Miami with kids has mixed reviews for us. Tim hated the traffic and was getting PTSD from when we lived in LA. While I LOVED the hip restaurants and city vibe. Miami isn’t a place I’d recommend on a budget (which we are on) but if you’re looking for a vacation destination for a long weekend or week and have some cash to burn there’s definitely plenty to do.
I found two great articles with a list of family friendly things to do in the Miami area and that’s what we used to plan our stay:
Unfortunately for us, the weather wasn’t that good with rain on and off for most of our stay. This was also another place where a lot of fun water parks and family friendly beaches are seasonal and were closed while we were there (early December). So I’d recommend visiting Miami during the warmer months so you are able to experience all the city has to offer.
We camped at C.B. Smith Park which was a few miles north of Miami. Next to the campground is an epic water park/ splash pad but it was unfortunately closed for the season while we were there. However, it had a good playground that was walking and biking distance. One day there was a family concert in the park and we had a lot of fun dancing with E and getting popsicles from a food truck.
The highlight of the trip for me was Little Havana. The vibe is so fun with the traditional Cuban feel. We started our day at La Colada Gourmet for a traditional Cuban coffee. We had a Capablanca and a Havana Vieja. The owner recommended we eat lunch at Old’s Havana Cuban Bar & Cocina. We asked to sit in the back where there is a semi-outside patio. It was much more family friendly back there than the sit down restaurant vibe in the front. We shared the Vaca Frita and the Ropa Vieja. YUM!!!!
Matheson Hammock Park
We did get one beach day in at Matheson Hammock Park and although it was breezy we still had a great time. There’s a little man made beach cove that doesn’t have any waves and is shallow – perfect for little ones. Tim and I were able to sit back and relax while E played with her sand toys and filled up her watering can. The drive into Matheson is gorgeous with these beautiful huge oak trees.
Downtown “City Center” Miami
We went to visit one of Tim’s friends at the SLS hotel in downtown Miami and use the pool. E loved it. We actually went right through and to the pool and no one stopped us. There are bathrooms you can change in by the pool area. So you could actually probably use the pool even if you’re not a guest. The main strip has a ton of restaurants and we were hoping E would fall asleep in her stroller for a date night but no luck. However, if you’re little sleeps in their stroller a day at the pool and then heading to a cafe for some drinks and food would be a nice way to spend the day. The beach is also right there.
Since E refused to sleep, we had to head back to our campsite but we stopped at a famous BBQ food truck for our dinner to go. It’s called Smokey Trails BBQ and it’s in a random parking lot but if you happen to be in the area it’s worth the stop, it was delicious!
Sawgrass Recreational Park
The next day, we took a day trip to Sawgrass Recreation Park. I have mixed thoughts about this. The airboat was super loud and the alligators get really close. Some kids around 5 were really excited and started waving their arms and our captain started panicking. Apparently, the alligator can mistake you for a bird and hop on the boat. Also, the air boat is extremely loud. They give everyone a set of ear plugs but of course that was a no go with E. So I just had my hands clamped over her ears the whole time. So I don’t think this was a good decision with a toddler but probably kids 4 and up would enjoy it more. Parents, you can buy beer in the gift shop to drink during the boat tour. Afterwards, they have a bit of a “zoo” set up and photo opps with baby alligators.
Places that were on our list to see but we didn’t get a chance to go to:
The Wynwood Walls (For the ‘gram)