HOW TO SPEND 3 DAYS IN MIAMI
Are you thinking of visiting Miami, but aren’t sure where to start? I have good news – this 3-day Miami itinerary will show you all the best places to go – what you should see while visiting this exciting and fun city in south Florida which is one of the best cities to visit in the US.
Miami is not the capital of Florida, but it is the most well-known city in the state thanks to the many TV shows set here and the number of celebrities that like to visit South Beach. But you’ll also find parks, pools, and wetlands here, as well as many cultural and historic sites and this Miami itinerary will allow you to discover the city and you’ll also find useful travel tips.
So, whether you want to discover more of your own “backyard” or if you come from abroad – Miami surely is not boring and here is what to know before your 3 days in Miami.
This post was written by Rebecca (find out more about her below).
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 3-DAY MIAMI ITINERARY
So, here are some of the best things to do in Miami in 3 days, as well as travel tips to make your stay even better.
How to Get to Miami
There are two major airports to fly into in Miami: Miami International Airport (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL).
If you prefer a more economical mode of transportation, then you can also take the Amtrak train in or a Greyhound bus, among others.
If you’re driving (and do a Florida road trip) then you can either take the I-95, which has tolls but also runs along the coast, or the Florida Turnpike, which skips the tolls, but is more inland.
Weather in Miami
Most people winter in Florida because the temperature stays between 63ºF and 74ºF and thus it has become of the most popular places in winter in the US.
But if you want to enjoy the beaches, then the better time is summer. It ranges from 79ºF to 88ºF and is very humid and muggy, and you can expect rain at this time as well.
What to Pack for Your Miami Itinerary
The two things you definitely want on a trip to Miami is sunscreen and bug repellant, especially in the summer.
The sun is very strong here and you can burn easily. And because of the tropical climate, bugs are common, especially if you want to visit places like the Everglades.
Also, if you plan to club with the celebrities in South Beach, pack the appropriate nightclub attire.
Here is my packing list for a day at the beach.
Where to Stay in Miami for 3 Days
For a luxury hotel, try the Four Seasons Miami, which has beautiful bay views and is located close to South Beach. It is great for couples but of course also for solo travelers or families as well.
A mid-range hotel would be EB Hotel Miami Airport. This boutique hotel offers waterfalls and grottos in its Venetian-style pool and is close to attractions and shopping.
For budget travelers, try TownePlace Suites by Marriott, which is close to the airport, great for families, and includes breakfast.
How to Get Around Miami in 3 Days
If you’re thinking about convenience, then I would suggest getting around Miami by car. Many of the attractions are spread out and public transportation requires that you make multiple transfers.
That being said, you can definitely get around doing this 3-day itinerary in Miami by using the Metrobus, Metrorail, Metromover, and trolleys. This is cheaper and reliable, but just factor in the extra travel time between stops.
More Travel Tips For 3 Days in Miami
If you are coming to enjoy some of the famous Miami nightlife, just know that the clubs don’t really get going until after midnight. Some places that are open all night don’t even have the DJ on until 3am!
Many restaurants will include an automatic gratuity on your bill of 15-18%, but some may not mention it. So check your bill carefully before leaving your tip so that you aren’t double-tipping (unless you want to).
Miami has a very large Spanish-speaking population, so there may be times when you find a cab driver or vendor who speaks no English. Using “Spanglish” and hand gestures is totally acceptable and very common.
Parking is expensive in Miami, so look for lots in high-traffic areas that only charge a dollar an hour or a $20 flat fee for the day. But always check, because some areas have decent metered parking and that would be the cheaper option.
Miami parks and beaches have banned Styrofoam, so if you are grabbing a to-go to take for a picnic lunch, make sure it isn’t packed in a Styrofoam box – or you could get fined.
Avoid visiting in the first week of December because the city hosts an international art show that increases the price of plane tickets and sells out the hotels.
Miami is a pretty safe city, and you will find that most of the landmarks on this list keep you away from the more seedy or dangerous areas of the city. Just use common sense and caution when traveling alone or at night, and always lock your doors and keep possession close.
A PERFECT MIAMI 3-DAY ITINERARY
Here is how to spend 3 days in Miami….
Day 1 in Miami
For day 1 let’s start with this place.
The first stop on this 3-day Miami itinerary is Little Havana.
Just west of Miami’s downtown, this hub of Cuban culture, art, music, and food is a great way to start the day. Grab a cafecito (Cuban espresso) and wander the streets. Check out the historic Tower Theater, listen to some Latin music, and try some authentic Cuban cuisine. Visit Cubaocho for the art. This should take an hour or two.
History Miami Museum
If you’d like to know more about the history of Miami, then you should visit this museum which is about 3 miles from Little Havanna.
Besides having lots of exhibits and collections, you can also take part in public tours that include walking tours and boat tours. This could take you a few hours, but it’s a great way to explore Miami’s history and culture.
Built in 1896, this Roman Catholic church is the oldest in Miami and a 10-minute walk from the History Museum.
It’s also a registered Historic Place in the US. This is still an active church, so you can either attend a service or explore when there isn’t one going on. But do try to stop at this lovely church with its gorgeous architecture and art work. This will only take about an hour.
After visiting the church head to the Bayside Marketplace which is just a 10-minute walk. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything at the Bayside Marketplace, you should still come for the views.
This is an open-air market that is two stories tall and is surrounded by Biscayne Bay and the city marina. It’s also a huge shopping mecca and a favorite among visitors, so stop here to do some souvenir shopping, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the local artists and musicians. You can also book tours, if you prefer.
After lunch and some shopping, you can head to Wynwood Walls.
This outdoor exhibit is a collection of street art done by graffiti artists from all over the world on walls of galleries and restaurant. It’s a pretty interesting collection of urban art and you can stroll the area, stop for some jazz and a drink, and explore the various pieces in the Wynwood area. If you prefer a buggy street art tour, check out this tour.
Miami Children’s Museum
If you’re traveling with children, the Miami Children’s Museum is a great place to stop and let them unwind and have fun.
It’s a non-profit dedicated to learning through play and I’ve never met a kid who didn’t love to do hands-on experiments and activities like the ones found here.
Tip: If you purchased a Go Miami Pass, then the entrance is free.
To finish off your night, spend the evening exploring downtown Miami.
This vibrant city has lots to do at night. If you prefer a guided tour, you can take a Big Bus Miami Night Tour. There are also nighttime Fishing Tours and City Skyline Tours.
Or, if you prefer, you can just enjoy a nice dinner or head out for drinks. Either way, spend a little time wandering the downtown area and seeing the city lit up in the dark.
Day 2 in Miami
For day 2, I have following ideas for your itinerary.
For day 2 of this Miami itinerary, let’s take a boat tour of a strange and unique collection of houses, also known as Stiltsville.
This group of houses was built on stilts and sits about a mile out from the Florida coast. It’s actually pretty beautiful if you head out here in the morning, with the sun shining and the Atlantic Ocean in the background. Stiltsville is a fun and curious sight, so try to fit it into your Miami itinerary.
Cape Florida Lighthouse
This lighthouse was built in 1825 to guide ships as they approached the Florida Keys.
Located at the southern tip of Key Biscayne, you can explore the lighthouse and also enjoy the great views you get from this old building. It also has a lot of history attached to it, so be sure to check that out. And if you like, there are also bicycle, boat, and even aerial tours available for the lighthouse. This should take an hour or two.
Quite close to the lighthouse, you will find this two-mile stretch which was once a coconut plantation and is worth a visit.
It’s beautiful with its mangroves, dunes, and reef. If you are interested in water sports, you can kayak or stand-up paddleboard. And if you want to enjoy a picnic lunch, this is the perfect place. There are great views, tables, and even barbeques. This is a good spot for families, but also solo travelers and couples.
Since this day is all about beaches and outdoor activities, visit Hobie Beach which you will also find near Cramdon ark.
Hobie Beach has two things going for it: 1) it is a great spot for windsurfing on Biscayne Bay, as well as paddleboarding and kayaking, and 2) it is one of the few dog-friendly beaches in the Miami area.
So, if you are traveling with your fur baby and want to let them run leash-free in the sand, then Hobie Beach is the place. This is also great for outdoor sports lovers, with equipment rentals nearby. Spend a few hours relaxing here before heading to the next stop.
There are galleries, restaurants, and bars and clubs galore in this area of Miami.
Famous as a celebrity destination, you’ll see lots of glitz and lights here. For singles and couples, you can spend the evening dancing, enjoying local music and drinks, or just strolling and people-watching. If you plan on clubbing, dress to impress because standards are high at some of the more popular places.
But seeing South Beach is definitely a must when planning what to do in Miami in 3 days.
Espanola Way: This area of South Beach has beautiful architecture, restaurants and coffee shops, and lots of spots to stop and people-watch. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through Espanola before grabbing dinner at one of the unique eateries. This is known as a romantic spot, so perfect for traveling couples.
Tip: If you have a late night, don’t worry – some food places are open until as late as 5am!
Day 3 in Miami
For day 3 in Miami here are some other activities (away from the beaches).
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
For the last of our 3 days in Miami, we’ll start at the pretty Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
Built in 1914 by a local businessman, this estate is surrounded by formal gardens, sculptures, and grottos. It’s fun to explore the mansion and its lovely grounds, and it also teaches a little about the history and culture of the area. You can book a tour if you prefer seeing it with a guide. After an hour or two, you can head to the next destination.
Located a few miles from downtown, in Coral Gables, this public pool – the Venetian Pool – is one of the most popular places to visit when in Miami.
Built in 1924, it is a well-known swimming area with caves, coral rock formations, and waterfalls. Even though it’s public, there is a fee involved and an age limit. No one under 3 years of age is admitted, so be aware of this if you are traveling with young children.
This is a popular activity so make sure to visit in 3 days in Miami and after a relaxing visit to the pool, make your way to another outdoor destination.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Full of flowering trees, palms, and butterflies, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a serene and beautiful place to visit.
It’s also quite large so you may not be able to see all of the tropical plants and other collections that are here, but it is a nice stop when you are spending 3 days in Miami. This should take a couple of hours. Great for families, couples, and solo travelers.
This limestone sculpture garden – Coral Castle – is a really cool place to visit. Built by an eccentric businessman who carved each structure himself, you can explore the garden and see the beautiful pieces of art at your own pace.
It’s a bit of trek from the downtown area, but it’s worth an hour’s stop on your way to our next destination.
For your last stop on this 3-day Miami itinerary, head to the Everglades. This is one of the most famous parts of Florida and there are lots of options for how you’d like to see this wetland preserve.
Whether it’s hiking, diving, bird-watching, or taking pictures from the Shark Valley overlook, the Everglades is a vast and varied natural attraction. Taking a boat ride is probably one of the most popular things to do and I definitely suggest it.
This is a great way to end your trip to Miami, where you can enjoy the natural beauty and great scenery of this famous locale.
Day Trip: Key West
If you find some spare time and can compress your itinerary into two days, then I highly suggest spending one day on a day trip to Key West. This way you will see a lot in 3 days in Miami and make the most out of your trip.
The Florida Keys are beautiful and heading to Key West along Route 1 offers some of the best views of the trip. You’ll be crossing the ocean in between islands and at the end of the road is Key West – known for its laid-back style, friendly locals, and drinking establishments.
Enjoy a relaxing day in the keys if you can make time for a day trip. Check out tours to Key West here.
CONCLUSION: HOW TO CREATE A PERFECT MIAMI ITINERARY
I hope this 3-day Miami itinerary – though quite busy – has helped you figure out where to go in 3 days in Miami and the best things to do. This fun and exciting, as well as beautiful, city offers tons of choices to make your visit memorable, whether you are traveling as a couple, solo, or with family.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This post was written by Rebecca, who runs her own blog at The Journey at Home – where she writes about her life as a mother of 5 with everything that comes along with it. She lived in New York for a long time before she moved to Las Vegas. She also works as a freelancer for Arzo Travels.