena Hotel in North Miami Beach is perhaps most recognizable for the ancient Banyan tree that shades guests at the hotel’s central bar—Tree of Life. Expertly landscaped and manicured, every corner of the Faena Hotel is a photo opportunity against leafy palms, hand-painted tiles and botanical patios.
Hidden within Miami’s high rises are secret gardens blooming with tropical flora. Don your moisture-wicking attire, pack a water bottle, and head out on a jungle exploration of this see-it-to-believe it manicured garden oasis.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens
Regularly featured on “World’s Best” lists of gardens, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens is 83 acres of manicured tropical plants that immerse visitors in the cool mist of cloud forests, the color of butterfly sanctuaries, and the shaded curves of sunken gardens. Arrive when the doors open at 10 a.m, and head straight for “Wings of the Tropics,” an enclosed greenhouse with exotic butterflies flittering around your head. Through September 4, experience the Dragoneer exhibit with the kids. The installation features large-scale dragons hiding throughout the gardens. Treat the family to Miami’s most creative way to cool off—the Dragonee’rs WaterQuest, which outfits garden visitors with a water blaster and water-inspired challenges as you explore the grounds.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
The opulent and European-inspired gardens of Vizcaya Museum & Gardens never disappoint. Come here early to avoid the crowds that flock here for picturesque photos amongst the Italian-influenced waterfront estate. Find shade and shelter next to trickling water features or cool off in the home’s air-conditioned garden courtyard.
Kampong National Tropical Botanic Gardens
A smaller tropical garden that often gets overlooked for its big brother, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens, Kampong Gardens in Coconut Grove is still an iconic spot. The former estate of botanical explorer Dr. David Fairchild himself, the conservation enclave offers self-guided or guided tours. Book ahead online and prepare to learn about rare tropical plants being cared for and studied on the grounds.
During Miami’s low summer season, you won’t fight the usual crowds and large groups. This is a good thing for snagging coveted seats at some of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants or exclusive garden patios.
For a Quick Artisanal Breakfast
Madruga Bakery — Coral Gables
Zak the Baker in Wynwood, may have put Miami on the map for artisanal baked goods. But Madruga Bakery offers the same style of high-quality, daily-baked sourdough breads in Coral Gables. Come here for breakfast and dine in, watching the locals dash in and out grabbing their daily bread.
For a Casual Lunch That Won’t Weigh You Down
Love Life Cafe — Wynwood
This chill, hidden Wynwood cafe is just the place to bring that indecisive group searching for a restaurant everyone will love. There’s something on the menu for all diets at Love Life, and no dish compromises on flavor or creativity. The entirely plant-based menu, with staples like quesadillas, sushi, and pizza, doesn't scream it. No matter what you order, it won’t leave you feeling heavy or hot. Cool off indoors in the spacious dining room, or work from the breezy, mural-lined alleyway patio. Be sure to save room for the Guava Cheesecake.
For an Indulgent Dinner Made for Sharing
Los Félix - Coconut Grove
This small and intimate Michelin-starred restaurant in Coconut Grove celebrates maize. The Los Félix menu honors Milpa farming, "an ancestral tradition of cultivating the soil with awareness of the sacred connection between self and land." Come with friends who love to share plates. Order a natural wine for the table or opt for the pitcher of house sangria—a blend of rosé wine, vermouth, ginger liqueur and heaps of fresh fruit. Sit back and enjoy prime people-watching while grooving to their custom lounge-exotica playlist.
For a Sustainably-Sourced Meal
Mamey - Coral Gables
Chef Niven Patel may be best known for his Michelin-starred Indian restaurant, Ghee Indian Kitchen, but it’s his two other projects hiding modestly in Coral Gables—Mamey and Orno—that deserve a visit before they garner stars of their own and become impossibly hard to get into. Located on the ground floor of THesis Hotel, both restaurants are filled with plants and sun-soft lighting, setting the scene for the locally sourced menu that pulls directly from Chef Patel’s farm in Homestead, FL—Rancho Patel. Start with prosecco and Central Florida oysters at Orno, and walk down the hall to finish off your evening with a selection of shareable plates at Mamey. The menu changes with the seasons, but if you’re there in the summer don’t skip anything with mango and starfruit—Miami’s sweet summer bounty.
For Epic Garden Patio Vibes
Cecconi’s - Miami beach
Dine on Venetian-inspired food in this romantic tropical grotto within Soho Beach House. Elegant and relaxed, you’ll want to snap photos of the ambiance and the plates. The attention to romantic aesthetics is unmatched.
Shops at Merrick Park
Shops at Merrick Park is an open-air mall that features all the best brands and two major department stores—Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. A palm-tree-lined courtyard with restaurants and shaded benches makes taking a mid-shop break peaceful.
Bal Harbour Shops
Stroll the leafy promenades and peaceful koi ponds of this long-standing open-air luxury shopping experience. Exuding upscale midcentury character, Bal Harbour Shops is a premier destination all its own and a pleasure to peruse. Cool off beneath the palms with a tart frozen Greek yogurt from Aba, drizzled with olive oil and flakey sea salt.
August is Spa Month in Miami, which means there’s never a better time to scoop up deals on indulgent treatments.
Sana Skin Studio - Wynwood
This small facial studio offers natural, individualized treatments that leave you with a dewy glow that lasts all weekend.
Leaf Spa at Hotel AKA - Brickell
Located high above the city with sweeping views of the bay, Leaf Spa transports guests with tea-inspired treatments that harness the power of herbs and aromas to enhance treatments.
Tierra Santa Healing House - North Miami Beach
South-American treatments draw upon Pranic Healing and a large hammam to relax guests and rejuvenate their energy.
Floridians know (or at least they do now) that Miami is perhaps at its best in the summer when it slows down and luxuriates in the ease of the tropics. Try it for a quick getaway that’s refreshing and romantic and overflowing with that lush Florida magic we all love.
Where are your favorite garden escapes in Florida?