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Featured Destination

Albuquerque, NM

Among many other things, the American Southwest is famous for its adventure, its spirit of fun, and its beautiful scenery. Nowhere do all these things come together like on a family vacation in Albuquerque, New Mexico...

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Travel Tips

  • Travel Safety -- From keeping your cash safe to avoiding slipping on rocks!
  • Health Tips -- Things to think about and how to get help when you need it.
  • Age Groups -- Tips for traveling with babies, toddlers, teens, and grandparents
  • Vacation Planning Tips -- Great family-friendly ideas for trip planning, packing and travel.
  • Pet Friendly Travel -- Search for pet friendly accommodations where ever you are going.
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Miami Beach, FL

Miamiís appeal lies in its unpredictability; even locals can never quite pin down what cultural turn Miami is going to take. As a significant homeport to many Caribbean cultures, Miami is constantly shifting and changing. The constant influx of people from all over the world make Miami a unique North American city in its complete lack of North American identity: here Spanish is as common as English, and current status is as important as the past. The most prominent aspect of Miamiís identity, however, is its affection for hedonism and worldly delights. The threading, pulsing music of nightclubs can be heard all over Miami once the sun sets. Families traveling to Miami are often wary of this deserved reputation. However, it would be a shame to miss out on a Miami family vacation. Miami is, above all, fun. All kinds of funóincluding family funóare readily available in Miami. Donít make the mistake of leaving Miami off your potential family vacation list because you feel that it is an adult playground. Miami has something for everyone.

South Beach

Given Miamiís diverse and multicultural population, the different Miami neighborhoods all represent some part of Miamiís culture. Each neighborhood can feel like a different city. South Beach, or the Art Deco District, is perhaps the most photographed part of Miami. The architectural styles that line the South Beach streets are bright and bubbly: taking a stroll through South Beach feels like you are walking on a Hollywood movie set. Most Miami visitors park themselves at South Beach, and use it as a jumping off point to discover the rest of the city. South beach hotels tend to be expensive, but deals can be found if you are aggressive (or lucky) enough. Parking can be a nightmare in South Beach, so bicycles are the preferred method of transportation. Rent a car for the day if you are heading out to discover other parts of Miami, but donít be afraid to let a bike and your feet be the way you discover South Beach. While you are in South Beach, make sure you walk through The Carylyle Hotel and The National Hotel, both architectural landmarks and frequented by the glitterati. Ocean Boulevard is the dominant South Beach street, and is the access road for the beach in South Beach. South Beach is an international beach, where European styles of swimsuits are more normal than the more conservative American; and where luxury abounds. Families might find cabana rentals and the prestigious ocean clubs a little expensive, but just grabbing an umbrella and a big towel is always a great way to enjoy South beach. The water is warm, the people are friendly, and everyone enjoys themselves on South Beach.

Miami Beach

Miami Beach was once the biggest draw for Miami tourists. Sometimes called the ďAmerican RivieraĒ, Miami Beach is luxurious, still illustrious and yes, sometimes crowded. Miami as a whole isnít too concerned with discovering its past: the present is much more fun and the future is much more exciting. However, the golden era of Miami Beach, starting around the 1950ís, is still seen on the Miami Beach streets. Like South Beach, the architectural styles of the hotels are modern day, open-air museum marvels: The Fountainebleau resort and the Eden Roc are well worth visits. Miami Beach is divided into two portions: the quiet and residential section is a great way to escape the crowds and check out million dollar homes. The other half of Miami Beach, starting at around 65th street, is the hotel and restaurant hub of Miami Beach. These hotels are often more affordable than the South Beach hotels, however as Miami Beach clambers its way back up the luxury and prestige ladder, the gap is closing. Restaurants here are unpretentious and fun, and the always entertaining and world-famous Miami Beach is great for people watching.

Sunny Isles

Sunny Isles is one of the newest Miami neighborhoods to become a tourist destination. Of all the Miami neighborhoods, Sunny Isles is the most family friendly, with both luxury and affordable hotels. Sunny Isles Beach is 2 Ĺ miles long and offers every conceivable water sport. Children love the Samson Oceanfront Park, which includes a play area. There is also shopping and dining that range from exclusive to affordable and fun. Sunny Isles is also home to the Aventura Mall, which is one of the busiest shopping centers in the United States. But the most significant aspect of Sunny Isles is the feeling that you have escaped the throngs of Miami and found a peaceful little family town. Sunny Isles is free of the thumping pulse that seems to dominate the rest of Miami.

Bal Harbour

Bal Habour is not the most family-friendly place in Miami. This is no slight against Bal Harbour; in fact, the elegance and sophistication of Bal Harbour are a hallmark of why it is such a popular Miami destination. Not that children are ignored entirely: the Miami Childrenís Museum hosts a Bal Harbour Kids Club that is popular and the beach is fun and accessible for all ages and abilities. But the defining aspect of Bal Harbourís personality is fashion, which dominates the streets of Bal Harbour. Elie Tahari, Armani, Prada and Gucci are just some of the shops that can be found in Bal Harbour. This may not make for perfect family shopping, however, the people watching in Bal Harbour is second to none. Itís also a great place to see the elegant side of Miami; the side that can get lost in the noise and energy of South Beach and Miami Beach.

Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove is a great Miami destination for families. At once full of the sophistication and flair of Bal Harbour, it also has the family leanings of Sunny Isles. Coconut Grove is reminiscent of modern European villages; where all roads lead to a beautiful harbor and the streets are tree-lined. Coconut Grove doesnít have a shut-off switch; at all hours of the day, Coconut Grove is bustling and busy. Coconut Grove is dominated by the Coco Walk, which has familiar chain restaurants, luxury shops and lots of family-friendly stuff in between. Biscayne Bay is a stunning harbor, and it is worth venturing out to see the tiny white sails that dot the blue horizon. Thereís no beach in Coconut Grove, but the general ease of island culture still dominates.

Coral Gables

Coral Gables is a Miami city that feels like an affluent Latin American suburb. Everything from the architecture to the restaurant offerings reflects Latin sensibilities. Families who go to Coral Gables enjoy the varied activities: The Venetian Pool is a spring water-fed, former rock quarry pool that includes palm trees and two waterfalls. Matheson Hammock Park provides outdoor hiking opportunities, and has a new 45 minute nature trail that takes you past dominant Miami vegetation and wildlife. The vintage trolleys are also popular, and are a great way to see everything Coral Gables offers. Coral Gables is a great mix of an elite Miami destination and a family-friendly, quirky town.

Little Havana

Little Havana does not have a beach; it does not have a luxury shopping mall. What Little Havana offers tourists is a picture of a real, Cuban city that just happens to be on United States soil. Spanish is the unofficial language of little Havana; in fact, if your Spanish is nonexistent or even rusty, you may have a hard time getting around. Cuban music, Cuban flavors and Cuban sensibilities abound in Little Havana. The influence of Latin American countries is obvious throughout Miami, but nowhere is it more blatant that in Little Havana. Tiny Cuban men smoke cigars and play dominoes on the streets; street vendors sell strong coffee in virtual shot glasses. There are, of course, many Cuban restaurants to try in Little Havana. Versailles is the most suggested and the most popular restaurant to try. The Cuban pork sandwiches will have you crowing with delight. Unpretentious and undeniably authentic, Little Havana will engage the whole family.

Miami on a Budget

Now offering private rooms, hostels are a great budget accommodation option for families. Itís not just the price of a room where you can save money; breakfast and internet access are usually included too. Hostels might also offer free city tours, games and movie rooms which will keep the kids entertained for a couple of hours. Feeding a family on holiday can get pricier three times a day, but families can use the hostel self-catering facilities to prepare a few meals and packed lunches. Try a Hostel in Miami

Miami Family Vacations

From beach bumming to experiencing an original taste of Latin Culture, Miami will thrill the whole family. Miami is a city that never stops; lights, music and a constant stream of chatter is the hallmark of this busy city. In Miami, you never quite know what youíre going to get. But you can bet that it will be entertaining and worth a lifetime of memories.


LINKS

Guest Editor: Carola Valdes

Wife and mother of two little ones, traveling is her familyís favorite pastime (as long as itís family-friendly and fun).

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Featured Property

Inn at Maple Crossing
Mentor, MN
United States

For a romantic get-away, enjoy the quaint, quiet ambience of our lovely country inn featuring a guest library, conference room, cozy sitting rooms, spacious lakeside porches, genteel recreation, warm hospitality, and a hearty country breakfast!

Inn at Maple Crossing

Contact Information

14709 Maple Inn Rd
Mentor, Minnesota  56736
United States
218-637-6600
General Manager:
Nancy and James Thomasson
Email:
maplexing@gvtel.com
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