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Why Miami was our first choice for 'sustainable, family adventure travel'

I'm kind of ashamed to admit it but before kids I thought Miami was not much more than non-stop nightlife and beautiful beaches - but now I'm seeing it in a whole new light.

Sure, it definitely has these but it also has a vibrant and colorful history, a strong sense of culture, terrific museums and interesting wildlife. Making it a bucket list worthy destination for any family.

What sold it to me first was finding The Palms Hotel & Spa. This retro chic hotel not only has a fabulous beachfront location but it is also part of Beyond Green, a group of the worlds most sustainable hotels.

So after doing my research and due-diligence I felt assured I could still visit a 'big, popular city' in a way that would leave only 'little footprints' behind.

Next, of course was to lock down what we were going to do!

Our big adventure?

A big must for the four of us was to visit the Everglades National Park! This world heritage site provides an unparalleled landscape for all sorts of rare and endangered flora and fauna like the Manatee, American crocodile and the elusive Florida panther.

While there are numerous companies that offer tours here - we booked with Wild Lime Adventures, a highly recommended eco-tour company that took us on its most adventurous full-day trip that experiences the Everglades three different ways (more on that to come)!

I cannot recommend this more. Our guide Stacy was fabulous and each eco-system was so different and fascinating. It was a big day for the kids but they loved it and were able to sneak in a cheeky nap along the way which certainly helps!

Explore Miami's colorful history

'Traveling sustainably' isn't just about limiting your carbon footprint or plastic use, it's also about helping preserving a destinations history and culture. The best way to do this is by learning about it.

It's no secret that Miami's South Beach is known for it's bright, colorful buildings - what's known as 'art-deco' design. A movement in architecture that originated in the 1920s and developed into a major style in western Europe and the United States during the 1930s.

The Miami Design and Preservation League offers daily walking tours of this area which go for 90-120 minutes. Now, not only do my kids (aged 2 and 4) not have this sort of attention span but I also didn't want to impede on anyone else tour.

Instead, we were able to download the app and do it ourselves! Which I think is such a great option for families. As parents, we still got to do a tour we were interested in but at our own pace. Meaning we could stop for food, drinks and a play in the park along the way! Making everyone happy.

Experience it's vibrant and varied culture

There are so many fun and interesting neighborhoods in Miami, almost none more so than Little Havana – the heart of Miami’s Cuban diaspora.

We decided to spend an afternoon here, exploring it's main street of Calle Ocho which is lined with Latin-inspired restaurants, art galleries, cigar shops and music venues.

Every time we travel, I encourage my family to step outside their comfort zone and try something new. While my stuntman husband might be adventurous when it comes to adrenaline activities but he's not when it comes to food.

My intention coming here was to introduce my family to Cuban culture and cuisine which is why we booked an early dinner at Sala'o. I recommend the signature sword-fish which is so good I'm almost drooling just thinking of it!

Must try

IF you have any room to spare after that (lets face it, there's always room for dessert) you must visit Azucar Ice-Cream which is just down the road. It is a much-loved family institution here in Little Havana. Events to plan around?

While Miami is a destination you can visit year-round (some avoid summer because of the heat, humidity and chance of a hurricane... I myself grew up in these conditions and feel quite at home) there are many events to plan your trip. Check out this list by the tourism board before you book.

I was really keen to align our trip with the International Coastal Cleanup day which is in September each year. I understand this isn't for everyone - but I really wanted to involve the kids in this very simple activity that I thought would spark some interesting questions. I was right!

This small moment has had a huge impact on my 4-year old in the best possible way. He loved being involved even more than I expected, understanding why it matters and feeling like he'd done something really important to help.

Now, he's the first one to grab my hand and take me to get rubbish he can see and always ensures he puts his in the trash.

I think if I I tried to explain this to him on his own it wouldn't have had the same impact - but by traveling, having encounters with wildlife and being part of this cleanup with others he can see it's part of something bigger than just him.

Also it's worth checking out what events are on at the The Miami Bandshell before you book your trip. This open-air live music venue boasts music, arts and culture year-round, with a diverse mix of genres. It's also been voted the 'sustainable venue of the year' because of it's many initiatives and unique design - ensuring you leave only a little footprint behind.

Getting around

This is often the most tricky bit of traveling with young kid who still require a car seat. Fortunately, public transport like buses and trains don't require you to have this, but can often be a longer and harder way to travel with extra bags.

We hired an electric car for our time in Miami, which was easy to do from the airport. Families traveling through the airport can also grab a Fly Green Activity Book, a great way to keep children entertained while learning about conservation and sustainable practices.

The local tourism board has a great article on all it's green travel options and efforts.

If you're not traveling with small kids, Citi Bike is a great way to get around. There's a bike path right outside The Palms Hotel which takes you on a direct, easy ride straight into South Beach (and is way faster than traffic!)

Thanks for reading, I hope it helps. If you'd like to watch an episode of our epic adventures in Miami, follow this link.

Amber x


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