Thursday, March 29, 2012

Miami Spring Break

Miami is one of the hotspots for Spring Break, when college students flock to and invade the warmer states, notably Florida.It isn't everyone's piece of cake- if you are looking for a quiet and relaxed roadtrip with your motorhome hire, stay away! But if you're up for a little partying (or a LOT), why not join in? Who says you have to be a scantily-clad student to experience Spring Break!

Miami is more spread out than somewhere like New York, so there are RV Parks right in town in some places.This makes it easy to get in amongst your action whilst living in your motorhome! If you want to stay somewhere a little more peaceful and scenic, there are places such as the Miami Everglades Resort which have the best of both worlds.

When and where does the fun take place? Probably after 2pm, when the students make it out of bed and on to the beach.For the quintessential spring break beach, try Miami's South Beach for people-watching and strutting your stuff. There's a 'clothing optional' beach at Haulover Beach, for the naturalists among us. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park at the bottom of Key Biscayne has a beautiful beach and also a historical lighthouse which you can tour. Virginia Key Beach is also popular, located right off the I-95 across the Rickenbacker Causeway. There is of course also the main beach that runs in front of the Miami Beach city centre, from Bal Harbour down to South Point.

 Bill Baggs State Park
by Gopal Venkatesan Flickr Creative Commons

Miami Beach during Spring Break
by mojumbo22 Flickr Creative Commons

Next on the agenda is food- Miami's food is known for ethnic diversity so you can try whatever takes your fancy. Perricone's Marketplace is a favourite for Italian. and The Palm is a classic steakhouse. Miami is home to a number of Orthodox jews so you can easily go kosher. Iron sushi in South Beach is popular for a quick bite, and Cafe Charlotte is great for Argentine food at a good price. Just walk around when hunger strikes and you are sure to come across whatever cuisine you feel you want.

Nightlife is the reason that many visit Miami, especially during Spring Break season! Tobacco Road is an old favourite, no fills-style place with greasy hamburgers and live jazz. In South Beach, the Clevelander is iconic and hosts wild parties any night of the week. Just down the road, Mango's Tropical Cafe brings the latin beats. Mansion, an old movie theatre, is for the hardcore- it opens at 11pm and closes at 5am. Miami even has a club called BED that is full of actual beds, so you can lie down whilst sipping cocktails.

 Clevelander, South Beach
by yosemitewu65 Flickr Creative Commons

For the more typical tourist activities, or in between, bed, beach and nightclub, Miami has several things to offer. Zoo Miami is one, a cageless zoo with an exceptionally wide variety of critters from different continents.There is also a seaquarium, and of course the Everglades to get your nature fill- you can walk, canoe or take an airboat to get around this unique natural phenomena.

 Miami's Seaquarium
by smart destinations Flickr Creative Commons

So, if you want your US roadtrip to include a party, time it to include Miami in early May when most schools let out for Spring Break. It's certainly a memorable experience!

Have a look here for some great USA RV rental deals!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Winter Music Conference 2012!

WMC09 - Beatport Pool Party
By Vincent Escudero - Wikimedia Commons

Be in Miami for the Winter Music Conference 2012, held from March 16th-25th. 10 days of club events and parties at Miami Beach.

Top artists and DJ's from around the globe will perform live throughout Miami and performance venues and clubs in Miami Beach. These ten days of partying will offer non-stop talent and fun to be had.

The event kicks off with a pool party from 11am to 11pm on Friday March 16th.

Swedish House Mafia and Benny Benassi
By salanki - Flickr Commons

Travel in from out of Miami in an RV and have your accommodation, dressing room and transportation all sorted for the festivities. Check out more about the Winter Music Conference events. Find an RV at RV rental Sale Finder and be totally sorted for the vacation!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Everglades Roadtrip

Miami is a gateway to one of the most popular attractions in southern Florida, the Everglades. A motorhome rental or campervan hire trip is an excellent way of getting about and experience what the Everglades is about; of course, if you want to ‘test the water’ you’ll need a boat of some kind!

What are the Everglades?
The Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the US. A designated UNESCO World Heritage site, the park plays host to rare and endangered species with its International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance. It is over 2500 square miles of National Park.

Everglades National Park
by zqvol Flickr Creative Commons

What’s the best time of year to visit?
Probably the best time to visit is from December until April, this is when the temperatures are warm and pleasant. The average temperatures are between 77°F/25°C and 53°F/12°C; it’s rare, but cold fronts can sometimes produce near freezing conditions.

Summers are hot and humid, this is when temperatures are regularly in the 90°F/32°C region, but what’s probably more noticeable is the humidity, which can reach over 90%; it’s also when you will experience afternoon thunderstorms. June to November sees the hurricane season, and the rainy season, but of course it’s quieter as there are fewer tourists.

What is there to do?
With over half a million acres of the park being immersed, fishing is an extremely popular pastime in the Everglades National Park. There are opportunities for both fresh and saltwater fishing along the park's coastal zone; both require separate fishing licenses, so check out the details at one of the information centres if this is something you want to do. Fishing from the shore is limited; however, park waters have acres of water flats, channels, and mangroves where you can drop your line.

Walking trails. In many areas of the park walking trails allow you to explore diverse habitats. There are a large number of land trails, which range from gentle walks, to extended hikes, and bike trails. One thing to remember on the trails is that collecting plants and animals in the park is prohibited, and this includes orchids, seahorses, starfish, conch, coral, sponges, and driftwood (except for fuel), although you can collect one quart of non-occupied sea shells per person.

Explore Florida and Whitewater Bays, and the Ten Thousand Islands, each with its own unique characteristic and habitat, by boat, canoe, or kayak. The best way to enjoy the water is with a group as the waters of the Everglades include hazardous passes through banks of mud and sea grass. Other areas, especially in the Ten Thousand Islands, have oyster reefs and sandbars and your safety, and the protection of the areas underwater habitats, are essential and travelling with a guide is the best for everyone as they understand the scope and limits of your boat.

Ranger-led activities. Depending on the season there’s lots of choice when it comes to activities with the park rangers. Stop off at one of the visitor centres, and they will let you know what activities are taking place.

As well as the ranger led activities, there are other guided tour options such as boat tours, air boats, and tram tours, as well as kayak and canoe rental, and some excellent campsite facilities. So make sure you plan ahead and spend some time in one of Florida’s most popular parks on a miami motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday in Miami.

Scuba Diving and Snorkelling in Miami

Beautiful white sandy beaches, warm, clear water, and some excellent facilities make Miami the perfect place for taking to the water on a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday in Florida.

Miami is famous for being the best dive spot in Florida thanks to its artificial reefs; artificial they may be, but none the less exciting. Tugs, army tanks, aircraft, and ships, have all been sunk just off the coast attracting all kinds of coral and sea life, making this perfect diving country. Many people head for the Caribbean, but the waters around Miami are just as good if not better! They contain the same species of fish, and because of the Gulf Stream, the waters are warm and clear all year round.

by Matthew Hoelscher Flickr Creative Commons

A whole host of dive boats now operate out of Miami, and the good news is that because many of the dive sites are grouped together, you can usually get to visit more than one site during your dive. Most of the sites are aimed at intermediate and advanced divers, however, there are a couple which are also suitable for beginners and snorkelers too.

If you’re just interested in snorkeling try out Bache Shoal, the average water depth here is just 10 feet, and features a shallow patch of coral reef. The reef is mainly brain and boulder coral with some very colourful reef fish. The reef is considered to be one of the best places for snorkeling, especially with kids.

by Ines Hegedus-Garcia Flickr Creative Commons

For intermediates, the C-One, a US Navy tug sits on the bottom of the ocean, 25 meters down. This artificial reef, created in 1990, attracts hundreds of fish which include Barracuda, and if you’re feeling brave you can follow them through open portholes and explore within the vessel.

For advanced divers and photographers it has to be ‘Blue Fire’. The 175-foot passenger freighter was sunk here in 1983; seized by the US Coast Guard during the exodus from Cuba. The site is south of Miami, at a depth of 110 feet, the currents are strong here, so care should be taken. If you do check out this wreck you will be rewarded with an excellent experience, and you’ll also get to swim with some of the ‘big boys’, snapper, jacks, barracuda, and jewel fish.

If you’re not a PADI diver, but would like to have a go, many of the dive schools offer special packages which will allow you to become certified, and then experience some of the best reefs in the world. If you didn’t bring your kit with you, or you weren’t anticipating an exploration of the depths, don’t worry, the dive shops will soon have you kitted out and raring to going no time.

by Matthew Hoelscher Flickr Creative Commons

Miami’s dive sites are some of the best in the world, find out for yourself on a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday in the area.

Parks in Miami

Parks are popular places for residents and visitors to relax, keep fit, and learn with the family and in Miami, there are over 263 of them. So if you’re on a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday in Miami, check one out to see what makes them so popular.

Miami-Dade county has the third largest park system in the US, and its not all green grass with trees. There are education centres, animal parks, parks for tennis, golf, baseball, football and running, marinas and beaches, and there are also parks with campsites. Some of the most popular with visitors on a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday are:
  • Miami Zoo – The zoo covers more than 740-acres with mover 900 animals, all living without cages. The zoo has some excellent exhibits and zones such as the Amazon, with rare and endangered animals.
  • Deering Estate at Cutler - This historic 1922 stone mansion sits in 444 acres of parkland right on the bay. The park consists of areas with nature reserves, archaeological sites, and a small island, as well as a museum and an education centre.
  • Fruit and Spice Park – This 35-acre park is the only tropical garden of its kind in the US. It’s a horticulturalist’s dream, with more than 500 varieties of exotic fruits, vegetables, nuts, spices, and herbs.
  • Crandon Golf Course – This is one of southern Florida’s premier golf clubs. It is immaculately kept, and has its own wildlife as well as some incredible views.
  • Bayfront Park – This is one of Downtown’s largest parks with lots of activities. The park hosts the free DWTWN Concert Series, a weekly event in the amphitheatre; it’s also where America’s annual birthday bash takes place on Independence Day.
  • Bicentennial Park – This park holds many of the cities largest outdoor concerts including Lollapalooza, the Ultra Music Festival, the Vans Warped Tour, and the famous Cirque Du Soleil.
  • A.D. Barnes Park - A 65-acre park in the heart of the city, and home to ‘The Sense of Wonder Nature Centre’ with a trail through one of the last remaining pine rock lands the country. This is where you can watch migratory birds on the lake, and see the reptile collection of the Miami-Dade Fire Department’s Anti-Venom unit. This is the place to visit for snakes, birds, swimming, or even just a picnic.

Deering Estate
by Matthew Hoelscher Flickr Creative Commons

Bayfront Park
by Phillip Pessar Flickr Creative Commons

For visitors with a motorhome rental or campervan hire vehicle you can even stay in a real park, the Larry and Penny Thompson Park, 12451 SW 184 Street, Miami. The campground is adjacent to the Miami Zoo, with 270 acres of natural woodland, bridle, and hiking trails. The campground has 240 separate campsites with electric hook ups and water, large restroom and laundry facilities, camp shop, picnic spots, a large freshwater lake with its own beach and water slide. It’s popular, so don’t forget to book, especially in high season!

Miami Zoo Motorhome Roadtrip

With over 300 species of animal living outside of the usual cages, Miami Zoo is an exciting day out if you’re on a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday in Florida.

The 290 acre/116 hectare zoo keeps its animals and visitors separated by moats, so they can be as free as possible. As well as animals at a distance, you can also get up close with some of the inhabitants at the petting zoo, see some beautiful bird life at Jungle Island, and visit Monkey Jungle, where you’ll be the one behind bars whilst the primates roam free around you.

Facts and highlights:

  • There are over 3 miles of walkways.
  • More than 50 species represented by 2,000 animals.
  • See over 40 species considered to be on the endangered list.
  • Over 1,000 species of plants, palms, and trees.
  • The Eastern Orchid Society has hundreds of orchids and trees on display.
  • Visit Dr. Wildes World where up to 15,000 Italian honeybees are exhibited
  • Enjoy special exhibits and a dedicated children’s area.

Special Exhibits.

If Central and South America aren’t on your itinerary on this trip, then get an idea of what you’re missing out on at the Amazon and Beyond exhibit. Journey through the Central Village Plaza, the gateway to the jungle, then come across the misty Cloud Forest where you can hear Howler Monkeys in the treetops, see beautiful hummingbirds, snakes, and perhaps even the illusive Jaguar. As you move deeper into the forest, you come upon Amazonia, with its flooded forests and river, rich in birdlife and animals. The smell of vanilla, cocoa, and coffee fill the air, and just out of reach an anaconda, the world’s largest snake, electric eels, and the Orinoco Crocodile keep their beady eyes on visitors, whilst eagles soar overhead in the free flight enclosure. Finally, you reach the Pantal and the Atlantic Forest, where rare species of toad and frog, anteaters, and giant otters, are some of the animals and reptiles you'll come across.

Moving on from America to Asia, the American Bankers Family Aviary is where you can see real live dinosaurs, well, their descendants anyway. Learn how the tiny Mandarin Duck is related to the T-Rex, see skeletons, dinosaur footprints, and in the Observation Centre, see how aquatic birds swim and dive to catch their food. The aviary is the largest in the western hemisphere and home to over 70 species, including over 300 species of exotic and endangered Asian birds.

If you’re travelling with the family, an extremely popular part of the zoo is the Children’s Zoo. This is where the kids can meet strange and not so strange looking animals for some excellent photo opportunities. The Wacky Barn is where they can comb a sheep, watch the keepers train the horses, and even feed the animals. Probably one of the most popular exhibits is the Meerkat exhibit. Each day at 1230 dinner is served, and the family sit down to a tasty meal of grubs and crickets. As you would expect there are lots more rides, exhibitions and learning opportunities, as well as places to eat.

The park is open 365 days a year between 9:30am and 5:30pm, the perfect place to visit if you’re travelling with the family on a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday in Miami.

Miami Sports Roadtrip

With all that sunshine, warm water, and acres of space, Miami is the place for sports fans on a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday in Florida. Whether you enjoy watching the professionals, or taking part yourself, you can’t go wrong when it comes to every conceivable kind of sport. So, what’s your favourite?

Sun Life Stadium
by Lauren Mitchell Flickr Creative Commons

Professional Football- Miami is home to the Dolphins and the Hurricanes. The Dolphins are part of the AFC and the NFL; the highest level of football with 32 teams. They play their home games at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, in the northern suburbs of the city, a stadium which they also share with the Hurricanes. The season runs for 17 weeks starting in September, with games taking place once a week on a Thursday night. The Superbowl marks the culmination of the season.

If you're looking to experience NBA Professional Basketball, then check out Miami Heat. Their home games are played at the American Airlines Arena from October to April. If you can get to see a game against their biggest rivals the New York Knicks, the Chicago Bulls, or Orlando magic, you’ll be in for exciting times!

The Marlins are Miami’s home Baseball team. Their season runs from April until October at the brand new home ground of the Marlins Ballpark, which will open in 2012 on the site of the Miami Orange Bowl.

The Panthers are Miami’s professional Ice Hockey team. Their home stadium, the Bank Atlantic Center, sees action from October until April, the official ice hockey season. Being a hot and sunny kind of place they hold the title of being the most southerly team in the NHL.

Away from team sports, thoroughbred racing is also a popular sporting activity, and Miami is home to two racecourses- the Calder Racecourse, and the Gulfstream Park. The Gulfstream Park is home to the $1,000,000 Florida Derby, and the season runs from December to April.

If golf is your thing, Miami has over 30 private and public golf courses and over 250 tennis courts if you prefer a different kind of swing. Finally, if you’re not into outdoor sports, then what about Jai Alai. Jai Ali is a ‘big thing’ in Miami; it’s a game from the Basque country, similar to squash, and involves bouncing a ball off a wall. It’s known as the fastest sport in the world, with balls reaching a top speed of 302km/h or 188 mph, and competitors use some rather oddly shaped basket rackets.

It’s not just ball games, all kinds of sports are enjoyed in Miami, here’s a list of some of the principal sporting events.

January - Miami Marathon.

March - Grand Prix, World Championship Golf, and the Sony Ericsson Open Tennis Championship.

April - Swim Miami, and the Miami Beach Polo World Cup.

June- The Powerboat Challenge.

July – The Internatioanl Judo Federation World Cup.

September – The Miami Triathalon.

November - NASCAR weekend.

Nascar Track
by Katy Warner Flickr Creative Commons

For all kinds of sports fans, a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday in Miami has endless possibilities to get involved, and to follow sport, all year round.