Miami, Florida isn't called the "Magic City" for nothing. The famed location is most popularly known for the stunning area of Miami Beach, known simply as "The Beach" to locals.
Miami Beach is host to a variety of thrilling events, quirky people, and adventurous undertakings at all hours of the day. Falling into luxurious tourist traps at Miami Beach could quickly become costly.
However, there are ways to navigate the glitzy area with a budget that won't break your wallet. These are some of the fun, fascinating, and low-cost activities to try out on your next trip to Miami Beach.
Let's get started!
Adventure through the stunning Biscayne National Park
Are you eager to explore Miami's stunning undersea natural environment? Biscayne National Park offers plenty of opportunities to dive into Florida's landscape. Considering all of the natural beauty that this 172,971-acre park holds, it's surprising that admission to this park is 100% free.
The park consists of 95% water. While boat tours through the park can be expensive, there are plenty of cheap and free ways to enjoy Biscayne's attractive scenery. You're welcome to snorkel for free in the seagrasses near the shore, giving you a glimpse at the underwater ecosystem surrounding Biscayne.
You're also welcome to kayak or canoe across the water, with rentals starting at $25. Both beginner and experienced kayakers will enjoy the shallow spots not accessible by larger boats, such as Jones Lagoon and Hurricane Creek.
These spots are optimal places to spot jellyfish, stingrays, crabs, anemones, and other sea creatures. If you visit during winter months, you may even get to spot a manatee!
With a free trolley taking you right to the park, there's no excuse not to spend some time in this gorgeous nature reserve.
Explore the urban setting
Are you someone who adores the urban elements of cities? Miami Beach may offer natural scenery near the shore, yet the city is brimming with entertainment, nightlife, and family-friendly joints to give you an authentic look into the city life of Miami.
Sightseeing tours through some of the treasured neighborhoods surrounding Miami Beach will give you a taste of life in the Magic City. Nighttime and daytime bus/walking tours through historic locations such as Little Havana, Wynwood, and Coconut Grove (many starting around $30 per person), can expose you to the rich art, culture, and architecture in Miami Beach.
Are you bringing restless kiddos along?
Zoo Miami in South Miami Heights is a great place to take the family for an afternoon. You can see everything from Sumatran Tigers to Ring-tailed Lemurs, all for $20 per kid and $22 per adult.
The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is also certain to keep kids entertained with its interactive exhibits and educational aquarium. $30 per adult and $20 per kid isn't too bad for half a day's worth of learning and entertainment.
Walk through the Miami Beach Botanical Garden
Do you need some time to escape from the rush of urban Miami? Take a stroll through one of Miami Beach's most gorgeous locations, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. The gorgeous, green landscape is complete with fountains, flowers, and shade from the heat of the Miami sun.
Admission to the Botanical Garden is completely free. Based on designs by Burle Marx, a famous Brazilian architect, the gardens include an intricate design and stunning landscaping, down to the tall trees, artistic statues, and grassy lawn in the middle.
The gardens are an ideal place to escape from the busy streets of Miami Beach for a bit of tranquility on your trip. It's an underrated jewel of the Magic City but is a must-see for outdoorsy and nature-loving tourists.
Hit the streets of the Miami Design District
Are you someone who appreciates art, design, and immersing yourself in the culture of other cities? The Miami Design District is the perfect place to do all three. The artsy location includes a variety of museums and art installations to explore.
How can you get away with viewing fine art on a budget?
A number of museums in the district offer free admission. Many art museums across the country charge upward of $30 to attend, so the ability to get glimpses of unique and original art pieces without surrendering your savings is an awesome opportunity. Some of the museums and art shows offering free admission are the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, the de la Cruz Collection, and the Locust Projects.
What if you want to stick to the streets?
Miami's Wynwood will take your breath away. With funky murals around every corner, you can come face-to-face with some of the most stunning street art in the country.
A variety of art installations are also viewable throughout the streets of the Miami Design District. The city is brimming with interactive art pieces, such as Konstantin Grcic’s mesh-swing exhibit, Netscape.
You can also venture down to the Art Deco district for a day, which is rich with Art Deco architecture to marvel over on a self-tour. It's hard not to find an ideal vacation-selfie spot in the photogenic area.
Kick back on the beach
This might be fairly obvious, but why wouldn't you hit the sand while in Miami Beach? Still, not every beach in the area shares the same qualities. Are you looking to have a bit of fun, relax on the shore, or spend a carefree day with your family? Answering these questions can help you track down an optimal beach for your day by the shore.
What beach should you head to if you're up to socialize?
South Beach is the place to go if you're looking for a bit of fun. Beaches in the Southern area of Miami Beach are perfect for social creatures and tourists who enjoy the presence of other people.
If you're an extrovert who can feed off of the positive energy of crowds of locals, you'll enjoy hitting up beaches south of 5th Street. The southern beaches are a great place to surf, swim, play volleyball, and more.
What if you're looking for a little peace and quiet?
Since the South Beach area is most popular amongst partiers, surfers, rollerbladers, and every fun-loving tourist in between, it's not a great spot to search for tranquility.
Heading to beaches up north can help you avoid obnoxious, rowdy crowds and find a more peaceful setting on the shore. These beaches are also ideal for parents who want to keep up with their kiddos without fighting through a nutty crowd to do so.
That's a wrap!
A fun, adventurous trip to the Magic City doesn't have to drain your savings.
These great low-cost, cultural, urban, nature-based, and artistic activities can make your Miami Beach vacation a blast.
Do you know of any wallet-friendly activities to try out while vacationing in Miami Beach? Let's us know in the comments!