Miami was the last stop in my 6+ months research exchange trip to the United States. I must applaud myself for probably the longest term planning I’ve ever done , booking a ticket that goes to my target city – Tallahassee – through Boston, and returns from Miami, with a few days stop in each. Boston was visited in the spring – September, while Miami was saved for the winter return in March. It worked out brilliantly.
Luckily for me, I was also able to find and meet up with a wonderful friend who I haven’t seen since my early Taiwan years in 2006 (!). He was now living in Miami with his wife and he has generously hosted me and has kept me company with intense philosophical political debates that went on for hours. I was also lucky to meet one of my long lost Israeli friend who was trying a life in Miami as well as a charming couch-surfer who I took trekking around the Hong Kong hiking trails. Small world, isn’t it? I have been so fortunate.
So, sure, Miami has beaches, and I’ve visited a few, but having lived in Florida for over 6 months and having visited beaches far nicer than the overdeveloped beaches of Miami I was looking for something a bit different. And I found it…
Not too far away from my friend was a lovely ancient Spanish monastery dating back almost a millennia – not a small thing considering the USofA hasn’t seen European for that long. Yes, imported history – there’s something worth seeing…
If grandeur and wealth is what you seek, Miami has quite a few mansions for you to visit, many associated with the Deering family …
Also in that area, are some of the most impressive botanical gardens I’ve visited anywhere in the world – the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens:
- Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens : Miami
- Chapungu Art at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens : Miami
- Butterflies at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens : Miami
Further down south are a few weird local attractions, but the story behind the coral castle is probably the weirdest of them all :
If you have time for a daytrip, then the Everglades are an absolute must! :
I would suggest :
- Day 1 – Miami Beach area : visit a few beaches, and if perhaps if you’re into Jewish history go see the Holocaust Memorial and the Jewish Museum. If not, the Miami Science Museum and Lowe Art Museum aren’t far away, as well as a few nice parks, like Cradon Park or Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.
- Day 2 – See mansions and botanical gardens in southern Miami – Vizcaya Museum House Gardens , Charles Deering Estate , and the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens .
- Day 3 – Visit the Everglades! if you have time, make a stop at one of the odd attractions along the way.
If you have more time, there are wonderful little neighborhoods in Miami – like little Havana and deco district.
It was a wonderful end to a perfect research attachment in the United States. May there be many more to come…