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Sunset over the Miami Skyline

A view of the setting sun enhances Miami's beautiful skyline.

USATourist News Magazine

November 2008 - Miami Florida

In this issue:

Miami, Florida is one of the most happening cities in the United States. A metropolis with a great nightlife, beautiful beaches, a variety of cuisine and terrific weather, Miami guarantees a good time. The city, especially, the South Beach area, welcomes diversity and creativity with endless attractions, restaurants and shopping possibilities. Various tour companies provide ocean excursions and cruises while outdoor adventurers have their pick of activities: sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing or parasailing. Miami is the only U.S. city bordered by two national parks: Everglades and Biscayne.

Beach near Key Biscayne

This beach at Key Biscayne is just a small sample of the miles of sandy shore found in the Miami area.

Miles of sand

Miami's pretty ocean and beaches are one of the main reasons people travel to southern Florida. Each beach has its own "vibe" and atmosphere. Most stretches have an attractive family-friendly setting, some with picnic areas and grills. Some beaches are designated "gay or lesbian" such as South Beach between 8th Street and 12th Street, while Haulover Beach Park is the infamous clothing-optional, "Nude Beach".

More than just beaches

All ages can have fun at the 38-acre Miami Seaquarium. Visitors are constantly intrigued by sea lions, endangered sea turtles, manatees, dolphins and killer whales. Shows are presented throughout the day and several food ventures provide a variety of treats and meals.

The Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux was rebuilt from the stones originally built between 1133-1141 in Sacramenia, located in the Province of Segovia, Spain, and named the "Monastery of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels." After several transformations and ownerships William Randolph Hearst purchased the Cloisters and Monastery outbuildings in 1925 and it was eventually rebuilt into what it is today.

The Coral Castle is a well-known attraction built by the heartbroken Edward "Ed" Leedskalnin. As the story goes, the day before Ed was to marry the love of his life Agnes Scuffs broke his heart and canceled the wedding. Ed turned his grief into the Coral Castle by hauling, carving and sculpting over 1,100 tons of coral rock. The astounding thing is Ed was only 5 feet tall and weighed 100 pounds.

South Beach Art Deco

The bright Art Deco buildings on South Beach are brighten up the city sidewalks.

Located 35 miles south of Miami is the Fruit & Spice Park - 35-acres offering 500 varieties of rare fruits, herbs, spices and nuts. The park boasts 80 varieties of bananas, 40 varieties of grapes and 27 kinds of mangoes.

The 444-acre Deering Estate at Cutler is a comprehensive environmental, archeological and historical preserve. Visitors will enjoy taking guided nature tours, canoe rides, butterfly hikes, culinary and wine events, concerts, and classes.

The best way to see an alligator

When it's time to get take a break from the sand, Miami bursts with other fun attractions. Alligators are an important part of Southeast United States ecosystem, which includes Florida. Encountering an alligator or crocodile in the wild isn't the safest situation. If you plan on being out in alligator-infested areas - fishing or involved in other outdoor sports - be sure to learn more about these fascinating reptiles.

To see these local creatures up close, yet safely, the Everglades Alligator Farm is an ideal and fun setting. The privately owned farm is located at the edge of the Everglades and is a real working alligator farm offering a backdrop similar to what the early settlers experienced.

CocoWalk Shopping

The CocoWalk shopping center.

Sweet Shopping

Bring an extra suitcase when you visit Miami. This city is known for its shopping. Some of the malls and shopping areas include: CocoWalk in the heart of Coconut Grove, Miracle Mile (170 upscale shops and 40 restaurants), and The Dolphin Mall (over 200 stores and restaurants) while Miami Beach itself is teeming with shopping opportunities.

Miami Hotels and Hostels

One of Miami's attractive features is the unlimited lodging options which appeal to every type of budget. Upscale spas, art deco hotels, and resorts are plentiful as are moderately priced chain hotels. Find the perfect family destination and stay with Choice Hotels. You can earn up to $250 in free gas with Choice Hotels. Valid until November 30th, 2008.

Appealing beach houses, condos and boat rentals are also popular. Those who enjoy hostels won't be disappointed. Miami is one U.S. city with a wide selection, especially in the South Beach area. HostelBookers have a great range of Miami hostels for budget travellers from downtown to South Beach.

Miami is a year-round destination. If you plan to travel during the late summer, early autumn months be wary of the possibility of hurricanes. Some years hurricanes aren't an issue; other years they can be deadly. If you do travel during hurricane season to anywhere that is susceptible to these destructive storms, be sure to have a backup vacation plan. Fortunately, most airlines are compassionate when it comes to Mother Nature's hurricanes, so be sure to keep the airline's "800" number with you during your travels.

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Thank you for reading USATourist News Magazine. Next month we're taking you to an unexpected treasure Kansas City, Missouri.

Happy and safe travels!

Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair

All photos courtesy of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors © Miami CVB

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