Family vacations in Miami can be rewarding experiences or absolute disasters — it all depends on pre-trip homework. To make planning easier, we've done all the preparation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on traveling with children, here are recommended attractions for those planning Miami family vacations.
Miami Beach is one of the best beaches in the United States...and perhaps the world. It's also a stylish place to relax and watch cruise ships depart the Port of Miami. Public access is available all along Ocean Drive on the south end and Collins Avenue on the north end. Be sure to check out the Art Deco lifeguard huts, hiking and rollerblading trails and picnic tables. Restrooms and showers are conveniently located throughout the entrance of the beach.
Address: Ocean Dr. & 5th St., Miami Beach, FL 33139
Hours: Open 24 hours a day
Miami Children's Museum
Located on Watson Island in Biscayne Bay between Miami and Miami Beach, the Miami Children's Museum offers 14 galleries of educational entertainment. Highlights include a two-story sand castle appropriately called Castle of Dreams, and Pet Central, a fun way to learn about caring for pets. Children will also love Meet Miami, a look at the city's many different cultures.
Address: 980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, FL 33132
Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Price: General admission, $15; Florida residents, $12; Miami residents, $7.50; Infants under 1 year old, free
Vizcaya Museum And Gardens
Once the home and estate of businessman James Deering and his family, the palatial Villa Vizcaya is now open to visitors. The early 20th-century Italian Renaissance mansion has more than 70 rooms filled with European decorative arts and other antique furnishings. Finish off the tour with a stroll through the 50 acres of grounds and gardens surrounding the estate.
Address: 3251 S. Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33129
Hours: Open Wednesday through Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Price: Adults, $15; seniors ages 62 and older and students, $10; children ages 6-12, $6; children ages 5 and younger, free; Miami-Dade County adult residents, $10; Miami-Dade County children ages 6-12, $5
Miami Science Museum
Located on the Miami Metrorail system, across from Vizcaya, the Miami Science Museum features an array of interactive exhibits. Among these are the Stingray Sea Lab, a 3,000-gallon tank that gives visitors a chance to touch a stingray, and Earth from Space, an exhibit that displays Earth as seen from space.
Address: 3280 S. Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33129
Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Price: Adults, $14.95; seniors ages 62 and older and students, $10.95; children ages 2 and younger, free; Miami-Dade County adult residents, $12.70; Miami-Dade County seniors and students, $9.30
South Beach, the area that encompasses the southernmost 23 blocks of Miami Beach, is a mecca for those seeking sun, sand, great restaurants and the eclectic mixture of the cultures that make Miami unique. The outdoor Lincoln Road Mall promenade is a popular spot to people-watch while having a bite to eat. South Beach is also home to the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world, making this a prime location for all family vacations in Miami.
Address: The area of Miami Beach south of 15th Street and east of Washington Avenue
Phone: Art Deco Preservation League: 305-672-2014; Tourism Hotline: 305-673-7400
Hours: There's something going on in South Beach 24 hours a day.
The 38-acre Miami Seaquarium is located on Biscayne Bay between downtown Miami and Miami Beach. The facility showcases Florida marine life with animal displays and live animal shows. Visitors who make reservations in a advance can even interact and swim with the dolphins. One of the earliest marine museums in the United States, it was the site of the 1960s television show, "Flipper."
Address: 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149
Hours: Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Price: Adults, $38.95; children ages 3-9, $28.95; children ages 2 and younger, free; $2 discount for online ticket purchases
Everglades National Park
The expansive Everglades National Park — encompassing more than 1.5 million acres — protects the lower 25 percent of the Florida Everglades. This subtropical ecosystem is home to a variety of birds and wildlife, many of them endangered. More than 350 species of birds, 50 species of mammals and 40 species of marine life call this park home. Visitors can enjoy hiking the many miles of trails, go fishing or take an airboat tour and spot alligators.
Address: 815 Oyster Bar Lane, Everglades City, FL 34137
Hours: Mid-April to mid-November: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Mid-November to mid-April: 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m.
Price: Private vehicle, $10; Pedestrian/ Cyclist, $5
What are your favorite vacation spots in Miami?
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