What to Pack for Miami?

Packing for a Trip to Miami for the Sights, Sounds and Wonderful Beaches

Of all the destination packing guides here at Luggage Review, Miami is the most varied.

The beaches and art-deco hotels are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to preparing for a trip to Miami. There is culture, sights and side-trips which will make your visit memorable. I strongly recommend a minimum of five days to enjoy everything. This can include a side-trip to the everglades, trips to two outstanding beaches, enjoying the cultural delights on Little Havana and time for some art and some serious shopping.

While you can visit Miami all year round, the heat combined with the humidity make trips at the high of summer challenging. This destination works in the winter (sans beaches), with the shoulder season being the perfect time to go.

Packing for Miami: How this Guide is Organised

All my packing guides are laid out in the same way.

First, a quick overview of the five most popular activities or areas to visit. This will help you build your itinerary. You can then add specific tours, restaurant booking and hotels on top.

After that, some hints on what to pack. A full-size suitcase is needed for this trip, to cover the varied items.

Miami Highlights


Packing for Miami: The Highlights Not to Miss

#1 – South Beach Miami

No trip to Miami would miss the South Beach.

This iconic island which includes beautiful golden sand beachfronts is a people-watcher’s paradise. There are over 2 miles of golden beaches, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. Add water sports, swimming, outdoor gyms and simply laying back on a sunbed under the shade of an umbrella.

As long as you avoid spring break crowds and pea k summer heat, this beach is as close to paradise as you’ll find in Florida.

#2 – Art Deco Hotels and Buildings

I’m a huge art-deco fan, and the buildings in Miami are world famous. Those lines, windows and flat roof design took off in the 1920’s and 1930’s. In most cities, only a few classic buildings are preserved.

Miami is different, there are miles of them, along the beachfront. Imagine hiring a Cadillac and cruising along – beaches to one side and the most amazing pastel coloured art deco buildings on the other.

Many are hotels. You can book them online via the popular OTA’s.

Miami Everglades

#3 – Exploring Little Havana

Cuba and Miami are linked by cultural ties, with a huge Cuban population bringing a distinctive flair to the city.

To experience this, head to the area of Little Havana. You’ll enjoy bars, restaurants, and the famous coffee shops. There is also plenty of shopping to enjoy in Little Havana. This is crafty and independent, a real contrast to the glitzy malls and high-end boutiques found elsewhere.

Other than the famous coffee, add ice cream and unique chocolates to your shopping list.

#4 – Miami Beach

While South Beach gets all the headlines, the rest of Miami beach is well worth exploring. This beach has a laid-back vibe, though is well served by restaurants, bars, and hotels.

Highlights on Miami beach include art galleries, the art-deco hotels and boardwalk, designer / boutique shopping and culture. You can enjoy museums, parks, and markets – or just chill on a recliner and watch the world go by.

Beaches Miami


#5 – Take a Side Trip to the Everglades

Don’t miss the experience of a lifetime by visiting the Everglades National Park.

You can choose how to enjoy this trip. Airboats add excitement. You’ll be skimming over the water, powered by a giant fan. More sedate and luxury tours are also available.

Alligators are the best-known wildlife. This is only the start. The unique ecosystem includes 100’s of birds, fish, reptiles, and mammals. Don’t worry about safety, trips to the Everglades use experienced guides to prevent any unfortunate Alligator incidents!

What to Pack for Miami?

With so many diverse activities in one city, packing is tricky compared to other holidays.

I do recommend leaving a little room in that hard-shell samsonite suitcase. The shopping is world-class. Even with recent exchange rate changes, there are definitely bargains to be had.

Other must-pack items include fans.

Take a small battery powered pocket fan, or even a traditional paper one. When that humidity hits, you’ll be glad you did. Sunscreen is super-important. You’ll naturally sweat more in the humid weather, and so regular application becomes more important. Some extra tops will let you quickly change if you are the sweaty type.

I’d also add waterproof clothing (for that Everglades trip), some elegant eveningwear for a trip to a high-end restaurant and of course – that fashionable swimwear for a trip to South Beach.


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