MIAMI BEACH: Cheap Hotels in Miami Beach
Miami Beach is a small island in Florida that is connected to Miami by numerous bridges. Although not established until 1915, Miami Beach has since grown into a popular beach resort full of tourist attractions including a number of cheap hotels.
When to visit based on priceIf looking for the best rates for your visit to Miami Beach, Florida, you should concentrate on the time between months of June and September.
Key attractionsOne of the key attractions in Miami is South Miami Beach, where you can spend the day being one of the beach beauties showing off your tan, muscled body, or just watching them. This is where the “beautiful people” visit for sun and fun. You can have a wonderful time enjoying the water, some volleyball, or walking the boardwalk. When it’s time for a break, there are many excellent restaurants along the waterfront, as well as outside bars.
Take a stroll along Ocean Drive, where you can still view many of the Art Deco buildings made famous back in the 1920’s. Be amazed how they look like they never changed, and one could expect Marilyn Monroe to step out of the front door into her awaiting limo.
Having funFun in Miami Beach is all about the water, sand, sun and fun. This is party central, with non-stop bar activities all night long. However, if you are looking for something different, or a break from the party, there are some interesting and famous places to visit in the area.
A visit to the Miami Zoo is a great way to cool off and get some exercise walking around the many exhibits.
Why not take a “Big Bus Tour” with the Miami Hop – Off Tours. You get to choose one of two, 1-½ hour loop tours, and check out landmarks, and attractions. Another tour offered is actually a combo of land and water sights.
Take a lesson and get “onboard” with the fastest growing water sport, Paddleboarding”. You can rent your paddleboard by the hour, half-day or day, and after only a few minutes are paddling the calm waters.
ShoppingProbably the best place to shop mall wise in Miami Beach is the Stores at Lincoln Mall. Here you will find ARMANI, Adidas, French Connection, and Victoria’s Secret, Gap and Banana Republic and more.
Of course, the small boutique shops down on the beach and boardwalk are what’s Miami Beach is all about.
NearbyWhen one thinks of Southern Florida, one must think of the mystique of the Florida Everglades, with snakes, crocks and panthers, right? So why wouldn’t you want to adventure out of your comfort zone, and go on a boat tour in the famous Florida Everglades. Remember, when the guide tells you to keep your hands in the boat, its time to listen up.
Florida is also home to many wild monkeys, and one place to enjoy them in a safe environment, is to visit Monkey Jungle and the Jungle Island. If you or your parents were ever here years ago, Parrot Jungle is now Jungle Island. This is where you can visit with some of the exotic animals and birds native to Florida. It’s also a great place to take outstanding “selfie’s” with parrots and monkeys. One helpful hint, don’t let that parrot sit on your head to long, the results could be messy, but a great portrait.
Why not take a drive down the Florida Keys, either to one of the first Keys, or all the way to the end, where you can sip a cocktail at Ernest Hemmingway’s favorite bar. If you scuba dive, or want to learn, this is your chance, because there’s some excellent diving and wreck diving on the keys.
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Local expert's tips
You don’t have to be rich to enjoy a vacation on Miami Beach
When choosing your hotel, don’t just call the local hotels on the beach and say “book me”! Instead cruise on-line discount websites, and find your best price deals. Also, don’t just look at hotels directly on the beach, but instead check just off the beach where rates will be better. A 5-10 minute walk could save you a bundle of cash each day. You should also try to fine a hotel with the added benefit of an included full hot breakfast.
If vacationing during the winter months to escape the snow and ice from up north, you will likely find it easy to save money here. That’s because you will probably be here for the sun, sand and warm waters of Miami Beach. All of that’s free to use, and all you hve to provide is sunscreen, drinks and food, which can or can’t mess up your budget. Be sure to pack your lotion from home, to save the markups, and if possible pack with you a foldable cooler. That cooler will save you a great deal of your funds, when you pack pop and sandwiches, instead of paying tourist prices in beachfront restaurants. Also, if daytime cocktails are in order, bring plastic turvis tumblers and tops, possible a bottle of hooch, and make your own on the beach.
Of course add snacks like pretzels and chips, and take that savings out to dinner a time or two.
Another rather large expense you can do without is that rental car. Unless you like driving in heavy traffic with crazed drivers, spending way to much on rental, gas and parking, nix the car. Instead use your two feet, a rental bike or in-line skates, or take a Uber ride.
If you plan to go out evenings to the clubs and or dinner, I suggest keeping snacks in your hotel room along with a “personal bar”, mixes and full ice bucket. If you snack and sip before walking or Uber to that club or restaurant, you can just order small plates and Happy Hour cocktails, and save. One thing about Miami Beach, most areas allow sipping in public, just not out of glass. However, we agree with everyone, drink responsibly, and use public transportation.
Hot Miami Beach Tip- Hit a convenience store and pick up snacks and “to go” plastic cups.
One last suggestion, which you can pop to the top, is your transportation to and from the airport. You will see tons of people standing in line to get a Taxi, and that the most expensive way to get to and from the airport, after a rental. Instead, call ahead for your Uber ride, unless of course, your hotel offers free shuttle service.
South Miami Beach Vacation, “On a Budget” Yes you can!
You can also find great deals close by the beach, and not on it, and in some cases save big time on that room. The good side is you get exercise either walking or biking to the beach every day, keeping that beach body in shape.
If you plan to just stay in the Miami Beach area on vacation, you will save a ton of money by avoiding that urge to rent a car at the airport. If you’re lucky enough to have a free hotel shuttle, use it. If not take one of the shuttle services available at the airport, UBER or even a cab. The money you will save on rental, parking and gas will be better used on meals, cocktails and sunscreens. All you need to get around the area is your two feet and bus fare.
A major area for overspending on any vacation is money spent on food. You need to be very careful when eating at any restaurant in Miami Beach and South Beach. Keep in mind that in fact, their restaurants meant for tourists, and restaurants frequented by locals only.
Hot Tip: Not to coin a phrase, in fact, you need to be very careful when paying your restaurant bill, because most of the hotels catering to tourists, have built in gratuity in the amount of 15-18%. Be sure not to double tip!
If your hotel doesn’t provide breakfast, there are many restaurants along Ocean Drive that offer cheap breakfast price, but “buyer beware”, many advertise a low cheap price, but that does not include coffee, juice, bacon, etc., which they add quite a bit. Some of the restaurants offer large breakfast specials all day long. You can at least maybe share breakfast and make it a “2 for 1?
If looking for something to do for a few hours off the beach that won’t cost an arm and a leg, why not take a leisurely stroll along the Art Deco District streets, which you can enjoy day or night. That being said, when lit up after dark, it is a mesmerizing experience.
Then there’s “Little Havana”, an experience that you absolutely must absorb some of your time in. Whether you choose to just enjoy a good cigar and awesome Mojito, or dive into a Cuban sandwich or dinner, it will be a lasting memory for sure.
When the sun goes down and you are looking for a bar that doesn’t eat your budget, with door fee, and high dollar fancy food and drinks, where do you go. Many clubs along the beach are glitzy, but can ya get a $3 brew? The answer is hell no. So we have some excellent suggestions for you,
Ted’s Hideaways located on South Beach on 2nd Ave, and is just what you probably have in mind. Hand out in t’s and jeans, sipping beers and eating bar food in this Old English type of bar.
Another popular bar especially with locals is the Lost Weekend also located on South Beach, on Española Way. Bang away on video games while you sip happy hour cocktails from 4-7 daily, with drinks only $3.50!
Is it time to “turn on the heat” on Miami Beach?
Hot Tip: Try a noon break at the Tropicale’s pool bar directly on the boardwalk, for a small plate lunch, Tiki cocktail with umbrella of course, and live Reggae tunes.
Miami Beach and specifically South Miami Beach can become real eye openers if this is your first time here. This is party central, with Latino/Cubano influence in the air everywhere, from the table to the tunes. Hotels along Miami Beach offer the “art deco” vibe, with brilliant colors, and swirling ceiling fans. I can never get tired of the white sandy beaches, aquamarine water, and warmth of the sun. I also will never tire of the ladies strolling down the sands in what has to be almost invisible micro outfits that will make even European visitors blush. Well, maybe not. This is after all, one of the attractions of these beaches, and a pastime for many men and women.
Many as “Monaco like” have compared Miami Beach, but I never saw anything like this in Monaco, believe me.
If you are seeking “budget friendly” ideas for the Miami Beach locale, the top one is where you are, Miami Beach. As they say about living in San Diego, you pay for the sun, here in Miami Beach, it’s the sand and sun. Spend lots of time strolling the beaches, and of course the boardwalk. There are shops to experience, cafés to stop into, and just grabbing a bench and doing some people watching can be fun. During the evening hours, taking a walking tour of the Art Deco District is a kick in the pants, with all the colorful buildings all lit up.
If you need to take a break from the beaches, one of the most enjoyable things you can do, is to experience Little Havana”. You can make a full day of this; starting with a visit to the Versailles Cuban Bakery for a café Cubano and a pastry, while listening to the regulars talk politics. As so much is about food, you might want experience the culture by taking a culinary tour of the famous mom and pop café restaurants.
After that, there’s nothing like sitting outside a small café with a nice cigar. You might also get directions for Maximo Gomez Park, where you can enjoy watching very serious competitive dominos being played.
For a hot suggestion for a light lunch at a very upscale joint, check out the Peruvian Restaurant, CVICHE, a play on words for their specialty, and my favorite, ceviche. If you have never had it before, its seafood marinated in fresh lime, cilantro, onions along with choices of toppings, or not. No worries, because if raw seafood isn’t your thing, the many Peruvian dishes they offer will provide excellent choices.
If you are looking for an exceptional romantic and private setting for a dinner for two, we have an excellent suggestion. Casa Tua, located on Miami Beach, is set in a Mediterranean Villa style surroundings, with lanterns hanging from trees on the outside patio, our choice for seating. Dining here may be one of the top experiences of your vacation.
Hot Tips from Miami Beach Locals to save money on your vacation
Try planning your vacation between say, the months of November and January, when the weather is still warm, but the beaches and restaurants aren’t as crowded.
Also, unless you are a film industry buff or wine and food critic, stay away from Miami Beach during the Wine and Food Festival and International Film Fest.
Quite possibly the best and cheapest Miami Beach vacations are had by those that spend most of their time on the beach. Whether you plant a towel and beach umbrella, rent a covered cabana or whatever, you’ll spend less overall money that way. People watching doesn’t cost you a dime, unless some husband objects to you’re “ogling” his wife. You can even pack a picnic lunch and eat on the beach, or walk up to the boardwalk and find a place to settle. Many restaurants on the boardwalk offer some great lunch deals too, and later in the day, there’s always cheap “happy hours”.
If you have your car or a rental, locals suggest parking at the 13th Street Garage just past Collins St., as the best and least expensive. Pretty much parking is tough and expensive around Miami Beach, so if possible, forget the wheels, unless they are bike or blade.
For cheap but tasty lunch suggestions, try Tapas & Tintos on Espanola Way, or Front Porch Café on Ocean Drive. If you want to pick up something to enjoy on the beach, head to La Sandwicheria on 14th Street because their takeout orders are fantastico.
If you’re dying for a slice of pizza, we also have the place for you called Pizza Rustica on Washington.
Finally, one of the best “hot tips” that locals will give you is that no matter what time of year it is when you visit, beware of the sun. If you are hitting the beach and waters all day, you’re going to get burnt. That is, unless you practice “safe sunning”! Make sure you bring the best suntan lotion money can buy, because in the end it will save you. And don’t forget to get one that stays on in the water! This is all especially important to those over 21, who plan to hit the bars for lunch. After a few shots of Tequila, we tend to forget about what the sun is doing to our bodies on the beach.
Adult’s end of summer fun in Miami Beach, Florida
If you’re looking for a little darker, “Casablanca” style bar then maybe you should head to 14th street and Mac’s Club Duce. This well known “dive bar” pushes cocktails 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, where the happy hour starts every day at 8AM! It’s simply amazing that the Deuce has done so well for so long in the famous “Deco District” but it has, even getting publicity on Anthony Bourdain’s traveling booze show. No matter what time of day you walk through that front door, you just never know what celeb you will find cozying up to the bar.
Another classic nightclub you definitely should check out is Ocean Drives Mango’s Tropical Café. No, it’s not the same as the kiddies Rainforest Café; this place is all about adults getting it on. Salsa’s the name and the game in this joint, and everyone has rum on their minds, especially in the ever-popular Mojito. Word of caution, these bartenders have extremely heavy hands on that bottle of rum, and they know how to make a perfect Mojito, one that will have you up on the dance floor doing the salsa in no time.
Also on Ocean Drive, Wet Willies is just the kind of place that you know is going to be a blast when you get there. Two floors of jamming party crowds, where you can get your favorite rum or vodka in that cocktail, or even go for the grain alcohol if your brave enough. When it’s warm outside, Wet Willies has something for everyone, especially his or her smoothies with rum punch or maybe fresh fruit daiquiris. And to break up the long line of cocktails, you should definitely sample some of this bars tequila-soaked wings. Which will take you to the next level.
For those that can make it to the “After Hours” and are looking for a real Miami Beach experience you just have to check out the newest craze in clubs, Elleven.
Here you find a large mix of adult partygoers, from hipsters to culture after hour clubbers. Three levels of fun from the main dance floor and DJ to a rooftop lounge for a little more subdued excitement. For those looking to get a little more on the “wild side” of sexy, there’s dancers downstairs, but beware that level is at least R rated or better, but lots of fun.
Lets jump on the Miami Beach after hours “Cocktail Train”
The next “got to go” place is Monty’s where you can relax poolside, sipping cheap drinks and enjoying a perfect sunset. Monday-Friday between 4 and 8 PM all boozy cocktails are half price, and draft beers and wine take 30% off your tab. You’ll find excellent deals on bar food too, with all raw bar choices 30% off and shrimp & oysters for a buck.
Another fun casual place for evening “happy hour” fun is the Tongue & Cheek restaurant that has a daily happy hour from 4-8 PM every day. Grab a $5 beer on tap or fancy (or standard) cocktail for only $8. If you’re into wine during happy hour get a bottle for half price during the special hours. You can also enjoy some “small plate” dishes including oysters and corn dogs.
For the ambience of a sidewalk cafe while you enjoy a light snack and happy hour beverage, Balans on Lincoln Rd. is an excellent choice. Every day from 3 PM – 7 PM you can sit at an outside table and people watch while sipping your $7 cocktail, $3 beer or $5 glass of wine.
For a food and beverage smorgasbord, why not give the Orange Blossom on Collins Ave. a go? Every night from 5-7 PM enjoy everything from cocktails to appetizers for only $56. And here we are talking about specialties like Mint Julep, Moscow Mule, Scallops, Mac & Cheese, Salmon Tartare and so much more. This is one happening place, so check it out while in town.
If some soft “Blues” will sooth your soul, and a quiet crowd relaxing to discount cocktails and free appetizers sounds fine , we have the place for you. The Blues Bar located in the National Hotel on Collins Ave. is your “go to” spot weekdays between 5-7 PM.
Finally and possibly the best experience you can have, would be happy hour in Cuba, but actually here on Miami Beach. We are talking about Havana 1957 on Lincoln Rd. Offering daily happy hour with good cocktail prices and authentic Cuban munchies you just can’t go wrong. And of course, where can you sip on the best Mojitos in Miami? Here of course.
The Allure of South Beach Miami
I step outside of the airport in Miami, Florida and in an instant I am introduced to the Latin sounds of Caribbean influenced music. The rhythm is in the air and the language that I begin to listen to is a different Spanish than I am accustomed to. Miami is a place all its own and I feel like I should have brushed up on my second language skills. The cab driver greets me with a cadence in his voice that I want to start a conversation immediately. I call out “Calle Ocho” in as close to what I believe is perfect Spanish and he drives off.
We begin to talk about Miami and my love for Cuban cuisine and he asks me about my favorite dishes. I rattle off as many as I can think of and the cab driver mentions a few of his own. By the time he drops me off at Versailles on Calle Ocho I am starving. In a few days I will eat Cuban sandwiches and Masas de Puerco at Puerto Sagua on Collins in South Beach and El Siboney in Key West. The food of South Florida is a small reason to visit considering the beaches, the wildlife and the nightlife.
A getaway to Miami is not complete without a late night in South Beach, a drive to the everglades and a visit to the Keys. Sure you’ll get your share of Cuban cuisine and culture on Calle Ocho but the Latin flavor as well as the Caribbean influence is everywhere.
3 Must Dos in South Florida That Cost Very Little Money
Art Deco Architecture in South Beach – There is no denying that you’ll see the beach in Miami and you should not miss it. The warm water and wide expanse of sand will call you to lounge for hours upon hours, but if you want a diversion, look no further than right behind you. The art deco revival that has occurred in South Beach is a magnificent way to do a little sightseeing in Miami without spending too much money. Walk along Ocean Ave. and you’ll be shooting so many pictures your eyes will be fuzzy and your memory cards will be full. The hotels and buildings in this area have been restored and most allow you to walk around the property. Check out some of the old pools and see a few of the hotel lobbies and catch a glimpse of old Miami.
Homestead and the Everglades – Head southeast of Miami and you’ll find Everglades National Park and more water and alligators than you ever thought you could encounter. Drive toward Homestead and look for the fruit stands or find an alligator park where you can go on an airboat ride. Prices vary in these part so do a little research but you can generally do most of the sightseeing in Everglades National Park area on your own and if you want a boat ride there are a few operators in the area offering the experience for reasonable prices.
The Florida Keys – Yes, you can drive all the way down to Key West in a day but I am thinking that you would not get enough out of the trip if it is a hurried excursion. Drive to Key Largo and see John Pennekamp State Park, find a place to swim near Mile Marker 88 and get to at least Seven Mile Bridge. Come to think of it if you get that far you might as well head al the way to El Siboney on Catherine in Key West and have some fried pork.
The sightseeing is free but the gas might drive your vacation costs up.