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By: Shayne Benowitz

One of the great things about a cruise vacation embarking from PortMiami is that you can easily extend your stay in Miami and double up on vacation fun. We’ve put together a three-day, family-friendly itinerary that takes you from bayside discoveries in Downtown Miami to the laidback, historic neighborhood of Coconut Grove and, of course, plenty of time to soak up the sun on famous South Beach. It’s packed with insider tips tailored to families with children of all ages. What are you waiting for? Book a few extra days to discover Miami on your next cruise vacation.

Day One – Downtown Discoveries

Morning

Make your way to Bayfront Park where you can spend the morning outside in the heart of Downtown Miami overlooking Biscayne Bay. You’ll enjoy sweeping views of the city skyline, as well as mesmerizing views across the bay to South Beach. Walk the various waterfront paths and give the kids an opportunity to run around in the park and playgrounds here.

As you make your way north, you’ll eventually reach Bayside Marketplace, an outdoor shopping mall with various restaurants and live music. Do a little souvenir shopping and purchase your tickets on the Island Queen sightseeing boat. There are various tours to choose from, but your family will definitely enjoy the Millionaire’s Row Cruise around Biscayne Bay to see the lavish homes on Star Island, Fisher Island and South Beach. It’s a great way to get the lay of the land and see Miami from a different perspective. You can also test your sea legs for your big cruise to come.

Afternoon

Once you return from your cruise, continue north along the waterfront to Museum Park where both Frost Science and the Pérez Art Museum Miami overlook Biscayne Bay. The former is one of the world’s only science museums to boast both a planetarium and an aquarium, while the latter is Miami’s premier contemporary art museum. If your children are on the younger side, you may wish to visit the Miami Children’s Museum on nearby Watson Island for hands-on exhibits geared specifically to them.

Evening

For a taste of culture during your visit, check the calendar at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the evening programming at their onsite branch of local indie bookstore Books & Books. From Broadway musicals to ballet, opera and author readings, both venues offer a dynamic lineup of cultural entertainment. Plan to enjoy dinner at The Café at Books & Books and allow some time to browse the bookshelves for reading material on the sun deck while you’re cruising the high seas later in the week. Books & Books famously boasts a great collection of children’s books and young adult novels.

Day Two – Discover Coconut Grove

Morning

Coconut Grove is a great neighborhood ideal for family exploration. With outdoor, historic and shopping attractions in an area that’s low key and easy to navigate, touring Coconut Grove is a cinch. Stroll the waterfront at Dinner Key Marina where sailboats, fishing skiffs and yachts line the bay for picturesque views. For families with kids who are competent swimmers, you may want to embark on a kayaking or paddleboarding adventure from there or head to nearby Kennedy Park to walk the trails overlooking the bay.

The Barnacle House and Historic State Park is also nearby overlooking the bay where you can learn about Old Miami, hike atop a hardwood hammock and enjoy those endless bay views.

Afternoon

Next, head to Vizcaya Museum & Gardens and step into the Italian Renaissance in South Florida at this historic estate built by developer James Deering. It’s a true architectural marvel featuring a main house with 34 rooms decorated with European antiquities, ten acres of formal gardens and a grotto overlooking Biscayne Bay. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time and onto another continent.

Evening

Coconut Grove is a buzzing destination in the evening with the cafes along Main Highway, Grand Avenue, McFarlane Road and Commodore Plaza. Greenstreet Café is a classic spot for a family dinner with tons of Coconut Grove character. The American menu has plenty to choose from with hearty portions and affordable prices, perfect for families with eclectic tastes.

Day Three – Discover South Beach

Morning

A trip to Miami is incomplete without experiencing South Beach. Start your morning on Ocean Drive and wander around Lummus Park to marvel at the historic Art Deco architecture of the neon and pastel hotels and restaurants that line the street. Head south of Fifth Street (SoFi) for a morning on the sand in a more relaxed and family-friendly beach setting. You can also explore nearby South Pointe Park and walk along the South Pointe Pier for breathtaking views of South Beach.

Afternoon

For lunch, head to the brand new Time Out Market Miami, boasting 20 restaurant vendors representing the best of Miami dining. The little ones will love pizza from Beach Pie or burgers from Kush, while the grown ups can dine on sophisticated fare like oysters from Salt & Brine or sushi by Wabi Sabi. There’s also a central bar serving craft cocktails, wine and beer. Don’t skip ice cream for dessert at Azucar. The market is adjacent to Lincoln Road Mall, a prime spot for people watching in the heart of South Beach and the perfect destination for afternoon shopping and gallery hopping.

Evening

In the evening, check the calendar at the nearby New World Center. This Frank Gehry-designed building is home to America’s orchestral academy and offers incredible free outdoor cultural programming at its Soundscape Park. From live “wallcasts” of symphony performances to screenings of classic movies on its 7,000-square-foot exterior wall, it’s the perfect place to end the day with a picnic and allow the kids to run around the green grass at this beautiful 2.5 acre park in the heart of South Beach.

Read More:

Getting to PortMiami
Cruising From PortMiami
Family-Friendly Free Events and Festivals in Miami
Visit The Best Beaches In Miami

More About Cruising Out Of Miami

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