Exploring Miami: 4 Days of Sunshine, Seafood, and Adventure

A Miami dream

Ratings Best Travel Date Cost Length


All year round $1200 4 days (3 nights)

TLDR tips:

  • Booking a flight to Fort Lauderdale (30 minutes away) is significantly cheaper ($100) than booking a direct flight to Miami ($400+)
  • When ordering stone crab claws, opt for the medium size instead of large or jumbo size. medium size has much better value
  • Joe’s stone crab: order a fried chicken along with Stone crab to save money. A half chicken costs only $9.9
    • Choose takeout, as the restaurant is often packed
  • Avoid CVI.CHE 105.


Day 1

  • West Lake Park
  • Coast Side walk

Day 2

  • Miami Beach
  • City Center
  • Miami South Beach

Day 3

  • Everglades Holiday Park Airboat Tours and Rides

Day 4

  • Bayside Marketplace and Bayfront Park


  • Airplane tickets: $100 per person
  • Ride-share (4 days): $90 per person
  • Gator park guided tour (commute, admission, shows and airboat): $100 per person
  • Food (7 meals): $350 per person
  • Hotel (3 nights): $400 per person
  • Total: $1100-$1200

_Views from today: Four years ago, we took a budget-friendly spring break trip right as COVID was starting.
We found a great deal: the whole adventure cost us between $1,500 to $1,800, a real bargain considering today’s prices.
Our timing was perfect since Florida hadn’t been hit hard by COVID yet.

Day 1

Here’s a money-saving tip: fly into Fort Lauderdale, not Miami.

Booking a flight to Fort Lauderdale is significantly cheaper ($100) than booking a direct flight to Miami ($400+). Fort Lauderdale is only 20 miles away from downtown Miami.

Landing in Fort Lauderdale to a warm 80°F was a nice break from the cold.
We started with a leisurely walk at West Lake Park and then headed down to GG’s Waterfront.

View from West Lake Park

In Florida, you have to try stone crab.
It’s a local specialty. Its flavor is incredibly natural and unprocessed/raw (probably why it’s unique to the state of Florida).
Eating it by the sea was amazing.

Stone crab claw $39.99 for 6 claws

When ordering stone crab claws, opt for the medium size instead of large or jumbo size. A medium-sized claw comes in a set of six for about $40, whereas jumbo claws can set you back around $90 for just three pieces. The size difference between medium and jumbo is only about 30%, making the medium size a much better value.

We took a ride-share service to Miami, which took about 40-50 minutes for a 12-mile journey (as there are no highway). The hotel was quite nice, and while there were numerous hotels in the region, dining options were limited unless you were willing to walk for about 15 minutes. This is why on our first night we settled for a nearby dining establishment serving simple dishes.

Miami Ultra Music Festival was canceled due to Covid

Day 2

Our second day began with a visit to the beach, marking my first time experiencing a Southern United States beach and witnessing the vast North Atlantic Ocean. The weather was just right: neither hot nor cold, perfect for a leisurely walk on the beach, although not warm enough to take a dip in the ocean (goodbye, swimsuit plans).

Miami beach (Mid-Beach)

Following a brief stop at the beach, we headed to Lincoln Road near the City Center district. The street exuded a unique and lively atmosphere, offering fantastic shopping and dining opportunities to soak in the local culture.

Miami's Lincoln Road: lively and perfect for dinning and shopping

Noon had arrived, and we decided on a Hispanic meal featuring seafood paella and a lobster feast. Afterward, we returned to the hotel for a well-deserved rest.

In the afternoon, we explored another Miami beach, located in the south. It featured a boardwalk along the coastline similar to the one in Santa Monica, Los Angeles. During our visit, there was a winter party festival for the LGBTQ community, with many people congregating near the park. Later in a report it was said that led to 38 people contracting COVID-19 and resulted in two deaths.

Lobster lunch on Lincoln Road

As the afternoon progressed, the wind picked up, and a few raindrops fell. Upon reaching the southernmost corner, we indulged in a lobster roll at a small shop. Within a five-minute walk, we discovered the famous Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant (arguably the most renowned Stone Crab establishment in Miami). Due to the crowd, we opted for a Stone crab takeout and their renowned fried chicken.

To save money and still savor a satisfying meal, order the fried chicken with Stone crab. A half chicken costs only $9.9. Choose takeout, as the restaurant is often packed.

Day 3

Prior on visiting Miami, I’ve booked a one-day guided tour to the Everglades through TripAdvisor, as Florida is renowned for its unique swamplands.

The tour was a round-trip from Miami downtown to The Everglades Holiday Park, and it turned out to be an excellent deal. For less than $100, we got the round-trip transportation, a thrilling half-hour airboat tour across the Everglades, a complimentary photo, and admission to the exciting gator show.

Arriving at the Holiday Park

The airboat tour was incredibly relaxed, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in the mesmerizing Florida swamp. We encountered wild birds and, of course, some gators along the way. The gators, though not too active, were fascinating to observe as they remained still with their heads partially exposed. During the 30-45 minute tour, we spotted a couple of these incredible creatures. It’s worth mentioning that it can get quite chilly when the airboat hits full speed, approximately 40 mph, and the noise from the turbine can be deafening. So, don’t forget to bring a jacket!

Airboat tour through the everglades

Immediately after the airboat tour, we were treated to a gator show featuring some daring and impressive performances. Our host was none other than Chris from the Gator Boys, a famous internet celebrity on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.

Gator show by the Gator Boys

Lunchtime arrived, and we headed to the restaurant and souvenir shop conveniently located on the premises. What did we decide to try? Fried gator meat! It had a unique taste, somewhat resembling dry fried chicken meat.

In the evening, we dined at a charming restaurant called Fifi’s on the Beach Seafood. It turned out to be the culinary highlight of our Miami trip, offering delectable options like lobster and prawns, all of which tasted simply amazing!

Day 4

With just half a day left in Miami before our departure, our final destination was the lively Bayside Market and Bayside Park, where we were greeted by the sight of numerous sports cars cruising around. Bayside Market offered a delightful array of restaurants, sweet treats, and charming local shops, making it the perfect place for some last-minute gift shopping.

Bayside park dock with a lot of boats

Later, we ventured to a renowned award-winning Peruvian restaurant, CVI.CHE 105, particularly known for its ceviche. However, my review of the experience is rather disappointing. Not only were the dishes overpriced, but the quality felt rushed, as the meats appeared hastily cooked and blended together.

Ceviche that looks good but tastes bad

And so, our memorable trip came to a close. The return ride-share to Fort Lauderdale Airport in the afternoon took a bit longer than expected, roughly around an hour, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Time Stamps:

Day 1

  • 9:30 AM: Arrival at Fort Lauderdale airport
  • 10:00 AM: West Lake Park
  • 11:00 AM: Coast Side walk
    • 12:00 PM: Lunch at GG’s Waterfront (2 hr)
  • 3:00 PM: Hotel check in: 6080 Design Hotel by Eskape Collection
    • Resting due to the early flight
  • 7:00 PM: Dinner at The Tavern at Oceanside hotel

Day 2

  • 9:30 AM: Leave hotel
  • 10:00 AM: Miami Beach walk (1 hr)
  • 11:00 AM: City Center walk (2 hr)
    • Lunch at City Center
  • 2:00 PM: Hotel nap
  • 4:00 PM: Miami South Beach walk (2 hr)
  • 6:00 PM: Dinner on Lincoln Road
  • 7:00 PM: Another dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab
  • 8:00 PM: Return to hotel

Day 3

  • 8:30 AM: Leave hotel for Everglades Tour (2.5 hr)
  • 11:00 AM: Arrive at Everglades Holiday Park Airboat Tours and Rides
    • 11:30 AM: Airboat tour
    • 12:00 PM: Gator show at Holiday Park
    • 12:30 PM: Lunch at Holiday Park
    • 1:00 PM: Return to hotel (2 hr)
  • 3:00 PM: Hotel rest
  • 6:00 PM: Dinner at Fifi’s on the Beach Seafood Restaurant
  • 7:00 PM: Return to hotel

Day 4

  • 10:00 AM: Leave hotel
  • 11:00 AM: Visit Bayside Marketplace and Bayfront Park
    • 1:00 PM: Lunch at CVI.CHE 105
  • 2:00 PM: Return ride to Fort Lauderdale airport (1 hr)

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