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  • Family Travel: Welcome to Miami

    Beautiful and family-friendly Miami makes for a perfect vacation destination for families looking for fun, sun, and plenty of adventure and activity

    By Jana Beauchamp

    poolside cabanas

    After a long, chilly NYC winter, ‘tis the season to head to Miami, FL, for some Vitamin D therapy. With world-famous shopping, dining, culture, and breathtaking ocean beaches, it’s the ideal spot for families looking to experience the anti-winter in the best way.

    Stay

    We were given a warm welcome to Miami at The Loews Miami Beach, an ultimate family-friendly property. The Loews features new guestrooms, delicious dining with ocean views, Exhale Spa+Fitness, picture-perfect poolscape, private beach access, and a beach-themed Kids Club.

    The recently renovated hotel is sparkling and modern and also welcoming and fun (think aquarium window walls in the entry). We love that the resort has room types (connecting, suites, etc.) to accommodate all families and their four-legged fur babies, too! Our guest rooms had ample space, beautiful ocean views, and everything a family could need (from cribs to kid-friendly games and more). There’s good reason they say Loews loves kids and Loews loves pets!

    Start your day by heading to the hotel pool – you’ll thank us later. Soak in the South Beach sunshine at the zero-entry, oceanfront pool that has noodles, pool toys, and pop fountains, allowing for some super fun fountain hopping. Then take a short walk from the pool to the private beach for loungers and umbrellas and dips in the ocean.  There’s a kids area full of larger than life games (like Connect Four and Jenga) plus sand castle building pails and shovels. There are also free kayak, paddle board, boogie board, and banana boat rides for hotel guests. Parents can also drop the kids off at the SOBE Kids Club to enjoy a larger-than-life indoor lifeguard hut, areas for crafts, TV time, video games, and indoor and outdoor adventures. Then parents can retreat to the Exhale Spa + Fitness or head poolside to a SOAK adults-only cabana for a mojito.

    All that activity is sure to work up an appetite. The on-site dining at Lure Fishbar will please even your pickiest family member (like tuna tacos, chicken lollipops, and daurade). Preston’s breakfast buffet was a favorite each morning since kids are greeted with a good morning treat (like wiki sticks and stuffed animals) and then enjoy the breakfast buffet complete with chocolate chip pancakes, fruit kebabs, and Nutella waffles. To get a taste of Miami flavors without leaving the property stop by the Miami Joe Coffee Co. Our favorites were the Azucar Ice Cream and Zak the Baker artisanal breads.

    Explore

    Off property, visit Jungle Island for a most memorable eco-adventure with animals from all over the world. Sign up for the Go Wilder VIP Tour, ask for awesome VIP tour guide Ryan Jacobs to get his insights on these amazing creatures, and prepare to feel like Jungle Island royalty. There’s a reason celebrities like Beyoncé and Shakira and foreign royalty come to Jungle Island. Embark on unique and amazing animal adventures like playing with lemurs, feeding alligators, and petting an Andean condor. Plus, there’s a whole new and exciting Adventure Bay that includes zip lining, superflight, and escape rooms, oh my! Everyone can get an adrenaline rush.

    Our first hands-on experience was with lovable lemurs. We entered their nursery and they came running out to greet us and we fed and played them as they jumped around and landed on top of our heads. The queen lemur Ellie visited the crown of my little one’s head! A most memorable stop was to visit Darnell the Alligator. Jungle Island is the only park where you can feed alligators with a feeding hook. My daring little lady didn’t hesitate to take the chance to feed the gator and it was extraordinary. Darnell chomped at her fish and she absolutely loved it. Another huge draw is to touch the white collar of an Andean condor. We learned that children who do this are to have lifelong luck and prosperity. The VIP experience was off the charts with everyone feeling the love of the animals and having unforgettable memories with them to treasure.

    For a one-of-a-kind cultural experience visit the urban graffiti art at Wynwood Walls. This art installation has covered over 80,000 square feet of walls and brought over 50 of the world’s greatest artists, representing 16 countries working in the graffiti and street art genre to Miami. We felt very cool and cultured walking through one of the country’s hippest neighborhoods. Walking through is a feast for the eyes and the mind. Prepare to take in murals from cute monster mash ups to cartoon riffs and lots of other eye candy. We especially loved an inspiring “Hello, Beautiful” mural. Other hands-on educational and cultural experiences abound at the Miami Children’s Museum, the Everglades, and the Frost Science Center.

    Wine and Dine

    We had the most epic lunch at the Sugar Factory Miami. The insanely cool and delectable drinks (like Sour Apple Lolly and S’Mores Martini) and food (like the Mac-and-Cheese Burger and Fried Chicken and Waffles) kept coming and coming. The biggest hit was the totally Insane Milkshakes – they were yummy and instagramable shakes. The Tie Dye that had vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream, cotton candy, pop rocks and candy necklaces. Even the glass itself was coated with chocolate and candies to eat. We dined on everything from a Pacific Salmon to Nutella strawberry pancakes and from pizzas to rainbow sliders (think burgers with buns in every color of the rainbow). Each and every plate was delish and tantalized our taste buds. It was truly out of this world!

    For dinner we recommend visiting Joe’s Stone Crab. It’s a culinary experience not to miss with grown-ups loving the waiters sporting tuxes with red bow ties and embellished crab pins and the kids loved the crab coloring pages and crayons. Plus, the fun bow tie crab bibs were a hit with the grown-ups and kids alike. The kids even were encouraged to wear the bib backward to be a superhero! Everyone loved the exceptional cuisine. Plan to go early and everyone must have the stone crabs. You should also order the crunchy kale salad, fan fave kids fish fingers, the fried chicken, and the famous key lime pie for dessert.

    After experiencing a taste of summer in Miami and returning to slush and snow at home, you should definitely book your next trip now.

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