You'll never fall into the tourist traps when you travel with Frommer's. It's like having a friend show you around, taking you to the places locals like best. Our expert authors have already gone everywhere you might gothey've done the legwork for you, and they're not afraid to tell it like it is, saving you time and money. No other series offers candid reviews of so many hotels and restaurants in all price ranges. Every Frommer's Travel Guide is up-to-date, with exact prices for everything, dozens of color maps, and exciting coverage of sports, shopping, and nightlife. You'd be lost without us!
Completely updated every year (unlike most of the competition), Frommer's South Florida including Miami & the Keys 2002 is the only guide you'll need to discover the best of South Florida. Our author, a longtime resident, will show you the loveliest beaches, the hottest restaurants, the top shopping, and the most sizzling nightlife in Miami. You can take your pick from affordable art deco motels, retro resorts, or the trendiest boutique hotels in South Beach. Choose a Cuban cafe or a sleek sushi bar, a raucous stone crab feast or an elegant steakhouse.
We'll also take you down to the Keys, for fabulous snorkeling, diving, and deep-sea fishing, winding up in Key West, with its outrageous beach bars and nightclubs. The guide also includes the best of nearby Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, and West Palm Beach, and an excursion to the Everglades, for amazing bird watching and a look at one of the world's most unique ecosystems. You'll even get a free color fold-out map and an online directory that makes trip-planning a snap!
About the Author
About the Author Lesley Abravanel is a freelance journalist and a graduate of the University of Miami School of Communication. When she isn't combing South Florida for the latest hotels, restaurants, and attractions, she is on the lookout for vacationing celebrities, about whom she writes in her weekly columns, "Nocturnal Admissions," for miami.citysearch.com and "Velvet Underground," for the Miami Heral's weekly entertainment newspaper, The Street. She is also the Miami correspondent for Black Book Magazine.
Read an Excerpt
1 Frommer's Favorite South Florida Experiences
Driving along A1A: The oceanfront route that runs north up Miami Beach, through Sunny Isles and Hollywood into Fort Lauderdale, embodies the essence that is South Florida. From time-warped hotels steeped in Art Deco kitsch to multi-million-dollar modern high-rises, A1A is one of the most scenic, albeit heavily trafficked, roads in all of Florida. See chapter 7.
Sunset in Key West: You haven't seen the sun set properly until you've seen it in all its fiery glory at the southernmost point in the United States, at Mallory Square, in Key West. Brace yourself for a stellar solar performance in which this leading actress in the sky is always ready for her close-up. See chapter 11.
South Beach Nightlife: Leonardo DiCaprio spent a recent New Year's Eve at Tantra, a grass-floored restaurant/lounge in which Marrakesh meets Miami Beach. Madonna and Gwyneth spent theirs at 320 Lincoln Rd., where Studio 54 is resurrected in its full, glitzy glory. Best of all, these were not private parties. Where else can us ordinary folk brush elbows with-or spill Cosmopolitans on-Hollywood starlets, entertainment moguls, and living legends, but in one of South Beach's hot clubs, bars, and restaurants, many of which don't get going until the crack of dawn? See chapter 9.
Airboat Ride through the Outskirts of the Everglades: Unfettered by jet skis, cruise ships, and neon bikinis, the Everglades are Florida's outback, resplendent in its swampy nature, which is best explored via an airboat that can navigate its way through the most stubborn of sawgrass, providing you with an up-close and personal view of the land's inhabitants, from alligators and manatees to raccoon and Florida panther. See chapter 10.
Dining at Big Fish Restaurant on the Miami River: Some consider dining on the Miami River to be industrial chic; others consider it seedy in a Miami Vice sort of way. However you choose to look at it, by all means do look at it, as the sleepy Miami River is nestled below the sweeping downtown Miami skyline, reminding you that even though you're in a major metropolis, things in this often frenetic city are capable of slowing down to a more soothing pace. See chapter 6.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens: Built in 1916 as the winter home of industrialist James Deering, this Italian Renaissance-style manse on the water is the San Simeon, the Xanadu of Miami, featuring 34 rooms of antiques, art, and tapestries, 10 acres of Italian gardens, statues, and fountains, and a picture-perfect view of the skyline and Key Biscayne. See chapter 7.
Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House: You will wait on line at South Florida's landmark diner, but it's never dull as the cacophony of mostly northeastern U.S. accents will keep you entertained until you are seated in what seems to be an ancient vinyl booth, at which an octogenarian waitress will serve you corned beef sandwiches, brisket, or potato pancakes, and, if you're lucky, she may tell you about the time Sinatra and his Rat Pack came in way back when. See chapter 6.
Moonlight Concerts at the Barnacle State Historic Site: Once a month, on or near the full moon (except during July and August), the Barnacle State Historic site hosts a concert in the backyard of their charming 1908 bungalow built on 5 acres of waterfront property. Listeners are welcome to picnic and bask in this sublime setting for a mere $5. See chapter 7.
Midnight Snacking at Versailles: This iconoclastic, gaudy Cuban diner in the heart of Little Havana is humming with the buzz of old-timers reminiscing about Pre-Castro Cuba, local politicos trying to appease them, and a slew of detached people only there for the fantastically cheap, authentic Cuban fare. Much like its French namesake in whose image it's been literally mirrored, Miami's Versailles provides a palatial view of Miami's ever changing Cuban landscape. See chapter 6.
Watching the Cruise Ships Set Sail from South Pointe Park: Unless you're already on a boat, you can't get a better view of the monstrous cruise ships leaving the Port of Miami than from South Pointe Park, located at the Southern tip of South Beach. If you stare long enough, you will feel like you're moving, which is almost as much fun as being on board. See chapter 7.
Lunch at News Café on Ocean Drive: The quintessential South Beach experience, lunching at News Café is more of a spectator sport than a dining experience. What the Big Mac is to McDonald's, people watching is to News Café, whose Ocean Drive location is one of the best sidewalk spots from which to observe the wacky, colorful mix of pedestrians on parade. See chapter 6.
Relishing the View from Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area: You haven't truly seen South Florida until you've checked out the view from the southern point of Key Biscayne. Whether it's the turquoise water or the sight of Stiltsville-seven still-inhabited aquatic cabins dating back to the 1930s, perched smack in the middle of the Biscayne Channel-it may take a little coercing to get you to leave. See chapter 7.
Scuba Diving Off Jupiter Beach: In 1988, Jupiter lifeguard Peter Leo spotted an anchor and a cannon while on his routine morning swim. Turns out, they belonged to what is believed to be the shipwreck of a Spanish galleon dating back to the 16th or 17th century. Giving literal meaning to South Florida's Treasure and Gold coasts, this wreck is worth holding your breath for. See chapter 12.
Happy Hour at Mai Kai: Where Polynesia meets Fort Lauderdale, Mai Kai is the trippiest tiki hut this side of Tahiti, with its sarong-clad bartenders, a fiery hula show, and an exhaustive menu of frozen concoctions. See chapter 12.
Discovering your Inner Flipper at the Dolphin Research Center: Learn to communicate with and touch the mammals at the nonprofit Dolphin Research Center in Marathon Key, home to a school of approximately 15 dolphins. See chapter 11.
Eyeing the Estates on Palm Beach: The winter playground for the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous set, Palm Beach is lined with jaw-dropping palatial estates. While many of them are hidden behind towering shrubbery, head south on South County Road, where you will see some of the most opulent homes ever built. Make sure someone holds the steering wheel if you're driving, because you will do a double-take. See chapter 12.
Lounging Poolside at the Delano: In addition to tanning, the scene here is about striking a pose and pretending not to notice the others doing so. If you're staying at the Delano, and if you're savvy enough to score one of the luxe lounges, prepare to overhear some interesting conversations between the movers and shakers who bake here. See chapter 5.
Boating through the Intracoastal Waterway: The waterway that connects the natural bays, lagoons, and rivers along Florida's East Coast snakes around all the way from the Florida-Georgia Border to the port of Miami. A ride through the Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal provides a sublime view of million-dollar waterfront houses. See chapter 12.
Having a Postbeach Beer at Jimbo's on Key Biscayne: Who knew that a dive housed in a wooden shack in the mangroves of Virginia Key, serving beer from a cooler, would become one of Miami's best-kept local secrets? That is, until now. See chapter 6.
Salsa Lessons at Starfish: If the only salsa you're familiar with is the kind you put on your tacos, don't worry. Miami's most talented salsa dancers will teach you how to move your two left feet in the right direction at Starfish, the hottest salsa club in Miami. See chapter 9.
Table of Contents
List of Maps.
What's New in South Florida.
1. The Best of South Florida.
2. Planning a Trip to South Florida.
3. For Foreign Visitors.
4. Getting to Know Miami.
5. Miami Accommodations.
6. Miami Dining.
7. What to See & Do in Miami.
8. Miami Shopping.
9. Miami After Dark.
10. South Florida Side Trips: The Everglades & Biscayne National Park.
11. The Keys.
12. The Gold Coast: Hallandale to the Palm Beaches.
13. The Treasure Coast: Stuart to Sebastian.