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How To: 6 Steps to a Splendid Weekend in Miami, Florida

It’s only January and we have already been hit with heavy snow, blizzard conditions and freezing temperatures from Dallas, to New York City.  But if you ask me, travel is the best cure for the winter doldrums, and even a short weekend getaway does a lot to boost your dreary mood.  A weekend in Miami, Florida?  Just the trick.  Here’s a quick how to guide to making the most of your mini Miami jaunt.

Step 1:  Ditch the winter blues.

It’s eighty degrees right now in Miami, so do yourself a favor and have some summery clothes on the plane or layer them underneath your winter coat.  As soon as your step foot outside the airport you’ll want to quickly go from winter drab to beachy fab.

Step 2:  Go pool hopping

Sense Beach House Rooftop Pool © Courtney Scott

Miami’s pool scene is huge with pools ranging from super chill to super chic.  Bachelors and bachelorettes will love the Fontainbleau‘s pool party while those looking for a laid-back happy-hour vibe will feel right at home at the Standard‘s pool.  But for a completely serene rooftop scene, nothing beats the Sense Beach House‘s pool.

Step 3: Get fit

Courtney Scott and Sonia Gil Explore Miami, FLorida

If your New Year’s resolution had anything to do with health or fitness, Miami is the place to kick it into high gear.  The great news?  Getting fit in Miami isn’t a chore; it’s actually really fun.  You can do free yoga on the beach at 3rd Street Beach Yoga, rent a DecoBike, walk around the Wynwood Walls or go paddle boarding in Biscayne Bay.

 Step 4:  Eat Local

photo 2

After you’ve worked up an appetite, check out Miami’s local food scene.  Two of my favorite discoveries, The Local House in the “South of Fifth” neighborhood and La Sandwicherie on 14th Street.

Step 5:  Take a Spin on the Dance Floor

Versace Mansion Art Basel 2013 Miami

In Miami there’s a nightclub for nearly every type of partier.  Sophisticates might like some day partying at the Mondrian, for celeb spotting, Rec Room and FDR are a must, and for dancing in a luxurious 1930′s villa, there’s the Versace Mansion.  If you’re not the dancing type, check out Miami’s new Sweetwater Beer Garden!

Step 6:  Catch the sunrise 

Sunrise in Miami, Florida © Courtney Scott

Miami’s oceanfront East Coast location makes sunrises seekers very happy.  Set your alarm, or come straight from the club and stake out your spot anywhere on Miami’s long stretch of white sand beach for a sunrise to remember.

To book your weekend getaway check out our Go & Love the Long Weekend Sale!

St. John’s Best Beaches

On St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, one beach is more beautiful than then next.  All of the beaches are free and public, making a day of beach-hopping easy and cheap!  Each of St. John’s best beaches has a little something special about it:

Hawksnest Beach

Hawksnest Beach St. John

One of my favorite things about a beach is when it’s completely secluded, and Hawksnest Beach on St. John’s north shore is exactly that.  Just the sound of the ocean and few little onlookers.  Perfection.

Jumbie Bay Beach

Jumbie Bay Beach Palm Tree Sunbathing

Take a short winding path through a tropical forest and you’ll end up on the shores of Jumbie Bay Beach.  There are no beach chairs on Jumbie Bay, but if you find a palm tree it’s all yours.  The water is the perfect temperature!    

Francis Bay Beach

SNorkeling at Francis Bay Beach copy

At Francis Bay, it’s all about the snorkeling.  Make sure you buy your snorkel gear before you get the the beach.  They do not provide rentals!  After only a few minutes in the water, sting rays and fish are easy to spot!  On the day I visited I was one of only three snorkelers.  Private and perfect.

There are dozens of beaches on St. John and all throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Which ones are your favorites?

Follow The Roaming Gnome as he Heats up Winter in Miami

The best way to recover from the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving vacation, is to take another vacation; preferably somewhere with palm trees and white sand beaches.  And this week the Roaming Gnome is doing just that. He’s flying down to Miami to soak up some sun, check out 2013 Art Basel Miami Beach and get into as much mischief as he can manage in five short days. has helped him put together one killer to-do list for his trip. Here’s a taste of what’s on his agenda:

1. Art Basel Miami Beach

Painting by Jonas Gerard at Jonas Gerard Fine Art
Painting by Jonas Gerard at Jonas Gerard Fine Art

Now in it’s 13th year, the Art Basel Miami Beach art show is taking over the city from December 5 through 8. The show hosts more than 250 of the world’s leading galleries, so the Roaming Gnome will have the chance to peruse collections from up-and-coming artists and proven masters. And it wouldn’t be an art show without a few parties, so he’ll be hitting the South Beach scene (and hopefully not making too much of an exhibition of himself in the process).

2. Miami’s Hotel Hot Spots

Hotels are a destination in and of themselves in Miami, and the Roaming Gnome will be checking in to several South Beach hot spots like the Delano, the Shore Club and The Mondrian South Beach to check out their pool bars, pamper himself with their spa treatments and cool down with a few cocktails in their cabanas.

3. Little Havana

He’s only in town for a few days, but the Roaming Gnome is hoping to absorb as much of the sights, tastes, and sounds of Miami’s Cuban culture as possible. He’ll watch how they make cigars in shops on Calle Ocho, learn how to play dominoes in Maximo Gomez Park, and perhaps do a little prep for a night on the town with a few (dozen) cups of Cuban coffee.

4. Miami’s Best Restaurants

Miami Food and Wine

With the help of Miami native and fearless food-blogger Jackie Gutierrez-Jones, the Roaming Gnome will be eating his way through Miami’s best restaurants. Whether it’s chic upscale cuisine in Miami Beach, farm-to-table flavors with an indie flair in the Design District, or just a casual bite in an open-air café in Coconut Grove, no morsel will be spared.

5. Miami’s Great Outdoors

You simply can’t go to Miami without sunning your bum on the beach, and the Roaming Gnome will be doing just that. But he’ll also be exploring more unexpected methods of getting his wintertime dose of Vitamin D, like air boating through the everglades, feeding alligators, or perhaps taking a slightly tamer—yet no less invigorating—stroll through the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.

To keep up with the Roaming Gnome’s Miami adventure, or give him advice on where to go while he’s in town, follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Foursquare.