Our trip to Buenos Aires and Uruguay was lovely. My daughter and I spent four days in the Argentine capital before exploring both Colonia del Sacramento and Montevideo. Our trip came to a close by flying American Airlines 767 business class back to the U.S.
But things weren’t over yet. Rather than head all the way home to California, I decided to plan a stopover in Miami. Our tickets home were booked as two different awards, so adding a day really didn’t matter. And rather than give us a rushed eight hours or so on the beach, I made it an overnight so we could enjoy the time. No plans. Just relaxation.
Two Different Mornings
Since we’d landed so early, the sun wasn’t even up when we got to our hotel. Even after deplaning, passing through immigration, and even completing a Global Entry interview, we hopped on the public bus from MIA to Miami Beach at 5:20 AM. It dropped us off literally across the street from our hotel. I cannot overstate both the value and convenience.
The Confidante Miami Beach was awesome and let us check in immediately. My daughter and I had wildly different plans for the morning. She collapsed into bed, exhausted after not sleeping much on the flight. Business class may be wasted on her since all she wants to do is watch movies while flying.
I was feeling pretty good for only a few hours of sleep. After showering I headed to the beach to watch the sunrise. And man was it a lovely one. I was thrilled we’d arrived so early.
The breeze, the sound of the surf, the perfect temperature at 7:00 in the morning. I could get used to Florida. Or at least Florida in the spring. Orlando in May (my only other time in Florida) was a bit stickier and not as pleasant. This was utterly amazing.
I’m not really a “beach guy”, probably due to the fact I live four miles from the ocean and hardly spend any time there. It’s generally miserable. The cold wind, the sand, and the frigid Pacific water don’t really make it a pleasant experience. You have to choose the loveliest of days for it to be enjoyable.
My daughter woke up a little after 9:00, after which we grabbed a late breakfast across the street, and then started our day.
From the Pool to the Beach
The Confidante is a resort hotel with a couple pools, and this was the first place my daughter wanted to go. We headed down, but man was it packed. With a waiting list for pool chairs and a couple dozen kids in the water at any given time, the place was a bit of a madhouse. Remind me not to visit during Spring Break again.
We swam for a while. We, she did. I jumped in once and then went and lounged in the sun once we actually had some chairs. Turns out they aren’t first-com, first-serve, and staff will very obviously tell you that. Whoops. Very much not used to a hotel like this. What irks me is that people would rent chairs early and then not sit in them for hours. If there’s a system, fine. But don’t abuse it. Just because you want to have a chair when you arrive at 1:00 PM doesn’t mean you go snag it at 11:00 AM.
We headed to the beach a couple hours later. The Confidante also runs their own beach kiosk and provides chairs and umbrellas. Everything costs money. Luckily, our two chairs are rolled into the resort fee, which was waived on our stay since I was using an award night.
I’m sure those of you who enjoy swimming in the ocean know how refreshing it is. I’ve had so few times where it is truly enjoyable that it is still a thrill for me. We enjoyed a couple days at a Costa Rican resort in 2017 when we were in-country adopting our kids. It was a fun getaway together, and they loved it as well. I need to get more islands and beach locales on my travel wish list.
Exploring Miami Beach on Foot
Before I got completely and utterly burnt, we called it a day in the water. We’d have almost the entire next day to enjoy the sun and sand as well, and I convinced my daughter that we should walk a bit around Miami Beach. We’d also grab dinner along the way. We headed down along one of the waterways, looping back up to 41st Street where they have this welcome mural.
What I didn’t realize is that we don’t need to explore on foot. As we walked, I noticed a couple trolleys. The Miami Beach trolley network is completely free and run by the city. You can get around with ease, whether its within South Beach, Mid-Beach, or North Beach. There is an express trolley that let’s you transit between the different sections of the city, running north-south along Collina Avenue. After dinner, we hopped on the trolley and stepped off just a block from our hotel.
Doing It All Over Again
Day two was basically a repeat of the first. For me, coffee and a 6:00 AM stroll along the boardwalk were in order. My daughter wanted to catch up on sleep. She’s twelve, but going on sixteen. Or so it seems sometimes. Heaven help me in two years.
The surf was rough and high that morning, and would continue to be so when we headed out to the beach later. It was too tumultuous for me to be comfortable swimming. Of course, others were doing so, and I may have if it was just me. But I didn’t want to have to be constantly worried about my daughter. We’d have to head to the pool first that day, although we both preferred the ocean.
Water Here, Water There
With a solid layer of clouds overhead, the pool wasn’t nearly as popular a place. There wasn’t any competition for chairs like the previous day. It turned out to be quite nice. As anything more than ~45 minutes of sun will start to burn me (I hate using sunblock), I spent the first part of the time with my daughter in the pool before retiring to a chair in the partial shade of the palms. Once the sun peeked out again, everyone was back.
Luckily, the ocean wasn’t as rough in the afternoon, so we were able to enjoy the waves some more. Florida, how I will miss you. We need to head back as a family. My only fear is that visiting the Sunshine State will mean one thing to the kids: Disney World. I’ll need to make sure we visit somewhere far, far away from Orlando.
Off to Fort Lauderdale Airport!
As our final day drew to a close, we packed up and headed off to Fort Lauderdale airport. It’s a pretty good distance from Miami Beach, but if you don’t mind an extended transit time, you can actually get between the two pretty easily. Unfortunately, the day wouldn’t end well, as our flight to SFO ended up being very delayed. But our experience in Miami itself was quite fun.