Six Hours in South Beach: A Miami Cruise Layover

Things to do on a Miami Cruise Layover | Top Ten Ways to Spend the Day

If you’re making a connection at Miami International Airport or taking a cruise at the Port of Miami and find you have a half day’s time to explore the city, we have ten perfect ways to enjoy a Miami day. Cruises out of the Port of Miami set sail in late afternoon and return at dawn’s early light leaving passengers a precious few hours to get a taste of Miami. If you’re wondering what to do in a very short time, we’ve put together a brief guide to touching down in the Magic City …

Fun for Foodies with culinary tours
Fun for Foodies with culinary tours
Fun for Foodies

South Florida is a melting pot of world cultures and one of our most valuable assets is delicious authentic cuisine. Miami Culinary Tours organizes daily trips to local restaurants where guests get to meet the chefs, taste the food and explore the local areas of interest along the way. Start with a morning stroll through the Art Deco District for a breakfast tour or join the South Beach food tour for lunch or dinner. Adult travelers can do a SoBe cocktail crawl or see the sights in the Wynwood Arts District or Historic Little Havana where the flavors of Latin America are revealed at five different restaurants. Miami Culinary Tours, 1000 Fifth Street, Miami Beach, 786.942.8856

Families in the Wild

If you’re traveling with kids and have a few hours to enjoy in Miami, why not take everyone on a tropical adventure at Jungle Island? Just 10 minutes away from the port or the plane, Jungle Island is an outdoor theme park filled with wild animals you can watch, pet and even feed. Open 365 days a year, this 18 acre garden is filled with winding walkways lined with exotic plants and trees that form a natural canopy. Kids of all ages can safely explore the habitats of colorful birds, friendly primates and slithery reptiles. Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami, 305.400.7000

Architecture & History Tours in the Art Deco District
Architecture & History Tours in the Art Deco District
Architecture & History

South Beach’s historic Art Deco District invites cruise passengers to discover the rich and vibrant designs that make our city one of the most photogenic locations on earth. Stop in to the Welcome Center at the very heart of Ocean Drive and let the friendly staff set you up with a walking tour of the area or simply send you to the perfect spot for lunch. A 90-minute guided tour sets off every day at 10:30am and Thursday evenings at 6:30pm. If you can’t get to South Beach in the morning, there are self-guided audio tours available in 4 different languages so you can set your own pace. Art Deco Welcome Center, 1001 Ocean Drive, South Beach, 305.672.2014

The Surfcomber Miami South Beach
The Surfcomber Miami South Beach
Sandy Feet

Miami Beach offers miles of golden surf along the Atlantic coastline which is just minutes away from the air and seaports. If you want to work on a golden tan or simply relax and unwind for half a day, the public beaches along Ocean Drive offer free showers and changing areas where all you need is a well-stocked beach bag. Unroll at towel or find quick access to rent a beach chair, an umbrella or even a jet ski! For a more pampering experience by the sea, check into a cabana at the Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel overlooking the swimming pool and beach. Sip signature cocktails on a padded lounger, enjoy the balmy breezes in the shade of a giant umbrella and have a refreshing snack at the Social Club Lounge. Surfcomber Hotel, 1717 Collins Avenue, South Beach, 305.604.1800

Boat & Bus Tours

Bayside Marketplace is an indoor/outdoor mall at the entrance to the Port of Miami where travelers can shop for last minute gifts, stop in for lunch or dinner or choose from a variety of tour buses and watercraft that navigate Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Open 7 days a week until late night, Bayside is home to the Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus that circles the city and lets you decide where you want to explore. Wander the Miami Marina and choose from a variety of small boats that cruise the city’s tropical waterways where you’ll see our dazzling skylines, celebrity mansions and playful wildlife. Bayside Marketplace, 401 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, 305.577.3344

Spend the day by the pool

Pampered & Posh

If you need a little time to relax and unwind before or after your cruise, look no further than the Four Seasons Hotel in Downtown Miami where a day pass to the tropical poolside sanctuary is an easy fix for the harried traveler. Located on the seventh floor of one of Miami’s most elegant hotels, the $25 pool pass includes plush towels, frozen fruit, the latest magazines and access to the swimming pool, the Jacuzzi and a wading pool for the kids. Private cabanas are also available for rent and include a cocktail for each adult guest plus mineral water and a platter of fresh fruit. Four Seasons Hotel, 1435 Brickell Avenue, Miami, 305.358.3535

The Sporting Life

Guys on the go need a place to relax where the beer flows freely and dozens of TVs show all their favorite sports. Look no further than a lounge chair at the Clevelander Hotel on South Beach’s Ocean Drive where the action takes place out by the pool and inside the lively Game On Sports Bar. Overnight guests can book a Day at the Beach Package which includes a room, two souvenir beach towels, sunscreen and bottled water plus a frozen Miami Vice Cocktail as soon as you arrive. Daytrippers can simply find the perfect barstool in front of a flat panel TV and order up something frosty to while away the day watching football, soccer or whatever team floats your boat. Clevelander Hotel, 1020 Ocean Drive, South Beach, 305.531.3953

Shop ’til You Drop

If you still need a few things for your vacation wardrobe or you’re on your way home and haven’t got presents for friends and family, a half day shopping adventure may be just what you need. Miami’s Dolphin Outlet Mall is moments away from the airport and offers shuttle bus service from the terminal and the Port of Miami area to help guests access over 240 value-oriented stores, restaurants and bars. Dad and the kids can spend the day at Dave & Busters playing video games or bowling at Strike Miami while Mom explores shops filled with clothes, accessories and shoes at deeply discounted prices seven days a week! Dolphin Mall, 11401 NW 12 Street, Miami, 305.365.7446

Elegant Design

Miami’s Design District is a creative destination where you’ll discover cutting edge fashion, interior design and fine dining. Located 10 minutes away from Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami, this elegant enclave will impress and inspire fans of life’s finer things. Start with a welcoming cocktail, brunch or a quick cup of coffee at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink or Crumb on Parchment bakeshop and then window shop at top art galleries, elegant home furnishing showrooms and haute fashion and luxury boutiques. The District is home to Cartier, Gucci, Pucci and Dior plus Prada, Vuitton and Marni. In the evening you’ll discover swank cocktail spots plus The Stage, a live performance lounge featuring Miami’s top talents. Miami Design District, 3841 NE Second Avenue, Miami, 305.722.7100

Everglades Adventures

The Florida Everglades are a massive national park where wild animals and tropical plants stretch as far as the eye can see. Hot and steamy in summertime, the Glades can be explored on foot, by boat and via guided tram tours that are fun for the entire family. The closest park entrance for Miami visitors is the Ernest Coe Visitor Center which is about an hour away from the air and sea ports and best accessed with a rental car. Open until 5pm 365 days a year, the center is not far from a series of popular walking trails. For families and guests with limited mobility, the Shark Valley Tram Tour is a guided two-hour ride through a 15 mile loop through the River of Grass where tropical birds and alligators are close enough to touch (but don’t do that). Bicycle rentals are also available.

Ernest Coe Visitor Center, 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, 305.242.7700
Shark Valley Visitor Center, 36000 SW Eighth Street, Miami, 305.221.8455