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One night in Miami........Airport or travel into town/beach?

(12 Posts)
BeachysSnowyWellieBoots Fri 10-Feb-17 15:58:17

We've planned a trip in the summer for the family 2+3 big kids. We have a one night stopover in Miami, landing at 2pm and next plane leaving at about 11am the next morning. I know we will be on UK time, so we will probably want to have a meal, mini walk and crash BUT......

do we just stay near the airport or do we travel into Miami and if so, which bit?

I know the immigration lines are chaotic and long in Miami so I don't see us clearing until 4pm or later.

Any ideas from anyone who has done it, knows Miami or is a seasoned traveller?

BeachysSnowyWellieBoots Fri 10-Feb-17 17:35:41

Can I bump for the evening ish people?

flatfootedfrump Fri 10-Feb-17 18:39:26

Have you had a look on Tripadvisers travel forum? Someone there will know.
Years since I've been but Miami is a massive sprawl.
Getting off the plane however is amazing. It's all hot and humid and smells like a different city. I'd find the best hotel I could with a pool and just enjoy being off the plane, palms and chirping insects all night and having a fantastic American breakfast before your flight the next day

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 10-Feb-17 19:04:56

There are plenty of hotels near the airport and I would suggest you stay in one of those. Last time I went (a couple of months back) it took around 90 minutes to arrive at Ground Transportation. Wear comfortable shoes because its a long walk.

BeachysSnowyWellieBoots Fri 10-Feb-17 19:57:23

Thanks, my bil warned me that getting through at Miami takes an absolute age... I just had visions of wafting up and down Miami Beach for one night, drinking cocktails, but you're probably right and an airport hotel would be most sensible!

PinkShampagney Wed 15-Feb-17 23:42:01

Miami International airport is horrific. Don't underestimate the "taking an age" to get out of there. It's really bad.

On the plane on the way back I was complaining about it one of the cabin crew and she was telling me about one time when she (as cabin crew with associated "fast track" passes) took 2 hours to get out of the airport. 2 hours!! For cabin crew!!!

She said she thought it was deliberately made "difficult" by the US government to deter people as it's proximity to Cuba meant it was a prime target for illegal immigrants and drug smuggling but no idea if that is true.
(it's very badly organised, poorly signed and very chaotic; It's not just immigration/border control - after having lined up for ages to get bags you then have another long unstructured line to get past "customs" which funnels all of the people through two tiny sliding doors.)

My experience getting out of the airport was so unpleasant that I thought if I ever wanted to go back to Miami before I die I would fly into another international airport and fly into Fort Lauderdale to avoid this.

So to answer your question:

- if it's not too late and you have flexible flights and it's an option, organise yourself so you aren't going via Miami and stop over somewhere else.

- if that's not an option, then easily factor in a long looooooooong time to get out of the airport AND being very tired and very grumpy. I would doubt very much like you would feel like going around Miami at all so I'd go for a hotel close to the airport.

Miami South Beach is beautiful and worth seeing - the architecture is amazing -but it's probably too far to make it worthwhile. Coral Gables is lovely and not too far but is v. small. The Biltmore Hotel is amazing but expensive (google the hotel and admire the pool) and I doubt it would be worth it for one night.

Honestly I think I'd go for a close to the airport hotel and try to pretend Miami airport never happened.

It was probably invented by Dante and is infact the eighth circle of hell.

budgiegirl Fri 17-Feb-17 23:52:48

Miami International airport is horrific. Don't underestimate the "taking an age" to get out of there. It's really bad

I've flown into Miami several times, and maybe I've just been lucky, but I've never found it to be too bad. The last time I went (Easter last year) they had introduced automatic passport readers, although you still had to go to immigration after. But from touching down to driving away in a taxi was about 45 minutes. So you could get lucky!

I'd see if you can get a reasonably priced hotel on South Beach. Paddle in the ocean late afternoon, wander along the Art Deco area as the lights come on, and have a meal in Lincoln Road Mall. Then cab it back to the airport in the morning.

childmaintenanceserviceinquiry Sat 18-Feb-17 00:15:41

Miami has been variable for me. On my own , no children , more recently found it to be ok. (Orlando was absolute hell this Xmas by comparison)

But you are a short stop over so I wouldn't bother with south beach. Shame for you as it is lovely!

Ni58 Sat 18-Feb-17 00:20:45

Jane McDonald's new Channel 5 series about cruising featured Miami last week. She showed some of the things you can do if you only have a few hours to spend there. Might be worth watching on catch up.

BeachysSnowyWellieBoots Sat 18-Feb-17 08:55:16

Thanks all.... I've booked and it's pretty inflexible so I will have to face it....

If it was just me, I'd probably hotfoot it into Miami Beach, as I love Art Deco, but trying to drag a reluctant husband and three children might not be appreciated.....

I'll have a look at decent airport hotels with a pool..

Sparklyuggs Tue 21-Feb-17 16:28:39

I did it with DH the night before a cruise. We stayed in south beach and I think it made it feel like part of the holiday rather than a stopover. Helped with the jet lag to get out and walk along the beach too.

Iflyaway Thu 23-Feb-17 02:45:09

Was in Miami South Beach a year and a half ago on my way on a cruise. Loved it.

Going again in November.

Thing is, now with Dump Trump in charge, you can't predict what chaos any airport in USA might be when you land.....

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