- Sunbathe on South Beach, stroll down Ocean Drive and be wowed at the vibrant Wynwood Walls
- Meander through mangrove-fringed waters on kayak in Duck Key
- Watch nature’s sparkling sunset show at Mallory Square in Key West
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Leave London for sunny Miami on a direct morning flight. The journey time is around nine-and-a-half-hours so you’ll arrive in Miami in the late afternoon where your driver will meet you and transfer you, privately, to your hotel in SoBe. Just a stone’s throw from Miami Beach, you’ll have the early evening to get acquainted with your new coastal digs (we recommend starting at the rooftop pool) before bedding down between luxury linens.
THE MAGIC CITY
Miami’s biggest draw may be its year-round sun and pearly beaches, but we challenge you to resist the sun lounger for your first full day in the Magic City. Rise early to stretch your legs along South Beach before embarking on a day tour with a knowledgeable guide. Start at Ocean Drive where the endless parade of classic cars, art deco architecture and swaying palms will quickly get you up to speed on Miamian life. You’ll then be whisked off the beaten track to the green streets of Coconut Grove, Miami’s original and oldest neighbourhood. Stop for an iced coffee at one of its myriad bohemian cafes and admire its marina of sparkling sailing boats before continuing on to Little Havana. An evocative reminder of Miami’s Cuban influence, this neighbourhood is as atmospheric as it gets (think the cracking of dominoes and scent of burning cigars). It was famously put on the map by Al Pacino in the 1983 film, Scarface. After a quick lunch break, you’ll head back to the city’s Art Deco Historic District for a wander round Wynwood Walls’ collection of murals and paintings. Clear your camera roll as you stroll through the district’s 800 deco buildings festooned with tropical motifs and bold lines and stop by Wynwood’s Museum of Graffiti.
BEACHES AND BARS
From graffiti-filled streets to empty salt-white beaches, today is the day to indulge in pure, unadulterated hedonism – Miami’s favourite. With pedal bikes at your disposal, you’ll have the day to explore South Beach. Sunbathe (and sizzle) next to its regular sun-worshippers, stop for ice cream under shaded palms at Mid-Beach and feel like a local in Surfside, the sleepy residential enclave where everybody knows everybody north of Miami Beach. In the evening, you’ll be swapping your flipflops for heels as you hit the city’s Latin jazz joints, rooftop lounges and bass-heavy clubs. Your Concierge will be more than happy to point you in the direction of their favourite karaoke hangouts, shopping streets and late-night bite spots. This is Miami after all; anything goes.
ROOFTOP DOWN TO DUCK KEY
After breakfast, you’ll say hello to your car rental and bid farewell to Miami (at least for now). Hop on the Overseas Highway with the rooftop down and radio on down to Duck Key. Enjoy the three-hour drive, stopping at Key Largo for lunch, before checking into your new waterfront hotel for the next two nights. Dive into adventure, chartering fishing boats and kayaks, meandering around the mangrove-fringed Marina Flat. Practice your serve on its tennis courts, zen out in sauna, whirlpool and steam baths and head under water on mesmerising snorkelling and diving trips. You’ll also get the opportunity to visit Marathon’s Turtle Hospital. A small non-profit organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation of endangered sea turtles, you will have the opportunity to learn how the centre works and have a go at feeding them.
After breakfast, it’s time to head out on the open ocean road once again to Key West, an hour-and-a-half drive away. Pop your bags down at your historic hotel tucked behind picket fences and low-hanging trees in the island’s old town and get exploring. Far edgier and more eccentric than its sister keys, this seven square mile island knows how to pack a punch. From secret gardens and art studios to state parks and museums, it’s not hard to see why the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams chose it as the place to pen some of their best works. Start your two-night stay with a crash course in Key West’s history at Truman Little White House, where President Harry Truman spent 175 days of his presidency here from 1946 through 1952. Up until 2006, the quaint retreat was used as a holiday property for presidents such as John F Kennedy and Bill Clinton.
THE SEAS AND THE KEYS
Key West gets the best of both worlds. The meeting place of the deep blue Atlantic, the shallow flats of the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida, it is home to the third-largest barrier reef in the world and a broad diversity of tropical and subtropical marine species. So, naturally, your only full day in Key West should be spent at sea. During a four-and-a-half-hour boat ride, you’ll stop at secluded secret spots, snorkel in shallow waters and kayak through brackish waters. Once you’re back on dry land, we recommend heading to Mallory Square for sunset. Seeing as nature plays a starring role here, it would be rude not to catch its main evening show before a twilight dinner on the waterfront.
Key West is never in a hurry, so treat yourself to a lie in before packing up and heading north (just a short two-hour drive) to Islamorada. Smack bang in the middle between manic Miami and rowdy Key West, Islamorada feels like their hippy antidote. Sportfishing is king, art galleries abound and food comes in the form of fried chicken, sticky buns and French fusion. Follow in the footsteps of its laidback locals at Anne’s Beach and the Florida Keys Brewing Company, pick up last-minute holiday reads at Hooked on Books and treat your tastebuds to signature key lime pies from the aptly named Key Lime Pie Lady.
Today is an early one. Check out of your hotel, pack the car up and hit the scenic highway one last time all the way back to Miami (roughly two hours). Stop into South Beach for one last lunch before saying farewell to your hire car and heading to Miami International Airport for your evening flight back to London.
This morning, you will arrive back home after your direct flight.
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