South Beach, Miami, Florida – June 2000

Summer Stuff
Summer in South Beach is on its way, and the official Summer “Season” is coming soon. But for the moment – post-Memorial Day to around the middle of June, at least – things are relatively quiet around here. So I thought I would take a portion of this month’s guide to provide some general information on the Summer Season and what visitors to South Florida and South Beach can expect during the next few months.

Summer has two main benefits for travellers to South Florida. First is the prices. Summer prices on many hotels are quite a bit less expensive than in the winter, and if you’re on a budget, this can be a big help. The second advantage is that everything from restaurants to tourist attractions are less crowded during the summer.

So for those travellers who like their vacations a little quieter than the usual lively pace of South Beach, now might be a good time to visit. Things will begin to pick up a little speed toward the end of June, when many families with schoolchildren will take their vacations here, but even then, the pace will be more mellow than in the winter.

Keep a few things in mind when planning your summer vacation to South Beach. As hurricane season officially begins this month, the weather will become a little more humid and afternoon thunderstorms will become more frequent. But don’t worry; the chances of a hurricane actually hitting during your visit are tiny. And if one does by chance head this way, probably no place on earth is as well-prepared for them as we are here. Just keep an eye on the news from time to time and you should be fine.

Hurricanes aside, the weather phenomenon you’ll want to pay most attention to while planning a summer vacation in South Florida is the humidity. Anything under 80% isn’t too bad, as long as the temperature doesn’t go extremely high, say into the upper 90’s. If the humidity is forecasted to be above 90%, however, you might want to plan your outdoor activities for earlier in the morning and later in the evening.

This type of weather lasts throughout the summer season, which goes to mid-August. Hurricane season actually lasts through November, but by then the weather has cooled off some. For now, though, expect average daily temperatures ranging from the mid- to upper-70’s to the mid- to upper 80’s, with the thermometer occasionally reaching past 90. If you plan ahead and don’t try to do too much in the heat of the day, you can have a wonderful, crowd-free summer vacation in South Beach and save some money, too!

June Events
Father’s Day in the U.S. is June 18th, so we’ll look at a few things you can do (with or without Dad!) in and around South Beach this month.

Whose father doesn’t like baseball? (Mine, for one, but that’s another story…) As you may or may not know, Miami is home to a major league baseball team, the Florida Marlins. If you don’t mind venturing off the Beach for a few hours, you could have a great time watching our loveable Marlins participate in America’s favorite pastime.

In fact, you could have a REALLY great time if you’re a fan of the Braves, Expos or Mets, if you get my drift… Just kidding 🙂 As of press time, the Marlins aren’t even in last place!

If all this has you dying to catch a Marlins game, here’s the home schedule for June:

2nd – Toronto Blue Jays, at 7:05 p.m.;
3rd – Blue Jays at 7:05 p.m.;

4th – Blue Jays at 4:05 p.m.;

5th – Boston Red Sox at 7:05 p.m.;

6th – Red Sox at 7:05 p.m.;

7th – Red Sox at 7:05 p.m.;

19th – Milwaukee Brewers at 7:05 p.m.

All home games are played at Pro Player Stadium, at 2269 NW 199th Street
Miami, FL 33056. Call (305) 623-6100 for ticket prices, more info, and to verify game times, as they occasionally change.

South Florida Boat Show
Your dad will love this! South Florida’s annual Boat Show will take place, as usual, at the Miami Beach Convention Center, at 1901 Convention Center Drive, in South Beach. This year the show runs from June 1st through the 5th. They have everything from those super-fast, super-loud cigarette boats you hear cruising up and down the beach to the latest in high-tech boat equipment. For more info call Brad Michael at (954) 946-6165.

Championship Boxing
If dad’s a boxing fan, look no further! Come to fabulous Ocean Drive and 13th Street in South Beach for Fox Sports Latin America’s Championship Boxing on the Beach, featuring men’s (and women’s!!) championship boxing. Saturday, June 10th. For more info including ticket prices, call Lana Keeton at (305) 534-2110.

Op Sail 2000
This one’s pretty cool, with or without your father. Come to South Pointe Park – that’s the one at the southernmost tip of the island of South Beach – and watch beautiful ships sail past, through the waterway called Government Cut. The event lasts from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., so bring a picnic lunch, sit in the sand, and wait for your ship to come in!

Dannon Beach Soccer Series
Come to still-fabulous Ocean Drive, this time between 8th and 9th Street, to watch teams compete in this two-day soccer tournament. June 24 through 25, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more info call Garry Hallas at (561) 241-3801.

Comedy at the Jackie Gleason Theater
After an early dinner, check out the Jackie Gleason Theater on Friday, June 9, when Ellen Degeneres will be in town for a live, one-night-only comedy performance. 8:00 p.m., at 1700 Washington Avenue in South Beach. Tickets $27.75 to $37.75. For more info call (305) 535-0255.

Nightlife and Entertainment

11th Street Diner
Why not take Dad to dinner in this classic Art Deco dining car? Yes, the kind from a train. It sits at 1065 Washington Avenue in South Beach – you can’t miss it – and serves classic diner fare, 24 hours a day.

Try their burgers, BLTs, or a Blue Plate Special, and top it off with a brownie hot fudge sundae or a thick milkshake or malt. Most everything is good. An adjoining room also features a full-service bar and a jukebox, or you can even sit outside. A typical meal will run $10 to $15. (305) 534-6373.

If you want something a little less casual than the diner for one of your evenings in South Beach, try NOA, a trendy Asian-style restaurant on fashionable Lincoln Road. NOA specializes in noodles, but they have many other selections, including fresh salads, excellent pork dumplings, and an unusual but tasty crispy duck. While their foods are Asian-inspired, the chefs bring their own flair to many of the dishes. While you’re there, be sure to take in the sleek and sophisticated decor, a treat in itself. A typical meal will run about $20 to $25. 801 Lincoln Road; (305) 925-0050.

A few words on South Beach…

First, the name: The official name of this lovely city that sits on a barrier island, separating Biscayne Bay from the Atlantic Ocean is Miami Beach. This is not to be confused with Miami proper, that sits on the mainland.

Miami Beach is divided into North Miami Beach (above 25th Street), and the hippest, hottest part, known as South Miami Beach, or just South Beach (25th and below).

In the tradition of SoHo, SoCal and others, South Beach is frequently shortened to SoBe.

Getting Here
South Beach is about ten miles east of the Miami International Airport. In your rental car, exit the airport, following the blue “#2” signs toward the beaches.

After a 50-cent toll, the road will become Interstate 195 and eventually the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Stay to your right and exit Alton Road south.

Or, tell your taxi driver you want to go to South Beach and for a flat rate of $24 he or she will do the driving while you sit back and enjoy the view.

The Weather
After all, that’s why we’re here. Okay, that’s why I’m here.

The weather, in general, is beautiful. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind. While winter is glorious and temperatures are just about perfect most days, the summer can be a bit warm, not to mention humid, so keep that in mind when packing.

Temperatures generally range from 63 to 88°F (17 to 28°C). Finally, be aware that hurricane season runs from May to November. While the chances of having your trip disrupted by one of these swirling tropical phenomena are small, you will likely notice lower rates on everything from airfare to hotel rooms. So that’s a plus for you bargain hunters.

To rent a car, or not to rent. Basically, it depends on what you want to do while you’re here.

If you want to spend most of your time in the cafes, nightclubs, and sitting on the world-famous beaches, renting a car is probably not worth the expense and hassle. Parking in the Art Deco district can be very difficult, and it will cost you.

If you do want to go to the mainland, out to the keys, or somewhere else that would make a cab unfeasible, consider renting a car for a day or two. There are several rental agencies right in South Beach.

You can spend as much money as you want on a vacation in South Beach. That’s probably not what most folks are interested in doing, though.

For those of you looking for something other than the $2,200 a night penthouse at the Delano, there are some less expensive options.

If hosteling is your thing, there are a couple:

  • Banana Bungalow at 2360 Collins Ave. (800/7-HOSTEL or 305/538-1951) and the
  • Clay Hotel & International Hostel at 1438 Washington Ave. (305/534-2988).

    Prices are similar at both, with dorm beds ranging from $12 to $16 per person per night, depending on season, and rooms starting at around $40 to $50. From there, the prices go up. And up, and up. Check the monthly articles in this site periodically for reviews on some of the better bargains.

    As far as food is concerned, a similar concept applies. You can expect to be able to find lunch for about $5 in any number of places, ranging from pastry shops to delis to the News Cafe on Ocean Drive. (The last is one of those must-see fixtures of South Beach.) Expect to pay a bit more for dinner, or investigate some of the many family-run bodegas in the area and make your own!

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    About the Author
    Judy Davis is currently living in South Beach, fulfilling her lifelong dream of achieving that perfect shade of bronze that native Floridians always seem to have.

    In her spare time she writes novels and short fiction and plans the latest in an ongoing series of vacations.