Traveler Stories: A New Perspective on Florida
Aaron Tramuel is a supervisor at Charlotte. He’s traveled a lot over the years for holidays, vacations and work. Thanks to having family in Miami, he’s experienced one of his favorite cities as both a child and an adult, which, in Miami, makes a difference.
What do you love about Miami?
It completely changes your perspective on Florida. Everybody reads things that go on in Florida: “Florida man,” gators walking the street, bad traffic. Maybe people in Miami don’t use turn signals, but there’s nothing bizarre going on.
Because I have family in Miami, I’ve spent a lot of time in the city. At one point, I even lived there for two months. It’s sunny all year round. The beaches are beautiful. Miami really doesn’t sleep. Plus, there are so many different cultures. And there are so many tourists, you rarely see the same people. It gets you out of your comfort zone.
How old were you when you first went to Miami?
I was about 11 or 12. Since then, I’ve been 10-12 times.
We attempted to move there. We had just got back from vacation. And my mom said, “Pack your stuff. We’re going to live there.” We did, but we had to come back. But if I do fly anywhere else, like a cruise. I find a way to be in Miami.
When I was a child, I got to meet my Dominican side of my family. They showed me a good time. There’s a lot you don’t want to do with a family—definitely beaches you wouldn’t want to visit. My favorite spot as a kid was Crandon Park. It’s a beach with shallow, clear, blue water. You can walk far out into the ocean. I still love it.
What do you do when you visit Miami now?
Unless you’re super rich, you don’t live on the beaches, so my aunt’s house is 15 mins away from the beach. I actually like that because everything is exotic with the palms. The drive is beautiful.
Last time I was there, we got a hotel right on the beach. It was nice but not too expensive: National Hotel was the name. The room was great, the food was great, I’ll probably go back.
I still go to the beach at Crandon Park, but they aren’t the most important part now. It’s restaurants and clubs. Depending on what you have a taste for, you can find authentic Dominican food, Haitian spots, gourmet restaurants. There is a little coffee shop near South Beach called Tinta Y Cafe. It’s got Cuban bread and the best cafe de leche. It’s a little hole in the wall, but it’ll get you through the morning if you had a long night.
The nightlife changes all the time. It’ll be the same club but a different name. Choosing a club is hard; it depends on your cup of your tea. Anything on South Beach is fun. A few are really nice. Just walk by. Find events going on or where has special celebrity appearances. The hotels even have a nightlife; bars stay open extra late.
Anything else we should consider outside of beaches, food and nightlife?
My best advice: Catch a few Miami heat games. I always go to games—it’s a great experience.
In Florida, it’s easy to day trips. Miami is a good meeting point if you are in Disney and want to sit in the sun. It’s decently close to Keys. Tons of cruise ships come out of Miami. So if you’re going on a cruise, try to book some extra time in Miami.
Whether you’re headed to Miami or anywhere else, what’s your biggest travel tip?
Financially plan ahead. Have a sizable amount for “just in case.” You don’t want to get stuck somewhere an extra day and end up blowing your budget—or worse, literally be unable to get home. Be financially prepared for an extra day no matter what.
If you have your own favorite city or travel tips, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your inside scoop could make or break someone else’s vacation!