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Things to Do in Miami Before and After You Cruise

You’ve booked your cruise and are looking at flights to and from Miami…Wait! Have some time to kill before and after your cruise? Here’s some good news: You’re in Miami!

Miami isn’t called “Magic City” for nothing! There is so much to do and see in Miami, you may even want to schedule in at least a full day and night into your cruise vacation schedule. Check out these Things to Do in Miami Before and After You Cruise to start your cruise vacation off with a bang!

Family Friendly Activities

Spend The Day On The Beach

Of course this is first on my list. You simply cannot visit Miami and not go to the beach at least once! We have turquoise water, bright beach umbrellas and white sand as far as the eye can see.


Pack a picnic, grab a beach towel and make your way to South Beach (or Crandon Park for a more family-oriented beach environment), and make sure not to forget your sunscreen! My favorite spot on South Beach is right off 5th Street, where there are public bathrooms and a beautiful grassy area nearby.

You can also do a little shopping on nearby Lincoln Road, or visit one of the many trendy restaurants that line Collins Avenue when you need a break from all of that sunshine.

Get Out on the Water

Miami offers so many watersports, you’re bound to find something suited to your tastes. Take a water taxi through the islands, rent a jet ski on the beach, or embark on a kayak adventure in the bay! When you book your cruise through Carnival Cruise Lines, you’ll find plenty of great shore excursions for your time in Miami, and they do all of the planning for you!


If you’d like to get out on the open water, you can book a snorkeling or diving trip, a glass bottom boat tour or a sunset dinner cruise! You can even book fishing charter trips or rent a sailboat while you’re in Miami!


Explore The Florida Birding Trail

Miami is in an interesting ecological position, being that it is near the ocean and near the Florida Everglades, which is made up of marshland and pine forests. As they say, birds fly south for the winter, and many of them end up in Miami!

You can see pelicans, juvenile and adult Blue Herons and many other species in their natural habitat all throughout Miami.


You’ll find highway markers along US1, which point you in the right direction, but I’ll share a tip: you’ll find many of these exotic birds at our local waterfront parks, where they feed on the small fish in the shallow waters. If you follow Old Cutler Road down through Southwest Miami, you’ll find my favorite birdwatching spot at Deering Point, a public park on 176th Street (that’s where my photos were taken). If you don’t want to drive that far south (it’s about 25 minutes from Downtown Miami), keep an eye out on US1 for the Florida Birding Trail signage, which will point you in the right direction.

Visit Monkey Jungle

Miami Located in Southwest Miami, Monkey Jungle Miami is Miami’s best kept secret when it comes to wildlife – or not so wildlife. Animal behaviorist Joseph DuMond brought six Java monkeys to Miami in 1933 to begin a zoological study, and almost 100 years later, we have a thriving troop roaming the canopy at Monkey Jungle Miami.


What sets Monkey Jungle Miami apart from other animal attractions is that the monkeys roam free and the visitors are the ones in cages! Well, it’s more of an enclosed walkway, but you get the idea.

Nearly 400 primates have free roam across the 30 acre reserve in one of the few protected habitats for endangered primates in the United States. You can peer through the fencing and see them playing in the trees, feeding their babies and even feed them raisins through little baskets throughout the park.

Monkey Jungle Miami is the ONLY protected habitat that the public is allowed to visit.


It is truly a unique experience and I encourage all animal lovers to pay a visit the next time they’re in Miami!

Go For An Airboat Ride in the Florida Everglades

Visit one of our many parks in the Florida Everglades and embark on a different type of adventure – an airboat ride!

The Florida Everglades is home to many species of birds and reptilians, including the American Alligator. This is a great way to get a little sunshine and see the other side of Miami. Your airboat operators will thrill you with sharp turns and splashes, take you deep into the Everglades to see our wildlife and explain a little about the ecosystem in the Florida Everglades. It’s educational AND fun! You can schedule an excursion to the Florida Everglades through your cruise line’s shore excursions department, or visit any of the visitor centers throughout the Everglades National Park to book an airboat ride. Carnival offers Everglades excursions, complete with luggage storage and transfers to Miami International Airport or Fort Lauderdale Airport.


Catch a Miami HEAT Game

While in Miami for your next cruise, catch a Miami HEAT game and experience the excitement of the city’s sports scene. HEAT games are always full of action and the Miami HEAT Dancers know how to put on a show during half time.

You can even download the Miami HEAT mobile app to buy your tickets, stay up to date on interviews, standings, news alerts, and participate in Game Night Chats!

Eat Your Heart Out in Miami

Miami has some of the best food in the country, and I don’t say that just because I’m a native. The city is such a cultural melting pot that you can find authentic cuisine from any region in the world right here in the Magic City.

Dining out is a social activity in Miami, and you never know which celebrity or famous athlete you’ll spot! Whether it’s a trendy French café in historical Coconut Grove or a traditional steakhouse in downtown Miami, keep your eyes peeled and you might get lucky!


Disclaimer: I am not a celebrity. But if you do see me, pretend to think of me as one so that my dinner companions are impressed.

Fine dining right on the water in Miami? Check! South Beach and the waterfront in downtown Miami are lined with restaurants and boutique shops.

Bonus: Dining on Brickell Avenue in downtown Miami offers an upscale dining experience, beautiful views of Biscayne Bay and you’ll be close to the Port of Miami!

I can think of worse places to enjoy a meal before embarking on a Caribbean cruise!


The only thing better than the view is the outstanding meals you’ll find on our menus.

Do you love traditional steakhouses? We have plenty of those!


Looking for a swanky bar or lounge on South Beach with crafted cocktails and great music to spend the evening like a true Miamian?

We might have one or two…or 300. Collins Avenue, between 5th Street and Lincoln Road, is lined with swanky bars and lounges where you can enjoy happy hour and dinner — and, the hottest nightclubs on South Beach are within walking distance or just a short cab drive away!


There’s cuisine from all over the world in Miami. Cuban, Dominican, Jamaican, Haitian…as well as Italian, Spanish, French, German – whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it when you step out for a night on the town in Miami.

For the best in Miami dining, head to South Beach and take a look at the many restaurants along Collins Avenue. You’ll find fresh seafood (it’s always fresh in Miami!), Cuban cuisine, fusion and of course, your standard pizzerias and burger joints.


Of course, you don’t have to wait until after dark to get your grub on in Miami!

And then there are the food trucks…lots and lots of food trucks! Many of our food trucks are run by top chefs in the area, or are satellite operations of our best restaurants.


You can find the best food trucks in Miami in Tamiami Park (11201 SW 24TH ST.) on Friday nights at the weekly “Food Truck Friday” gathering. You can find the food trucks all over Miami throughout the week; to see who’s where at what time, check out this handy list:

So what do you think? If you’ve cruised with Carnival Cruise Lines out of the Port of Miami before, I’d love to know about your favorite things to do in Miami before and after you cruise!

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.