Outdoor Dining Experiences not to miss when visiting Coconut Grove/Miami this winter

When visiting Coconut Grove and Greater Miami during the winter you have to dine outdoors. I mean, the weather is one of the reasons you are visiting so why not enjoy it even when dining? There are some amazing restaurants in Coconut Grove/Miami to enjoy culinary delights while taking in the reason you came in the first place…..the South Florida winter weather! Here are our five favorite outdoor dining spots while vacationing this winter in Miami.

  1. Peacock Garden Resto Bar + Grille (2889 McFarlane Road, Coconut Grove): Located on the ground floor of Hotel Arya in the heart of Coconut Grove, the Peacock Garden features a tranquil setting with culinary delights that you most certainly will enjoy. This “secret garden” offers the most relaxing of environments with offerings that include a seafood and raw bar, fresh fish, prime steaks, hearty pasta dishes, fresh salads and daily specials. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner you will enjoy what Forbes Magazine dubbed Miami’s “Hidden Oasis”.
  2. Redfish by Chef Adrienne (9610 Old Cutler Road, Miami): Fan of the Farelly Brothers 1998 comedy classic, “There’s Something About Mary”? Then you know Redfish by Chef Adrienne! Located in the historic “coral house” within Matheson Hammock Park in southern Miami-Dade, the former Redfish Grille was battered by Hurricane Vilma in 2017 and stayed closed until it re-emerged in 2019 as Redfish with renowned, South Florida Chef Adrienne at the helm and the reviews have been spectacular. Feast on tasty treats from the land and sea while eating by the Matherson Hammock Beach……what could be better on a cool winter night in Miami?
  3. Monty’s Raw Bar (2550 S. Bayshore Drive, Coconut Grove): Opened in 1969 by Florida icon, Monty Trainer, Monty’s Raw Bar has served as a backdrop for some legendary TV shows and movies like “Miami Vice”, “Marley and Me” and “Burn Notice”. It also serves up the best frozen drinks, raw bar, tasty treats and scenic bayfront views in Miami under two massive tiki huts adjacent to the Coconut Grove Marina. This open air restaurant and bar’s menu still features Mrs. Trainer’s famous key lime pie recipe……a must desert when vacationing in Coconut Grove!
  4. Cafe Bernie Waterfront Restaurant (5600 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach): Cafe Bernie Waterfront Restaurant is a new entry on our favorite outdoor dining spots. Why you ask? Maybe it is the sweeping views of the Indian Creek Waterway from the poolside, outdoor seating deck. Or maybe its’ Chef Bernie Matz’s creative, locally inspired menu featuring unique items like manchego croquettes, mango bang shrimp, sofrito based shrimp pizza or “like butter” boneless short ribs. Or maybe it’s the free valet parking offered at this Mid-Beach, “Millionaire Row” condo building. Whatever the reason, you won’t want to miss out on this waterfront eatery during your next Miami vacation.
  5. The Rusty Pelican (3201 Rickenbacher Causeway, Key Biscayne): A Miami landmark, the Rusty Pelican is located at the Rickenbacher Marina and offers unmatchable waterfront views of the Miami skyline right from your table whether dining on the outdoor patio or indoor dining room. Offering an eclectic and impressive contemporary American cuisine and the freshest local seafood, The Rusty Pelican first premiered to natives and visitors in 1972 and was re-built in 1985 after a fire destroyed the structure but you can’t keep in a good thing down. Re-built and then a $7M renovation in 2011 has everyone talking about the Rusty Pelican.

Visiting Florida This Winter? Here’s What You Need to Know

Florida is filled with visitors all over any time of the year, but contrary to popular belief, it can still be packed full in the colder months. In the fall and winter, many flock to Florida to escape their home climates of brutal wind chills, snow, and below-freezing temperatures. In Florida, we don’t have any of those, so a South Florida Vacation Rental is the perfect way to escape the cold. 

Beaches in Florida at this time of year are much less crowded than in the summer months, so if you want to avoid the crowds and get a really good look at the picturesque, world-famous beaches, winter (or fall) is the time to go. 

When you head to the beach during your stay at Coconut Grove vacation rentals, you want to make sure you dress correctly. Tracksuits and beanies are some of the best things you can wear. Remember, beaches are pretty breezy, and when hitting the water, they can bring in moisture with the wind. Synthetic fiber clothing is recommended since they are great at blocking both wind and water. Dress in layers so you can add or subtract when needed. You probably won’t be getting in the water, so no need for swimsuits. 

The sand can get pretty cold in the winter, so make sure you pack beach chairs to enjoy a relaxing day near the shore. Bring a beach blanket, too, so you can cozy up if needed. Again, beaches can get breezy, so having the extra layer of warmth can come in handy. 

Miami Beach Family Vacation Ideas

Miami is most commonly known for its nightlight and unique art district, but it’s a place filled with entertainment for anyone of any age. With a wide variety of things to do, things to see, and opportunities for education about the rich Latin American and Caribbean heritage here, Miami Beach vacation rentals are a great stop for your next family adventure. 

In Wynwood, experience the beautiful street art with colorful murals from street artists who flock to Miami from all over the world. Wynwood Yard in the daytime is an outdoor hub for kids to play in, full of fun experiences like an edible garden, live music, pop-up crafts, and food trucks. 

Did you know Miami has a ton of Indoor Kid Zones? Beat the heat when staying at South Florida vacation rentals and plan a day of fun there. The Frost Museum of Science features many hands-on experiments, a touch tank, a planetarium (with laser light shows), and a massive three-story aquarium. 

The Perez Art Museum has plenty of activity sheets, puzzles, and scavenger hunts to keep kids engaged for hours. FunDemnsion, an indoor playground and arcade, is another place you don’t want to miss!

The Everglades National Park is another great way to keep children engaged while seeing some of the best places in Florida. See a variety of wildlife on bike or by foot. 

You can also find many kid-friendly beaches in Miami. Sabrina’s Beach, you’ll find a playground with a tailored, ADA-accessible dune crossing. It’s one of the most fun and inclusive beaches in Miami, and your kids are sure to love it!

Make Your Airline Travel to Miami Better With These 4 Tips

For some, airports start all the excitement a vacation has to offer, taking in the business and waiting in anticipation at the gate to board their flight and officially begin vacation mode. For others, the airport is the worst part of traveling. In-flight issues, late flights, and crowded gates are enough to cause the dreaded vacation travel stress. Whether you are an experienced traveler or have never stepped foot on an airplane, these four travel tips will help make your experience much more enjoyable when heading to South Florida Vacation Rentals

The most important travel tip is to check into your flight well ahead of time. This will save you a lot of time at the airport – so much so you may not have to arrive as early. Many airlines, like Southwest and American Airlines, will allow you to check in on your phone 24 hours before the flight. If you have bags, be sure to get there in plenty of time to check them in. Most airlines will only let you board 45 minutes before the flight, so do everything you can to save time. 

Keep essentials in your carry-on (but don’t pack liquids over the 3.4 ounce limit). Pack toiletries in the appropriate sizes, sunglasses, makeup, chargers, and a change of clothes in your carry-on. You will need it if your bags get lost, delayed, or mixed up on a different flight (it doesn’t happen often, but it has happened before!) 

Prone to motion sickness? The middle of the plane is your best chance of beating it. Planes move like a see-saw, so the middle has the least amount of motion. You’ll be ready to relax at our Miami vacation rentals the second you get off the plane!

Check the airport monitors for your flight information. Smartphone apps are a great way to stay updated, but the airport monitors update much faster, and if your flight is delayed or canceled, you’ll be the first to know. You can also check which gate your flight is boarding from, which can change for many reasons. When you get to the airport, check the monitors to see the most updated information. 

With these tips, your next airport adventure is sure to run much smoother. 

Visiting Miami Soon? Here’s Where You Need to Go

Summer is for beach weather in Miami, but fall is when the social season kicks off. There’s a ton of fun and exciting things to do in Miami this September from museums to holiday events. Clear your vacation itineraries to make way for some of these events when staying at one of our South Florida vacation rentals

On September 15, from 7 pm to 9 pm, head over to Time Out Market for Succulents & Sips. Plant gurus La Succulenta, along with Time Out Market, are hosting a night of do-it-yourself succulents accompanied with craft cocktails. You can learn how to make your succulent arrangements in upcycled pots. Tickets are $35 and cover the cost of crafting kits and succulents. 

Ready for Halloween? The Museum of Illusions is hosting the Haunted Circus Festival from September 17 to October 31 in Ludlam/Tropical Park. Circus includes a traveling sideshow and carnival, along with an “unsolvable mystery” that the audience gets to try to solve (hint: a star goes missing). If you solve the mystery, you get a “creepy souvenir.” 

On September 18, close to our Miami vacation rentals, the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day will be hosted at multiple cultural institutions throughout South Florida. Entry is free to many attractions, and tickers are available online on the Smithsonian Magazine website.

From now until September 19, enjoy the Frost Art Museum FIU’s exhibit in Coconut Grove. The event/exhibit celebrates the history of Coconut Grove, including dozens of photographs that paint the picture of the thriving artistic community like the Miami Black Art Workshop in the historic Bahamian Coconut Grove of the 60s and the King Mango Strut Parade.

Headed to the Florida Keys? Here’s What You Should Put on the Agenda

There’s nothing quite like a Florida Keys vacation – but we didn’t have to tell you that, right? Chances are you’ve heard of the magnificent beaches, beautiful blue water, and the multitude of activities from snorkeling to dining. With so many opportunities for fun when staying at a Florida Keys vacation rental, it can be hard to know what to plan for – so, we’ve compiled a list of everything you should put on your agenda when traveling to the Florida Keys in September. 

  • Florida Keys Heroes Tribute Weekend at Hawks Cay Resort (Marathon – September 3-5): Honor military, fire rescue, police, and medical personnel with the annual Heros Salute Labor Day Weekend. The event includes a family fun night, virtual 5k run/walk, live music, food, and contests.
  • Swim for Alligator Lighthouse (Islamorada – September 11): When staying at one of our South Florida Vacation Rentals, grab your friends and family and team up for a relay! You’ll have seven hours to complete an eight-mile round trip course, starting in-water and finishing shoreside on the beach. 
  • 37th Annual Underwater Music Festival (Big Pine Key – September 18): Divers and snorkelers alike can enjoy an ocean celebration encouraging environmentally responsible diving and the preservation of coral reefs. You might even catch mermaids and other costumed characters. The event will be staged at Looe Key Reef, part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, located six miles south of Big Pine Key.
  • Take Stock in Children Backcountry Challenge (Key Largo – September 24 – 26):  Enjoy catch and release fishing around the clock with a catch and release tournament! Catch redfish, snook, and trout. The event is a charity event with dinner and an awards banquet. 

The History of Surfing in Florida

When you hear the word “surfing,” you probably picture the beaches of places like Southern California. Chances are Florida is one of the last places you think about when dreaming of a surfer’s paradise, but Florida is no novice to surfing. Every year, thousands of Floridians ride the waves of the Atlantic ocean, some even near South Florida Vacation Rentals!

Surfing wasn’t popular in the United States until the 1950s, when lightweight surfboards were commercially produced. After that, surfing catapulted into mainstream pop culture with the depiction of a cool, laid-back, and carefree surfer lifestyle. In the 1970s, surfing became recognized as a competitive sport. 

With sport came sponsorships, leading to endorsements and commercialization of surfing in the Sunshine State. Some notable surfers to come from Florida are Kelly Slater of Cocoa Beach, Frieda Zamba of Flagler Beach, Lisa Anderson of Ormond Beach, and Corey and Shea Lopez of Indian Rock Beach, all of whom won international surfing championships.

With the rise of so many champions, surf shops began to pop up all over Florida, along with the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop. Even small beach towns began to invest in surf shops. 

The Atlantic Ocean is ideal for consistent surf and longer swells than those found in Gulf waters, making Miami Beach vacation rentals a good place to scope out the waves. Most Florida beaches are good for surfing because of their geographic features. The waves typically present in Florida produce swells from local weather systems, along with the cold fronts and wind-producing weather, which make Florida a great place overall to surf!

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Visiting Miami

If you’re planning on visiting Miami, chances are you have an itinerary jam-packed with beach days, nights out on Miami’s nightlife scene, and time well spent at some of the best restaurants in the nation. Many people are ready for the fun when booking a Miami vacation rental, but there are a few things you should avoid so that your vacation goes smoothly (because who wants to be stressed on their time off?)

Don’t take a cheaper flight into Fort Lauderdale. You might be saving a few dollars, but time is something you will be wasting. The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport is located just 30 minutes from Downtown Miami. That’s pretty standard for airport distance from most downtown locations, but after considering the traffic and expensive taxi or Uber rides, you will likely end up spending the same amount of money you saved avoiding the Miami International Airport and double the time spent. 

Everyone wants to see the beaches in Miami, but don’t miss the many other things to do, like seeing the city’s art. Miami has plenty of museums and parks that feature the architectural, artistic, and cultural history of the 20th century. 

While you’re staying at a South Florida vacation rental, you’re going to want to eat. There are a million options across Miami, but make sure you make time for some of the Latin, Haitian, and Caribbean food. Miami is quite diverse, with chefs who bring the flavors of their home country to life through their dishes at restaurants that are likely within walking distance to you. You’ll be hard-pressed to find food quite like it anywhere else in the country. 

August Events in the Florida Keys

Even as the summer is winding down into its last month, that doesn’t mean the fun is over in the Florida Keys. In fact, that’s one of the perks of South Florida – our year-round good weather! When you book your stay in a South Florida vacation rental, be sure to check out these local events. 

In Key West from August 12 to August 15, enjoy the seafood at the 25th Annual Key West Lobsterfest. Every year, the festival celebrates the start of the Florida Keys lobster season that starts on August 6. The lineup includes a traditional lobster boil and a street fair with plenty of seafood options prepared in various ways. Enjoy lobster the Florida way – prepare in butter with seasoned stuffing or in a cool summer salad!

In Islamorada, you can see the History of Diving Museum Exhibit: Diving in Pop Culture until the end of 2021! The museum has displays of diving in literature, film and television, games, music, advertisements, and more and analyzes its connection throughout those works. Staff at the museum has collected and researched the ways diving plays a part in pop culture for nearly 100 years. If you want to experience the rich history of the Keys, you don’t want to miss this exhibit. 

On August 25, the Fee-Free Day at Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks will commemorate the park’s 105th birthday. All entrance fees are waived. The park is one of the must-sees when staying anywhere in South Florida and is worth making the trip from Florida Keys vacation rentals.

2 Places to Visit in South Florida This Summer

South Florida is one of the most sought-after vacation spots in the country. Paradise-like beaches and a variety of food, along with art galleries, national parks, and architecture that is so abundant, you just can’t fit it all into one week of vacation! There are so many places you could visit this summer, but two places in particular we think are the gems of South Florida, and should be on your radar.

Coconut Grove, located south of Downtown Miami, is one of the best neighborhoods in Miami. Hotel Arya, one of our South Florida vacation rentals, sits right in the center and includes deluxe rooms, studios, and 1-3 bedroom units. Enjoy a view of Biscayne Bay and the Miami Skyline (something you can only find in Coconut Grove!)

Love art? Hotel Arya comes with many original works from well-respected artists like Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg, Jan Dibbets, Lynne Golub Gelfman, Carl Palazzolo, and many more. Coconut Grove has three of Miami’s most popular beachside parks, with some of the best views in town. Hotel Arya is just minutes away from art galleries, shopping, famous restaurants and bars, movie theaters, and anything else on the travel itinerary for Miami!

We couldn’t make a list without bringing up the Florida Keys – Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, and Key West are all worth mentioning. Check out Florida Keys vacation rentals! If you are looking for a classic Florida vacation, these are the places to go. Adventure seekers will love the keys for its variety of water activities (scuba diving, kayaking, charter boat fishing, snorkeling, and diving to the infamous Florida Keys shipwreck).

The Florida keys also have a number of art galleries and museums and unique shopping experiences that you can only find in the Keys. Enjoy the best seafood around – the Keys have fresh catches everywhere you go!