7 Ways to Play Tourist for a Day in Miami by Land & Sea

You live here, but like most people you probably frequent the same old spots. Maybe don’t know Miami as well as you wish you did. If you want to rediscover the 305, this list has you covered whether it’s walking, biking, double decker bus riding or cruising Biscayne Bay. There’s even a thrill ride in here for you adrenalin junkies.

By Land

Big Bus Tours 

Certainly you’ve seen those big brown buses filled with tourists making their way through Downtown Miami, Wynwood, Midtown, Little Havana, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and Miami Beach. It’s time for you to try it out. Sit al fresco on the top deck or inside in air conditioned comfort and know that this is a hop on/hop off tour. There are 40 options for getting off and exploring. Disembark the bus, have a look around for as little or as long as you like, then wait for the next bus to come by and pick you up. There are three loops to choose from plus a walking tour that’s included with the purchase of a 48-hour ticket. 800-336-8233. 

By Foot

Miami Culinary Tours 

Prefer to eat at every stop? If you’re a foodie then the Miami Culinary Tours are the ideal way to walk and eat your way through the neighborhood. Probably a good idea to skip breakfast because each of these tours includes a full meal. On South Beach learn about historic Art Deco buildings while feasting on ropa vieja and crunchy plantain chips, a traditional empanada stuffed with beef and smoked potato and Italian gelato for dessert. Wynwood’s art murals get as much attention as Puerto Rico’s famed mofongo, Peruvian ceviche and pies from Fireman Derek’s. And the Little Havana tour is a smorgasbord of Cuban flavors with a mojito at Ball & Chain, Cuban sandwich, cafecito (espresso), guava pastry, guarapo juice and ice cream at Azucar. Hungry yet? No worries remember, you’ll be walking a lot. $59 per person. Meeting locations determined at time of purchase.786-942-8856. 


Walking Tours with Dr. Paul George from HistoryMiami 

Dr. Paul George is the authority on Miami history so his walking tours are ideal for Miami history buffs. If you want to know about Miami’s historic neighborhoods, buildings and waterways he’s your guy. He’ll tour you through Little Havana’s most iconic streets including Cuban Memorial Boulevard as well as along streets lined with historic homes and learn the art of cigar making. In Downtown he’ll teach you about the area’s architecture and how it became the hub for government offices, banks and museums. Plus a look at the many river walkways. Stay tuned because Dr. George makes another appearance on this list. Prices and meeting points vary by tour. 305-375-1492. 

By Sea

The Thriller Boat Tour 

Miami Vice was a hit show in the 1980s that put Miami and particularly South Beach, what there was of it back then, in front of eyes across the nation every Friday night at 10 pm. Along with fast cars there were plenty of speeding boats, candy colored cigarette boats bouncing off the water on their way to the next drug bust. The Thriller Speedboat Tour out of Bayside in Downtown Miami whizzes you by the mansions on Star and Fisher Islands called Millionaire’s Row. The skyline, panoramic views and Art Deco buildings are an added bonus. Various departure times, Bayside Marketplace, 401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, $38, 305-371-3278. 

Island Queen Sightseeing Tours (link to photo: )

Another more leisurely tour out of Bayside Marketplace are the Island Queen Sightseeing Tours. Depart on Biscayne Bay on one of several cruises depending on what you prefer to see. Saturdays in the early evening and at night, check out the Miami skyline cruise and see the city’s ever-evolving landscape. Maybe you’re more of a history buff in which case the Stiltsville and Key Biscayne Cruise is for you. Dr. Paul George leads the three-hour along Key Biscayne to the Cape Florida Lighthouse and out to historic Stiltsville. Dr. George’s stories about Mary Brickell, Henry Flagler a nd Miami’s other pioneers will make you an expert on the history of the 305. Several cruises available, departure times vary, Bayside Marketplace, 401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, prices vary, 305-305-379-5119

By Bike

Royal Palm Tours of Miami

Urban naturalist Frank Schena is a leading expert on local environmental issues and on his bike tours through Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and Little Havana the surrounding urban landscape and area’s historical development get equal attention. Schena loves to point out each neighborhood’s native tropical flowering trees and plants as well as the historical influences that still exist. Cigar making and the many monuments to Cuba’s visionaries in Little Havana, Bahamian flavors and architecture in Coconut Grove and the George Merrick touches throughout Coral Gables like winding streets and the Merrick House along with the Biltmore Hotel and coral rock Venetian Pool. Times, prices and meeting spots vary, check website for details, 786-346-3356. 

Bike and Roll Miami

Bike & Roll does tours on Miami Beach, Key Biscayne and Wynwood and each could not be more different, making them the perfect choice when you want variety on your two wheels. The daily beach tour is six miles and covers the highlights of Art Deco architecture as well as South Beach’s restaurant and nightlife hot spots. At four hours the Key Biscayne tour is not for the novice but does cover beautiful ground, going across the Venetian Islands with a stop at Bayside and then on to Key Biscayne, over the William Powell Bridge and on to the Cape Florida Lighthouse. Then in Wynwood, cover eight miles and bike your way along buildings covered in nationally-recognized graffiti and street art (yes, there is a difference) and you’ll learn that on this tour. This is the perfect opportunity to learn about the master artists who are commissioned to create these striking works of public art. Beach bike tour meets daily at 10 am at 210 10th St., Miami Beach, $40; Key Biscayne meets at 2 pm at Bayside Marketplace, 401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, $50; Wynwood tour meets at same time and place as Key Biscayne, $49, 305-604-0001