Known for its all-night parties, stunning beaches, and Art Deco architecture, Miami Beach is the perfect destination for spring breakers seeking a fun beach vacation to let loose. Whether you want to soak up the sun, visit the world-class museums, or party with friends, Miami has it all. It's also one of the busiest times of year to visit, so if you're planning on spending spring break in Miami Beach, here's what you need to know.
Miami Beach vs. South Beach
When it comes to spring break in Florida, South Beach often gets all the fame and attention. You've probably seen photos and videos from the action on the beach and know just how wild things can get.
Miami Beach is just as fun, but it's a little more chilled out than South Beach. You'll find the prices are more affordable, the parties aren't as huge, and the scene is more about relaxing by the pool than drinking until you pass out.
Whether you decide to go to South Beach or Miami Beach depends a lot on what you're looking for. The good news is that regardless of which one you choose, they're only a few minutes from each other by taxi. You could quite easily base yourself on Miami Beach to save money and have better odds of getting a good night's sleep while spending your days partying on South Beach with everyone else.
How to Get There
Miami Beach is accessible from both Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. If you're traveling on a budget, though, the best option is Miami International Airport since you can take a bus directly from the airport to Miami Beach. It's also much closer, so if you choose to go by taxi or ride-share, you'll pay about $30 from Miami Airport as opposed to roughly $100 from Fort Lauderdale.
When should you fly into Fort Lauderdale? When you find an incredibly cheap flight to that airport. If the price difference to fly to Fort Lauderdale is greater than $70, you may be better off going for that option.
How to Get Around
If you're staying in the northern neighborhoods of Miami Beach, you should look into hiring a rental car for your stay or you'll quickly rack up charges when using taxis. If you're planning on staying at the southern end of the city, you'll find it easily walkable. You'll be able to wander along Collins Avenue, Ocean Drive, Washington Avenue, and Lincoln Road, a street converted into an outside mall. The South Beach Local bus makes stops every couple of blocks and runs at 10-minute intervals. The buses are air-conditioned with friendly drivers and are the cheapest option for navigating South Beach.
Alternatively, Uber and Lyft both operate in Miami and usually offer a better (and more affordable) experience to the taxis.
Where to Stay
South Beach is the most famous part of Miami and you'll be surrounded by gorgeous Art Deco buildings and plenty of bars. The downside to this area being the most popular during spring break is that it's also the most expensive area to stay in. If you're coming to Miami Beach to party, though, and you can afford the steep rates you'll pay to stay in a hotel, this area is perfect. More affordable options are available, but they'll likely be the first ones to book up.
But there's more to Miami than just Miami Beach. For shopping and a touch of luxury, opt for Downtown Miami, full of shops, luxurious hotels, and towering glass skyscrapers. Coconut Grove and the Design District are both home to artists and fashion designers, perfect for those who prefer galleries over nightclubs. For something a little different to the stereotypical Miami Beach scene, opt to stay in Little Havana, the Cuban district.
Your Guide to Nightlife in Miami Beach
Miami Beach's nightlife is known the world over, so relish your opportunity to experience it for yourself. South Beach is the best when it comes to nightclubs and where you'll find the "spring breakers," so aim to base yourself in the neighborhood if that's your plan. Clubs stay open until 5 a.m. and then reopen a few hours later, so be sure to pace yourself!
If clubbing isn't your style, you'll be able to find pubs, cocktail lounges, rooftop pool parties, and even a ping-pong lounge within walking distance. No matter what you're looking for here, you'll find it. Culture, shopping, or partying, Miami Beach really does have it all.
How to Museum Hop the City
Inject some culture into your vacation with a visit to some of Miami Beach's top museums. At the north end of Miami Beach, you'll find the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is well worth a visit. The exhibitions are regularly rotated so each visit offers a different experience than the last—perfect for museum lovers who return to the area every year for spring break.
If you decide to venture over to South Beach, there are several world-class museums worth exploring. The Bass Museum of Art in South Beach specializes in art from around the world, with its permanent exhibits featuring anything from Haitian voodoo artists to 16th-century Flemish tapestries. Also found in South Beach is the unique World Erotic Art Museum, which holds the world's largest collection of erotic artwork and is definitely worth a visit with friends!
Money Saving Tips
Miami is expensive during spring break, and there's no way around it. Between buying overpriced drinks or forking over cover charges to get into clubs, don't expect it to be the most budget-friendly trip. That being said, there are ways to minimize the damage done on your bank account.
- Prices skyrocket at this time of year, so do bear in mind you'll have to pay an awful lot more for flights and accommodations. Weekends are the busiest time for arrivals around spring break, so look for flights that arrive and depart mid-week for potential savings.
- If you arrive at Miami Airport, the MetroBus goes from the airport directly to Miami Beach and costs just $2.25 each way, by far the cheapest method of transportation.
- Research hotel prices and see if it's really worth staying in the Miami Beach neighborhood. You'll save money booking a hotel away from the nightlife scene, but if you plan to spend your night there anyway, you may end up eating the difference in taxi rides back to your accommodations.
- If you plan on visiting lots of attractions in the Miami area other than the beach, look into the GO Miami Card. You pay for the card and then get free admission into a number of attractions around South Florida, from Everglade tours to jet boat rides.