What LGBTQ-friendly city combines flamingos, mojitos, white-sand beaches & art deco hotels?

GayCities encourages you to stay safe during the Covid 19 pandemic. If you choose to travel, we recommend that you follow all CDC Travel Guidelines and adhere closely to all local regulations regarding face coverings, social distancing and other safety measures.

That’s right, Greater Miami. And right now the beach paradise is offering fantastic opportunities as the region welcomes visitors. In fact, it’s even offering to arrange ways to work remotely for those who want to stay a little longer.

Miami’s blue skies and miles of beaches make it a particularly safe place to practice social distancing while enjoying everything it has to offer.

Here are just a few suggestions for outdoor activities to enjoy.

1. Hit the beach

No trip to Miami would be complete without beach time. To hang out with the Speedo-clad boys, head to 12th Street Beach in South Beach. Turquoise waters lap against the white sands and rainbow flags flutter near the beach’s iconic, colorful lifeguard stands. Whether you’re traveling solo or in a group, it’s easy to feel at home, with sun-worshippers of all shapes and sizes congregating next to the blue waves of the Atlantic.

Another great spot is 3rd Street Beach. You’ll find it in Miami’s SoFi (South of Fifth) neighborhood. It offers volleyball, soccer, and daily yoga sessions all on the beach’s warm white sand. Watch the sunrise or enjoy the soft evening breeze while re-charging your chakras.

Approximately 11 miles north of South Beach is Haulover Beach. Nestled between the Intercoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, it’s the only beach in the area with the ever-popular clothing-optional section.

Expect world-class views anywhere you chose to enjoy Miami.

Nearby hotel tips

Stiles Hotel by Clevelander is located in the art deco district just steps away from 12th Street beach. The boutique hotel boasts marble bathrooms, suites with private terraces, and its own Swizzle Bar & Drinkery.

The Clevelander Hotel is a sister venue to Stiles, located right on Ocean Drive, just a block from 12th Street. The 60-room boutique hotel contains two socially-distanced rooftop terraces with sunny oceanfront and city skyline views, plus entertainment throughout the afternoon and evening at its poolside bars.

Both hotels are offering four nights for the price of three.

2. Explore Miamiland

An airboat safari in the Everglades
An airboat safari in the Everglades (Photo: Provided by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau www.gmcvb.com)

In 2020, Miami launched Miamiland, the collective name for many of its most beautiful outdoor attractions. This includes the Everglades National Park (all 1.5million acres), Biscayne National Park, and the region’s many beaches.

Alligators, egrets, and eagles are just a few of the species you might spot, along with the rare Florida panther. Biscayne Park is the biggest marine sanctuary in the U.S., and a key to the state’s ecological future, offering the chance to get up close to manatees, hawksbill sea turtles, and hundreds of other species. (Before visiting during the pandemic, please check the park website to determine its operating status. Openings and closings may vary.)

Enjoy an airboat safari in the Everglades, kayak in Matheson Hammock Park, boardwalk through the atmospheric, swampy wilderness of Big Cypress National Preserve, and paddleboard in the clear waters of Sunset Harbour.

Nearby hotel tips

Quality Inn Florida City – Homestead can be found in Miami’s Homestead neighborhood. It bills itself as “Your gateway to the Florida Keys and the Everglades.” Room rates currently start at the shockingly low price of $66 per night.

Travelodge by Wyndham Florida City/Homestead/Everglades is another Homestead hotel, perfect for getting to the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. It’s currently offering a range of deals, including an Outdoor Enthusiasts Special and long-terms stay discounts. Rooms starting at $73 a night.

3. Visit Zoo Miami

A pink flamingo at Zoo Miami
(Photo: Ron Magill/Zoo Miami)

In southwest Miami, the 750-acre Zoo Miami features 3,000 animals and 500 species – elephants, tigers, and koalas – in large, open-air enclosures. (Zoo Miami has reopened but is operating at a reduced capacity due to the pandemic, so to ensure entry, book tickets online in advance of your visit.) Until the end of December, it’s running a special Monday $10 admission deal, but only if you book online.

Nearby hotel tips

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Miami-Kendall is conveniently close to both Zoo Miami and Miami International Airport. Other nearby attractions include the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, Monkey Jungle, and Dadeland Mall.

Another nearby hotel is the Candlewood Suites Miami International Airport in the Kendall neighborhood. It offers just over 100 apartment-style lodgings, complete with kitchens or kitchenettes.

4. Tour Little Havana

Latin American culture pulses throughout Miami, but nowhere more so than its Little Havana neighborhood. The district is packed with colorful restaurants, bars, cafés, and outdoor markets.

In the evening, find a rooftop restaurant such as Terras and sip fresh lime-laced mojitos under the star-studded sky. Explore the area on your own or take part in one of the many walking and culinary tours where masks are mandatory. Let the experts show you the best places for quesadillas, seafood ceviche, pork chicharrones, and jumbo shrimp enchiladas.

Check out Domino Park and the Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center, dine on ham croquetas and guava pastries while admiring the chandeliers of Versailles bakery, and grab a café con leche to go at Cuban artisanal ice-cream store, Azucar.

Nearby hotel tips

On the edge of Little Havana, Selina Miami River offers an oasis of Latin-infused calm in Miami’s bustling downtown district. It hosts weekly barbecues, outdoor concerts, and self-care workshops, plus a wide range of accommodations, from suites and two-person apartments to micro sleeping rooms.

Toward the Downtown Miami area is the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Miami Brickell Downtown. It’s currently offering a range of deals, including specials for those wanting to stay and savor.

5. Enjoy a boat trip

Thriller speedboat tour in Miami
The Thriller Speedboat tour (Photo: Provided by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau www.gmcvb.com)

There is no end to the number of boating activities you can enjoy in Miami. We’ve already mentioned kayaking in Matheson Hammock Park and airboat safaris in the Everglades, but there are also thrilling speedboat sightseeing tours and the Duck Boat which takes you around South Beach and Star Island (where you can check out the palatial homes of the rich & famous).

There are dozens of private charters for those who like to fish, snorkel, or just cruise the turquoise, sun-kissed waters. Nothing beats stretching out on a sun-warmed towel, closing your eyes, and listening to the waves as they gently rock the side of the boat.

And how about yoga and meditation on a Sunset Spa & Wellness Yacht Charter afterward?

Hotel tips

As much of Miami is surrounded by water, wherever you stay, boating action will be within reach. If you live in Florida or one of its surrounding states, hotels are offering staycation deals. This includes The Mayfair at Coconut Grove. The upmarket hotel is close to Miami Watersports and the Coconut Grove Sailing Club.

The oceanfront Loews Miami Beach Hotel, with its Exhale Spa, is located in the heart of South Beach. The four-star hotel is offering three nights for the price of two for bookings until December 23, 2020.

Check out all the latest deals that Miami hotels offer online.