Miami, Keys, Everglades

Since in 2014 I’ve spent my New Year’s eve in NYC, therefore a very cold destination, for 2015 I’ve decided to go south for a roadtrip and it was a perfect choice because it happened to be one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. Moreover that year there was a particularly warm winter and we even had the chance to sunbathing and swimming!
Our vacation lasted a week and we were a group of three. Below the itinerary:

DAY 1 26/12
We took separate flights, so our meeting point was the rental office. We decided to rent the car for the whole week because we were planning to drive many miles. The price was about 300$-400$ for the whole week
ENTERPRISE – 400 SE 2nd Avenue, MIAMI, FL 33131-2140 Phone: (305) 379-3003
After picking up the car we spent the afternoon touring Miami
WYNWOOD WALLS – 2520 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127
MIAMI CITY HALL – 3500 Pan American Dr., Miami, FL 33133

DAY 2 27/12
Our second day was dedicated to the Everglades.
We booked an airboat tour and then we toured the whole park.
BUFFALO TIGERS AIRBOAT TOURS – 29701 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33194
It was an amazing tour and I truly recommend it. Our guide was awesome and we saw the alligators very close. We rode through different kind of vegetation and we had time to take many pics.
We paid a ticket for the admission to the park and the visitor center is right after the entrance. There we got a map, in which the road was shown as well as all the most important spots to take pics.
We drove all the way to the end (it took us about 4 hours), where the Flamingo Visitor Center was located and we stopped at every view point. It is impressive how many different landscapes you can find along the way.

DAY 3 28/12
JOHN PENNEKAMP CORAL REEF STATE PARK – 102 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037 (Admission 9.50$)
It was our first day at the beach, the weather was amazing and so was the water. Emerald and transparent. My friend and I decided, in the afternoon, to go kayaking and it was the best thing we could have done there. After renting the kayak we got a map with a trail and there where parts between/under the mangroves. It was beautiful.

DAY 4 29/12
BAHIA HONDA STATE PARK – 36850 Overseas Hwy.,Big Pine Key, FL 33043 (Admission 8$)
It was my favorite beach and park. The beach was with white soft sand, and the water was crystal blue and very warm.
Walking around was also enjoyable and there was a high bridge that you could walk up to have a skyline view. We went there at sunset and was really nice.

DAY 5 30/12
For our third day a the Keys, we drove all the way at the end of the highway where Key West is located. The first thing we did was parking and do the check in, then we started touring the town. Something really curious was that here and there free chickens were wandering around!
DUVAL STREET – it is the main street and it is full of shops.
FORT ZACHARY TAYLOR – 601 Howard England Way – 33040 Key West (FL)
We spent part of the afternoon here. The tour in the fort is kinda short but enjoyable and next to it there is a nice beach.
That day the ocean was rough and not very clean, so we only sunbathed on the shore. The vegetation all around gives a wild touch.
MALLORY SQUARE – Probably the busiest square with stands and shops all over. People also perform live.
HISTORIC SEAPORT – 201 William St, Key West, FL 33040-6630

DAY 6 31/12
Our plan for New year’s eve was looking at the fireworks on a Yacht while touring Miami’s bay.
Before leaving the keys to go back to Miami, we stop at the last attractions.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY’S HOUSE – 907 Whitehead St – 33040 Key West (FL)
KEY WEST LIGHTHOUSE – 938 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040
SOUTHERNMOST POINT – Whitehead Street, Key West, FL 33040
YACHT MUSSETTE – Eden Roc Dock 4525 Collins Avenue Miami, FL
It was a very good deal. For a little bit more than 100$ we got dinner (that I also found filling and tasting), free open bar and dj set all night.
It was a warm night, so after dinner we went upstairs and between one drink and another we enjoyed the tour of the bay. At midnight fireworks got shoot and after celebrating we came back to the dock.
I really enjoyed it and I definitely recommend it.

DAY 7 1/01
After celebrating all night we just wanted to relax on a beach all day, therefore the first day of the new year was all for Miami Beach and at night we went on a rooftop bar for a nice view. There is only one long endless beach in Miami Beach, so after walking the main street we picked a whatever spot on the shore.
FREEDOM TOWER – 600 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL
ART DECO HISTORIC DISTRICT – 1001 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
ROOFTOP AREA 31 EPIC HOTEL – (16Th floor) 270 Biscayne boulevard way
The location and the view were both amazing. The atmosphere was also quite and relaxing, so it was perfect to end our day.

DAY 8 2/01
Our flight was late at night, therefore we had the opportunity to spend one last day at the beach and in the afternoon we dropped the car back to the rental.
VIRGINIA KEY BEACH PARK – 4020 Virginia Beach Dr, Miami, FL 33149
Even if it is right outside Miami it is a quite a nice natural park. We took a walk along the shore and partially in the woods. The trail was easy and really nice. For lunch we came back to the main shore and had lunch there. Many other people were grilling or celebrating a birthday, but even with that it was a quiet place and it was actually a pity we had to leave after lunch.

26/12 AirBnB
It was an horrible place, we were three and the apt was for only 2. It was dirty and not equipped at all. We didn’t even have pillows or silverware for all of us. Not even kitchen cloths!
27-28-29/12 AirBnB
Our host was super nice. It was late our first night, because of work, but when he arrived he was very welcoming. The Kitchen was well equipped and we could use even the fridge, the room was clean and we had a shared bathroom we only another room. His roommates were really quiet and I recommend stay here.
30/12 NYAH – 420 Margaret Street
It is supposed to be an hostel, but it was incredibly fancy and chic. Pools, Rooms new and super clean, breakfast was included. Even if it seems pricy, it is in line with other structures. I definitely recommend it.
31/12 – 1/01 AirBnb
We booked a room right outside Miami in a very residential area. Our host was an elderly man with a dog, but he was very welcoming. Our room was big and we had a shared bathroom. He met us half way so that we could do the check in first part of the afternoon.

KEY LIME PIE: It is typical dessert of the keys and since our home owner in key largo, owns a restaurant located near the park we stopped there for a slice.
CONCH FRITTERS: Red Fish Blue Fish – 407 Front St, Key West, FL 33040
Since it was our only dinner at the restaurant and we were at the keys, we had to have fish. We really liked the food here, it was good, not greasy and it was affordable. Service also was good. We ordered the conch as an appetizer since they are a local dish.
PUBLIX: The rest of the vacation we wanted to save as much as possible and since every house had a fridge and a kitchen we went grocery shopping. Also one of us was following a gluten free diet and that was the best solution because everybody could eat what wanted to. We really liked shopping at Publix, because they had good fresh food, including veggies, and there was good choice of products.


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