One of the things on Michelle’s bucket list for the Christmas trip to Florida was to visit the Art Deco District in Miami Beach and take pictures. This was something we did several years ago, and she wanted to share it with Hayden. When trying to figure out exactly where to go, and checking this blog to do so, I realized I hadn’t recorded our first trip yet, although I made a brief mention of it here. I did, however, write about it in my journal, which included the following information:

The idea for our excursion came from the Hiking Florida book, which didn’t have an actual map, just a written description: “Collection of Art Deco-style buildings on the National Register of Historic Places” at the south end of Miami Beach; easy; flat terrain.

  • We couldn’t find an online map, so followed the book’s instructions and had our first stop at the Art Deco Welcome Center to pick up a paper map. (Note that their website states the self-guided tour takes about 1 1/2 hours to do.)
  • Our original estimate of 3-4 miles and 2-3 hours was way, way off.
  • We walked for over 16 miles, and only covered about half of the numbers on the map. (The map included more than just Art Deco buildings.)
  • We had lunch at a Mexican place and stopped for gelato in the late afternoon.
  • I liked the Holocaust Memorial. Even though it was quite disturbing, it was tastefully done and I appreciated the reverence I felt there. For the record, Michelle didn’t like that memorial.

Mainly due to expectations not matching reality, we have mixed feelings over this particular family activity. The first couple of hours were great. Then we got tired and hungry and the buildings all began looking alike. However, I recall that after lunch (when we were no longer hungry and not quite as tired) things improved. Overall, and with some perspective, it was a great family day. (The post has now been added. You can find more pictures of that trip over here.)

So, when we decided to go again this year, we knew we didn’t want to cover everything. We also had a definite ending time (planes don’t wait for late comers) which helped. Once we arrived, we discovered that Miami Beach has a humongous New Year’s Eve celebration, and the cost to park was outrageous. We decided that some year we’ll have to go back and stay in a hotel on the beach for New Year’s Eve and see if it lives up to all the hype. In spite of the crowds (which I’m sure were nothing compared to later at night), we didn’t have any problems seeing what we wanted to see. Here are the pictures!

First stop – the top of the parking garage
Second stop – the beach
We saw lots of beautiful and distinctive hotels.
And then explored more along the beach access path.

We had Cuban sandwiches for lunch at the Havana 1957 Restaurant.

It was a beautiful day!