Sitting outside the local coffee shop, leisurely scanning my twitter in a beautiful tree-lined Toronto neighbourhood, a mid-aged man wearing a grocery store uniform passes and casually says to the younger man by his side, “Doesn’t anyone around here work”.
I couldn’t help but think he was taking about me. Truth be told, I hope he was.
My eyes followed as the two men passed me and entered the coffee shop. I smiled to myself but couldn’t help but feel a little indignant. I have a job. A good one, a tough one that keeps me very busy. It can be stressful at times, but is also thoroughly rewarding.
So why then, on this first day of school, is it the ‘first day of no school’ for me?
Well, the fact that I’m sitting here under this tree, sipping on my latte, on this sunny September morning is not a matter of luck. It’s not for a lack of work either. Quite the opposite in fact. Because of a lot of hard work, a little bit of planning and a ton of courage, here I am. And the best part is, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
So, good for me, right? Well, there is good news for you too. Simply, if I can do it, so can you! More on that later because for now, I am going to ride my bike and thoroughly enjoy my first day of no school.
For Families with Children or if you are a ‘kid at heart’, here are a few things to check out while in Miami Beach.
Miami Beach is well-known for its lively nightlife scene, particularly in the South Beach area. As awesome as it is, families often opt out in favour of more ‘kid friendly’ destinations in Florida. For the record – my son loved the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios, but actually preferred our time in Miami Beach. So what did he love so much?
1. The Beach – This one is an obvious one, right?
Sure, it is, but you might not know that there is a long list of Beaches in the Miami Beach Area (16 to be more precise). Since we were able to score a great deal to stay at the Trump International Beach Resort, we spent a bunch of time in Sunny Isles Beach.
This is an area in the north that has recently undergone a major revitalization. Since it is some distance from South Beach, it is less crowded and cleaner; fantastic for families that want a bit more space for the kids to play.
On the south side of the Trump property you’ll find a hut equipped with water sport rentals. Even though we are typically paddlers, it was here that my son had his first epic ride on the back of a jet ski. A bit pricey, but most memorable. When you’re through building sandcastles and splashing in the waves, the ocean-side pools operated by the hotels are a good option. The pools at the Trump International Beach Resort were fantastic and were open very late allowing us to enjoy some refreshing night swims.
2. Go Fish!
If you are in search of a unique experience, take the opportunity to take part in some saltwater fishing while in Miami. Not interested in the full commitment of renting a boat – no problem. Florida is well-known for fantastic inshore fishing.
Miami has several piers and inlets that are purposed specifically for anglers. The Newport Beach Fishing Pier is one of them. This brand new Pier, destroyed by Hurricane Wilma, was recently rebuilt. The beautiful Pier spans over 230 meter’s into the ocean. The fee to fish is minimal and rental equipment is easily available right on the pier.
Another option is the Bal Harbour Jetty, a concrete structure where you can find many locals dropping a line. It didn’t seem that there was a spot for renting gear at this location, but one of the locals let my son hold the fishing pole for a moment. A surprising offer as the fishers at this spot appear to take their sport very seriously. If you plan on fishing from Bal Harbour, make sure you investigate the necessity of purchasing a fishing license. Any of the many bait and tackle shops around the area will be able to help you out here.
If the prospect of catching a barracuda at one of piers or jetty’s is too much to handle, these locations are still worth a visit. Go to check out what the locals bring in or simply hang out with the friendly pelican on site. And, if your timing is right, nothing beats a sunset walk on the pier.
3. Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Is there anything more idyllic then kite flying? Sadly, this is one of the activities that we had to forgo due to time and weather, but one that I really wish we didn’t have to miss. On a day with clear skies, you cannot miss the vibrant colours floating through the sky as you drive North on Collins Ave.
Haulover Park near Bal Harbour is dedicated to kite flying. They even have a mobile shop on site where you can pick up a nice nylon kite for a good price to get you in the action. The next time we are in Miami, a visit to Skyward Kites and this kite park is definitely on the list.
Find out more about Skyward Kites on their website at: https://sites.google.com/site/skywardkites/home/
4. Swinging From a Tree
No. Seriously! Though I am pretty sure that this one is not sanctioned by any Miami officials, it was way too much fun to not mention. A friend who was fortunate enough to spend his teenage years in Miami Beach took us on a nostalgic tour of the area. One of the stops was Pinetree Park. This serene and picturesque park lies on the other side of Indian Creek (more like a canal if you ask me). It is an easy walk from the hotel strip and is visible across the creek from the well-known Fountainbleau Hotel. Complete with friendly lizards scurrying up and down the trees, this park is a nice walk for a change from the beach scene.
The series of paved walkways are surrounded by an expanse of well-manicured grassy areas and a variety of trees. There is no playground at this park, no monkey bars, no tire swings or ice-cream parlors nearby. But, if you head to the very back of the park, right beside the small boat launch (a great spot for paddlers who wish to canoe or kayak in the calm of Indian Creek) you will find the main attraction. This huge sprawling tree is hard to miss, with multiple trunks that add support to the massive limbs, it has sturdy vines ideal for swinging on. Take a few minutes to link a few of these vines together and Voila!
Do you know of any other cool, off the beaten path, locations in Miami Beach? Be sure to share them in the comments below!