We’ve already checked off the best weekend getaways in Georgia, New York, and California, but our countdown to Labor Day is just heating up. Next stop: Florida.
Home to warm turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and Art Deco-inspired dream hotels, the South Beach scene of Miami is packed with a spectacular beachy kind of bling–a neverending tropical carnival that captures the celebratory spirit of summer.
Stay: One of the newest and freshest additions to the high-fantasy seductive sprawl is actually an affordable hostel—it’s just disguised as a luxury hotel. The renowned team responsible for the hippest of the hip (the trendy Ace Hotel and The Nomad in New York) brings us The Freehand, an authentic Art Deco historic hostel with rooms that are bright and airy, aesthetically sharp, and incredibly affordable. Round up a group of friends and split a 4-person bunkroom for only $45 per person. Seeking more privacy? Indulge in a luxury private room starting at only $121 a night. Also, get an additional 20 percent off (including free breakfast) when you use the promo code: Summer15.
Explore: Beyond lounging lazily on the white sand beaches, the leading charm of The Freehand hostel is that it comes packed with recommendations on how to explore the city, as well as providing unique group activities—sort of a like a very adult summer camp. Take a nighttime dip under the stars at the Full Moon Night Swim Party, the hostel’s official pool party packed with live music and hand-crafted cocktails. Sharpen your water sport skills with a slew of available classes, like kite boarding, surfing, or paddle boarding.
Break away form the pretty poolside and dip into some culture.Thanks to the annual art fair, Art Basel, Miami has been gaining international acclaim as a growing mecca for contemporary art. We recommend starting with the Rubella Family Collection, Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, or World Class Boxing. A perfect art spectrum for the beginning connoisseur; soon you’ll be dropping contemporary art stats like a pro.
Dine: You don’t even have to leave The Freeman to find yourself in the finest culinary hands. Begin your night at the hostel’s main social hub, The Broken Shaker. Wet your appetite on a Salted Pretzel Old-Fashioned, a bourbon-based drink served with salted pretzel reduction and Guinness stout bitters. Yum! Head next door for a decadent dinner at 27, a small historic house located on the hostel’s property. The farm-to-table restaurant pays homage to the rich diversity of Miami’s melting pot of cultures and flavors. Try the local daily catch served in a coconut curry broth, or feast family-style on Abuela’s Fricase de Conejo, a delicious whole braised rabbit.
Shop: Let’s just say there won’t be a shortage of shopping in Miami. One of our favorites is the Alchemist, a uniquely designed store featuring trendy gifts and designer threads from the likes of Givenchy and Isabel Marant. Make a stop at BASE and purchase a bottle of Sea or Sand to go; the luxury fragrance is a favorite at this phenomenally curated store.
Chill: Heading to Miami in August to recoup couldn’t be more appropriate. It’s officially Spa Month! We recommend celebrating at Acqualina Resort and Spa On The Beach. Try The Ultimate Anti-Aging Facial, a non-invasive facial that combines three anti-aging treatments in one: Microdermabrasion, Micro Current Lifting, and LED Light Therapy. You might end up leaving looking younger than when you arrived.