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Gay South Beach – Your guide to the hottest vacation

October 24, 2014
gay south beach

As the home of both the biggest gay beach party in North America, it is little wonder that South Beach Miami has been premiere holiday destination for gay men for the last thirty years. With endless sunny beaches and the hottest clubs and bars packed with beautiful people from all around the world, this holiday destination hasn’t missed a beat since its heyday in the 1980s. In South Beach, posing, people watching and partying is a way of life.

Where to Stay

The majority of the gay bars and clubs are located between 12th Street on Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road Mall, so within this district is probably your best bet for accommodation. Although you can stay anywhere, some hotels have a particular reputation for being “gay friendly”. Hotel Beacon South Beach on Ocean Drive (right near the Gay Beach) is one of the most well-known and offers “gay pride” packages and discounts for the LGTB traveller. Both ZOcean Hotel and Hotel Nash are other good options in the area, but let’s face it, between lazing all day on the beach and partying at night, who has time for hanging around the hotel anyway? If you’re looking for a little more privacy, plus free services like WiFi, kitchen, and in, suite laundry however, check out our awesome South Beach apartments.

Sun and Surf

You can’t really miss the giant rainbow flag that announces that you have arrived at the Gay Beach on 12th Street/Ocean Drive. It’s mostly populated by men but you will find lesbians and some straight folk here too. Rent a beach chair and soak up some serious rays on the sugary white sand or spend the day joining in the party atmosphere. Be warned – the no nudity rule does not preclude some of the skimpiest swimming costumes seen since Brazil.

If you just can’t deal with those pesky tan lines after a day of sun worship, then head over to Haulover Beach where clothing is optional and those most comfortable exhibiting their body probably shouldn’t be. It’s on Collins Street, so it’s bit further out than the conveniently located Gay Beach on 12th Street, but surely that’s a small price to pay for the world’s best tan?

Clubs and Bars

Make your nights as hot as your days with these popular South Beach clubs and bars.

Twist – the saying goes “if you haven’t gotten into trouble at Twist then you haven’t visited the real South Beach”. With seven different party areas, including strippers at the back and a cabana, there is something to cater for every taste at Twist. It’s busiest after 1am.

Palace Bar and Grill – located opposite the gay beach, this Miami institution is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is more a bar/restaurant than a club. Tourists and locals alike gather in the evenings to watch Palace drag queens do cartwheels in the streets while harassing passing tourists.

Score a South Beach favourite, Score has been part of the South Beach gay scene for more than ten years. Score offers modern lounges to chat with friends, frozen drinks for hot nights, state of the art lights and music and some of the hottest DJs playing.

What’s your style? Clothes shopping in Miami

October 10, 2014
miami shops

Set against the glistening backdrop of the Atlantic, a holiday in Miami gives you sun-drenched beaches, a heady nightlife and a whole lot of glamour.  Looking good is basically a way of life here, so it’s no surprise that you will find a fantastic selection of shops between the beaches and cafes. And it’s not just beachwear on offer either.  No matter what your personal style –  formal, designer, vintage or little bit bohemian –  you are sure to find something suitably fabulous at one of the many stores or outlets. Here is a selection of some of the best shopping Miami has to offer.


High End Designer Stores

The fashion divas amongst us will find plenty of shiny designer stores lining the streets of Miami just beckoning to them to come in and spend up big.

Bal Harbour – the exclusive neighbourhood of Bal Harbour offers everything a fasionista with champagne tastes could want. Think Saks Fifth Avenue, Gucci, Tiffany’s & Co, Chanel, YSL Neiman Marcus. And that’s just before lunch.

La Época (East Flagler Street), – direct from Cuba, this department store offers designer clothing for the whole family.

absolutely suitable, Collins Avenue – offering designer swim and beachwear (Lisa Curran and D&G are amongst the brands sold), absolutely suitable has absolutely high prices for exquisite items you would probably never want to get wet!


Bargains and Outlets

Designer clothes don’t always have to come at designer prices. Grab yourself a holiday bargain (or two or three…) at these outlet stores.

Sawgrass Mills , (West Sunrise Blvd) – with over 400 branded discount shops, this mall is a mecca for bargain hunting tourists and locals alike. It’s a bit further out of town, but well worth the trip. Shoppers agree that Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue, the Ralph Lauren Factory Store and the Nieman Marcus Clearance Center are the best places to bag a bargain.

H&M (Lincoln Road)–  selling everything from swimwear to baby clothes H&M offers “disposable fashion” – fashionable clothes to wear for right now until you move on to something better. It’s a cheap way to get your fashion fix and keep your wardrobe current.

Marshalls ,( Collins Av)– this popular discount shop specializes in discount designer clothes.


Boutique and Vintage Stores

Miami offers the shopper more than just designer duds, with a range of smaller boutique stores providing something a little different to the norm.

Palm Produce Resortwear (Lincoln Rd) – shop here for unusual beach accessories, like sequined beach totes. Not sure how you’d get sand out of that one…

Funky Sexy (Lincoln Road) – shop here for distinctive clothing designed by the Dutch owner. Funky Sexy also offers lamps, bikinis and belly dancing outfits too.

Fly Boutique (Lincoln Road) – offers vintage clothing and second hand designer wear. Expect to find the big brands here.


Chain Stores

Along Lincoln Road you will find all the standard chain store wares. Think Zara, GAP, Forever 21, American Apparel and French Connection to name a few. Check here for the full list.

Hit up South Beach Miami in Style! What to pack

March 15, 2014

Would we be right in guessing that whenever you picture yourself in Miami you’re dressed in a bikini or shorts and not much more? Yup, we feel you. But Miami is a tropical, trendy city, and we want you to pack everything you’ll need to enjoy it to the full. Start with these suggestions and customize at will!

Sunglasses: Even it you’re visiting in winter, the Miami sun is bright pretty much year round. Protect your peepers and look stylish and celeb-worthy at the same time. Bonus: they’ll hide the day-after-an-all-nighter eyes you’re bound to wake up with. While you’re at it, throw in some sunscreen – no one wants to chat up a lobster.

One dressed-up outfit: Miami is generally a pretty casual vibe, but you may want to go to an exclusive restaurant, upscale bar, or the theatre. Bring one outfit that won’t get you turned away at the door.

Lightweight long sleeved top and pants: Don’t rule out a little hiking or a day in the everglades – it would add a whole new dimension to your trip! Long sleeves and pants will protect your skin from grasses, branches, and annoying insects like mosquitoes. They’ll also come in handy on chilly evenings.

Running shoes: South Beach residents are fit, and you might just be inspired to join the joggers, cyclists and roller bladers that are a quintessential part of the SoBe scene on Ocean Drive. So pack your sneakers and some breathable shorts and get sweating!

Spanish phrasebook: Well, you do want to make an effort for the hot Cuban dancing salsa with you, right?!

What you don’t need:

Stay in one of our fully furnished studios and you don’t need to worry about towels or a hairdryer, which are provided for you, or a guide book, because your local concierge service can recommend great places to eat, drink, and dance! You won’t need to bring lots of extra cash for meals out, because you’ll have a fully-equipped kitchen to whip up snacks. And if you need something extra like an adaptor or charger – we can try to find one for you!


Your guide to getting around South Beach

March 6, 2014

No car? No problem! The rest of the U.S. may have an aversion to walking and a slightly sketchy public transport system, but Miami is a paradise for those who don’t want to spend their vacation behind the wheel.

You’ve got a whole host of options available as soon as you slip into your flip flops and step out of the airport. A taxi will take you to South Beach for a flat rate of $32, or the Super Shuttle vans will get you to your awesome South Beach studio (you booked with us, right?!) for just $20. On a serious budget? The Airport Flyer is an express bus that runs every 30 minutes and will take you to Miami Beach for just $2.35 (6am-11pm).

Now that you’ve arrived and unpacked, it’s time to hit the beach – which you can stroll on over to, because our studios are just a few minutes from the sand and surf. Areas like Collins and Washington Avenues are great streets to check out on foot too, as is Lincoln Road, a street mall stretching ten blocks and specifically designed for pedestrians, with great shops, cafes, nightclubs and restaurants.

If you want to experience the wind in your hair as you cruise down Ocean Drive, you can grab a DecoBike – the self-service bike rental system with over 100 stations around the city for picking up and dropping off bikes!


If you’re going a little farther or need to get out of the sun, you can jump on the ‘Local’ bus service. Busses stop every few blocks with service every 10 minutes or so, and have heavenly air conditioning. Drivers are super helpful and a ride on the South Beach loop costs just a quarter (route map here). If you’re going to leave South Beach and explore the rest of the city, it’s a good idea to get the $26 pass for the Metrorail and MetroBus, which will last you for a week.

And for sightseeing, there’s always the Miami Hop-on Hop-off bus, which will give you a nice overview of Downtown, Miami Beach, the Design District, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and more for $39.

There you have it – more options than you can shake a beach towel at. Now get out there and start exploring!


Cool Miami Neighborhoods to Explore

February 12, 2014

We’ve all heard of South Beach and Ocean Drive, but there are so many awesome pockets of Miami that are buzzing with culture, history, art, and ethnic cuisine. So when you’ve unpacked your bags at your perfect Miami studio apartment, spend a day wandering around these great neighborhoods:

Key Biscane: Just south of Miami Beach, this secluded island is where you’ll spot the million-dollar homes with sweeping water views. Key Biscayne also offers great public beaches and a selection of high-class restaurants. Hobie Beach is the city’s hot spot for windsurfing, sailboarding, and jet-skiing. On the island’s southern tip, Bill Baggs State Park has great beaches, bike paths, and forests for picnicking and partying.

Wynwood: One of Miami’s hippest, still burgeoning areas. Just north of downtown, Wynwood includes the Miami Design District, and has a thriving arts scene that acts as the hub of Art Basel Miami Beach. Best for checking out the galleries and studio spaces inhabited by up-and-coming artists – you’ll find art, furniture, home design stores, as well as great cafes and restaurants.

Coral Gables: This peaceful residential neighborhood is where you’ll find Mediterranean-style houses with Spanish-tiled roofs along lush, tree-lined streets that open onto beautifully carved plazas, many with centrepiece fountains. The area also has some great golfing, up-scale shopping, and some of the city’s best restaurants, headed by renowned chefs.

Surfside:Just after North Beach you’ll come to Surfside; a family-friendly, old-style beach town with a secluded beach, paths through the dunes and casual bistros that welcome kids. Stroll down Collins Avenue for a good selection of restaurants and stores.

Little Havana: It’s easy to believe you’ve landed in Cuba when you take in the tastes, and rhythms of this small Miami neighborhood – even street signs are in Spanish and English! Check out the Cuban coffee shops and inexpensive restaurants line Calle Ocho, and dance the night away to salsa and merengue beats in the bars and clubs that come alive after dark.

Awesome Miami Activities You Never Considered

January 15, 2014

When people think about Miami they normally default to the sun, sea and sand vision of this popular southern destination – and if you’re staying in one of our apartments in South Beach, then you know how exciting this part of the city can be. But there is so much more to this little corner of Florida, with something to satisfy everyone from art lover to surfer chick. Here are some activities you never knew Miami was great for:

Hiking: With it’s tropical flora and plentiful wildlife, Miami is perfect for nature-lovers and hiking enthusiasts alike. Check out Ash Creek Park, the site of a Tequesta Indian village between 500 B.C. and 1300 A.D., or the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades National Park, where you’ll have no trouble spotting alligators sunning themselves by the waterfront.

Food: You may be aware of the myriad of incredible restaurants in Miami – but there’s only so many times a day one can eat out. Fill in the gaps with food tours and cooking classes. The highly rated excursions at Miami Culinary Tours include tastings and trivia for lots of different neighborhoods, while Ayesha’s Kitchen offers up something a little different – Indian cooking classes guaranteed to get your tastebuds tingling.

Adventure Sports: Ever heard of a flyboard? Well, it’s a jetpack that goes on your feet – think snowboarding on air – and you can do it right here in Miami! With training from a skilled instructor and a little practice, you can surf the sky or go underwater – all with the exhilarating propulsion of your own personal jetpack.

Boating: Could there be a more romantic way to see Miami than from a sailboat at sunset? Join one of the Biscayne Bay tours which stop at exotic islands and beautiful bird sanctuaries, or splash out and charter a boat for a luxury getaway to the Florida Keys.

History: Miami was a hot destination long before the Kardashians went shopping there. Join one of History Miami’s walking tours and learn all about the art deco architecture of South Beach, the cuban influence in Little Havana, and the botanical gardens by the Collins Canal.


Your perfect Miami Vacation – Top 5 Beaches

January 12, 2014

So, you’ve rocked up to your awesome accommodation, and now you’re ready to hit the golden sands – but Miami has so many beaches it can be impossible to choose! Here are a few great suggestions for everyone from sun-worshippers to surfers – just don’t forget the sunscreen!

South Beach: Officially Lummus Park Beach, this stretch of sand runs along Ocean Drive from about 6th to 14th streets (super close to your MyStudioMiami accommodation). This is the place to be and be seen – if you love tanning (topless is legal here), people watching, and full-service bars nearby, then this is the party beach for you. There are paths for bikers and skaters, and volleyball nets for the more active beachgoers. Water is clear and the surf is gentle.

85th Street Beach: Running along Collins Avenue, this is a great place for swimmers who want a little space. Fewer crowds and no beachfront condos or hotels, this is a peaceful beach for when you want to get away from it all and enjoy Miami’s blue skies and clear waters.

Haulover Beach: Whether you’re a surfer or just want to admire them from the shore, this stretch of beach just over the causeway from Bal Harbour gets Miami’s biggest swells (and flattest abs). Talented locals are out early in the mornings,  and the southern tip is where they hang out when not catching waves. Wander to the north end of this stretch of coastline and you’ll find yourself in Florida’s most well-known nudist beach!

North Shore Park Beach: Often overlooked but definitely worth a visit. The long stretches of sand are luxurious, and it’s got great amenities and picnic areas. The outdoor amphitheatre is a great place to catch a show or dance festival on a balmy summer evening.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park: If you’re looking for nature, history and wilderness, you’ll find it here. A mile of beautiful beach at the end of Key Biscayne, Bill baggs is home to the famous Cape Florida lighthouse, picturesque nature trails, fishing, bike rentals, BBQ grills and two restaurants. Perfect for a day-long escape.