I have a new goal – hit 30 states by the time I’m 30. I’m already at 23, so it’s seems like an easy accomplish, minus the fact that I live in California where getting to new states is a bit of a commitment.
State number 23 was Florida, and boy was it fun. Miami isn’t like any other place in the U.S. I’ve seen. It’s a whole different lifestyle from dress to mindset.
Obviously, one of the first things we did was take one of those fan boats in the everglades. What a cool experience! You definitely have to try.
Facts about the Everglades I didn’t know:
- It’s actually quite shallow, reaching your knees or thighs depending on your height.
- The Everglades is not a swamp, as often described. Instead, it is actually a very moving river.
- It is the only place in the world that the American Crocodile and American Alligator co-exists, mostly in Southern Florida.
- Nearly 50% of it has already been drained or destroyed by construction. The U.S. government almost immediately passed legislation to drain it upon Florida’s statehood.
- One of the biggest threats to the ecosystem are actually pythons. Non-native to the area, the thousands of pythons in the Everglades are a result of accidental or intentional releases by pet owners. These snakes eat mammals, birds, and occasionally alligators reeking havoc by competing with the natural predators of the area.
We also got to see an alligator up close. Given the incident with the boy at Disneyworld, it was a bit nerve -wracking, but also kind of cool. Our guide even started petting its nose!
You’ll see lots of wildlife by taking one of these boats. We found one male bird defending his nest while the momma bird was off hunting. We could hear her chirping and see the eggs, but she wouldn’t come out of the bush while we were there.
We also saw baby alligators. They’re like tiny dinosaurs. Alligators lay about 20-49 eggs, but only 3-4 of them will make it to adulthood because of predators like birds.
I love taking those city bus tours. I think it’s a great way to see different spots and neighborhoods while learning about the history of the city. I particularly enjoy riding a full route, then going back to the most interesting one for deeper exploration.
The coolest neighborhood in Miami is definitely Wynwood. To try and rehabilitated an neglected area, developers and artist worked together to breath life into Wynwood through art. Old warehouses were converted into galleries. Factories became performing art studios. Artists decorate the buildings with beautiful urban style art. There’s even an art walk called the Wynwood Walls. It’s absolutely a stunning neighborhood and a great way to transform an area.
We did, of course, also go to South Beach and see the art deco scene and enjoy the beach. But Wynwood will be a unique place to add to your list.
Here are some of my favorite walls.
Food to Try
Italian: Café Abbracci – A nice, intimate atmosphere (that reminds me of the Russian Tea Room in NYC) with wonderful food. I highly recommend the lobster ravioli, but the pink sauce on both the tortellini “Tatiana” and penne alla vodka is delicious as well. Definitely order the profiteroles for dessert. The perfect ending to your evening.
Seafood: BrickTop’s – An odd combination of flavors (American-Asian fusion almost), but absolutely delicious. I recommend starting with the Fig & Prosciutto Flatbread or Spinach Dip. The sushi is fun and not completely typical. Carful though – some of the sauces are spicy. And you should order the mac & cheese to share. Yum!
Crab: If you get to go to Joe’s Stone Crab, let me know how it is! It’s only open for dinner, so we couldn’t fit it in, but everyone raves about it.