Miami and the Florida Keys: A Girls’ Weekend Getaway Guide

Grab your girlfriends for some fun in the sun at these Miami hot spots, then pack up the rental car and drive south to explore outdoor and underwater sights in the Florida Keys.

Miami Beach's sultry, palm tree-lined shores are awash in neon-draped art deco architecture, sunbathers and enviable nightlife. Still, there's more to Magic City than meets the casual eye. Look beyond the turquoise waves and shimmering white high-rises of this waterfront wonderland to discover why Miami is considered an international hub for shopping, spa treatments and art. That trifecta makes it the perfect girls’ weekend getaway destination. After discovering the best of Miami, gather your girlfriends and pack up the rental car for an easy 70-mile drive south to explore the Florida Keys' outdoor and underwater sights.

Must-See Attractions

South Beach
Make a beeline for South Beach, also known as SoBe, and surround yourself with Miami's most iconic sights: sugar-white beaches lapped by sapphire waves and art deco buildings lined with pastel neon lights. Before hitting the sand, get your culture fix during a 90-minute guided Art Deco Walking Tour to learn about the architectural styles that have come to define this historic neighborhood. Later, let worries melt away with a decadent spa treatment at Lapis Spa in the historic Fontainebleau Hotel. Designed with you and your girlfriends in mind, treatments include the "girls just wanna have fun" and "best friends forever" packages. After dark, SoBe's glitz and glamour thrive. Trendy dresses and stilettos replace bikinis and flip-flops as the city's hottest nightclubs, like Bâoli, spring to life.

South Beach

Wynwood Arts District
Drive toward downtown Miami to experience the Wynwood Arts District, Miami's most eclectic and culturally important neighborhood. This one-time warehouse district today houses the city's chicest shopping, funkiest art galleries and trendiest restaurants and bars. Your first stop should be the Wynwood Walls, arguably the nation's most famous outdoor street art exhibition. Buy creative souvenirs at Wynwood Letterpress before grabbing locally roasted coffee at Panther, or margaritas and tacos at Coyo Taco. After refueling, stroll to the Design District shops, where you can window shop at designer stores, including Christian Louboutin and Hermès.

Little Havana
Miami's rich Cuban culture defines much of the city. Experience those Hispanic influences in full throttle with a stroll along Calle Ocho (8th Street), the main drag in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. Grab a strong Cuban coffee, known as a cafecito, from one of the to-go windows lining the street, then wander past colorful outdoor murals and elderly men playing dominoes in tiny Maximo Gomez Domino Park. When hunger strikes, drive two miles along 8th Street to Versailles, a landmark Cuban restaurant.

See Miami Like a Local

Coconut Grove
Miami locals have an understandable soft spot for Coconut Grove, a tiny enclave on Biscayne Bay and one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. Once a haven for Miami's hippies, artists and other “creatives,” the neighborhood's pedestrian-friendly town center now houses boutiques, art galleries, wine bars and sidewalk cafes, like Lulu, perfect for a ladies’ lunch with plenty of people watching. Stroll through CocoWalk outdoor mall or walk to Barnacle Historic State Park to explore the bayside home of one of the Grove's first 19th-century settlers. Pay a visit to Dinner Key Marina to ogle gleaming yachts and sailboats bobbing alongside the docks. Kayak and stand-up paddleboards are available to rent, and boating charters can also be booked there. Continue walking along the waterfront toward adjacent Grove Key Marina and Monty's Raw Bar, where you'll want to stop for a cold drink and – if the timing is right – $1 happy hour oysters.

Coconut Grove


Plan a Day Trip

The Florida Keys
You'd be remiss to leave Miami Beach without a visit to its sun-soaked neighbor, the Florida Keys. Key Largo, the first island in the Keys archipelago, is an easy 70-mile drive south along U.S. Highway 1 through Miami Beach and eventually over turquoise water. You and your girlfriends will get an outdoor and underwater fix at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The first undersea park in the United States, it encompasses 70 nautical square miles of coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove swamps. Rent a kayak and paddle around the mangroves or spend the afternoon searching for seashells on the beach.

Water-loving gals can book a snorkeling or scuba diving trip online, by phone or at the park's visitor center. After working up an appetite at Pennekamp, drive four miles southwest along Highway 1 to Bayside Grille, where you can chow down on fish dip and konch fritters while grooving to live music at sunset.

The Florida Keys


About the Author

Valerie Conners is a travel writer specializing in southeastern U.S. destinations. She’s contributed to Condé Nast Traveler, BBC Travel, Travel Channel and Frommer's travel guides.

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