How To Self Explore Near Miami Cruise Port


We wanted to tell you a little about our recent trip to Miami in the United States and share some tips in our Guide On What To Do In Miami Cruise Port. Because quite frankly I can’t wait to go back to explore this exciting vibrant city in South Florida again. 

Part of cruising is the exploring right? And I have to tell you that I wasn’t to excited about staying in Miami! Last time we visited Miami for a pre cruise visit, we stayed in a swanky airport hotel. We didn’t even venture into town, I really did believe it was all hype.

How wrong can a person be? We weren’t blessed with traditional Miami weather on this trip, but instead were welcomed with terribly windy but oddly warm showery days. Yet in hindsight that was a blessing, as we got out and really saw Miami and there is plenty to do when the sun isnt out. I have no doubt, had it been sunny we would have made full use of the hotel pool. Thus my only regret is that we didn’t stay longer. If you are hopping off on a beach trip in Florida its worth checking out which of the beaches are the safest as some beaches can be dangerous.

11 Amazing Things to Do Near Miami PortVisit South Beach, See The Famous South Beach, Beach Huts, Check Out The Art Deco Buildings, Take A Walking Tour Or Hire Bike In Miami Cruise Port , Enjoy A Bottomless Brunch At The Palace On South Beach, Explore Little Havana., Visit the Miami Design District, Check Out The Perez Art Museum Miami, Check out the Art Deco District, Visit the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Enjoy the Wynwood Walls
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

AD We have been or could be if you click on a link in this post compensated via a cash payment, gift or something else of value for writing this post. See our full disclosure policy and privacy policy for more details.

What To Do In Miami Cruise Port And How To Self Explore

How We Got To Miami Beach Area From Miami Airport Or The Cruise Port

We flew into Miami airport, the closest airport to the port of Miami for our cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line, on Norwegian Encore. But you have to factor in that Miami customs is slow. We are talking passengers should expect it to take 2 hours to get through and get their luggage. Although I have also known it take 3 hours, I kid you not! My advice would be get off the plane quick, dont stop for the bathroom, get to the queue as soon as you can.

If you are staying in Miami for a pre cruise stay we have popped some hotel suggestions below. Also getting to your hotel is so easy no need to pre book transfers. Simply use the Uber app, we never had to wait long 5 minutes tops during the whole trip.

Although on the trip from the airport, we did get one car from Uber and one taxi from the airport. We were travelling as a large group and didn’t all have the the Uber app. The Uber cost $25, whereas the taxi from outside the airport cost $55. Thats a huge difference for 2 cars doing the same trip at the same time of day.

Where to stay near Miami Cruise Port
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

How We Got To The Miami Cruise Terminal From Miami Beach

We didn’t make the same mistake again! Thus after our 2 night stay, used Uber to get to the Cruise Ship at the NCL Dock at the Port of Miami Cruise Terminal at the end of our stay, this cost $30 for 4 people and 4 cases. Again the Uber was easy order and arrived at the time stated.

How Far Was The Walk From North Beach To South Beach In Miami?

Once in our hotel we grabbed a glass of wine and planned the next couple of days. (We had chosen the Rui Plaza for its beach location, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.) However was less expensive being a little further up the coast of Miami Beach Boardwalk on North Beach.

Don’t let North Beach locations put you off, we walked up along the sand to South Beach and it took around 20-30 minutes. Although please do bear in mind, that was with me constantly stopping to take photos, we could have done it quicker. The location of the Rui Plaza was fabulous, backing onto the beach and the hotel has a great pool.

What to do near Miami Cruise Port
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
What to do in Miami Port pre cruise vacation
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

What To Do On Miami Beach, Near Miami Cruise Port

See The Famous Miami Beach, Beach Huts

South Beach is a must-see destination in Miami. Whilst famous for its white sands, endless beaches, turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean and brightly coloured beach huts. We spent hours strolling along, taking in all the sights. Plus take the time to chill and rent beach chairs, an umbrella, and enjoy water sports such as jet skiing, parasailing, or paddle-boarding. For me the beach huts were a real highlight they just light up the beach, it was great walking along the boulevard discovering the next colourful hut, one by one.

Guide, What To Do In Miami Cruise Port
Photo Credit: Miami Beach Huts, Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Check Out The Art Deco Buildings

Of course, you can’t visit South Beach and not check out the largest collection of candy-coloured Art Deco buildings and architecture in the world. You can either self explore or take a city tour. I honestly can’t describe how incredible the Art Deco area is. If you love architecture then its a real treat to wander taking in the sights stopping for the odd cocktail or or course coffee.

South beach Art Deco Buildings in  Miami
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Take A Walking Tour Or Hire A Bike Near Miami Cruise Terminal

Take a walking tour and learn about the history and architecture of the buildings, such as the The ‘Birdcage Club’ itself is actually now a wonderful cafe called the Birdcage Cafe, 1250 Ocean Drive at 13th Street. Built in 1939, it’s one of South Beach’s oldest and most celebrated Art Deco landmarks. We stopped here for cocktails and it didn’t disappoint, plus is the perfect instagramable sport.

Visit the Birdcage in South Beach Miami
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
South Beach in Miami
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Enjoy A Bottomless Brunch At The Palace On South Beach

If you are going to be in Miami for a couple of days check out the Palace Bottomless Brunch. Alternatively nip in to see a free show a grab a cocktail. I cant tell you how incredible this show is. Those ladies were awesome, and the atmosphere was electric, we were so glad we stumbled across this fun bar.

South Beach is also known for its vibrant lively nightlife. Visit some of the famous nightclubs, bars and lounges for a cocktail or two.

The Palace Bottomless Brunch on South Beach Miami
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Visit the Perez Art Museum

The Perez Art Museum Miami features some really cool contemporary art exhibitions from around the world. Check out works by international artists, enjoy a performance in the outdoor space or wander the outside sculpture garden.

Founded in 1984 as the Center for Fine Arts and was later renamed the Miami Art Museum. In 2013, The Pérez Art Museum Miami, commonly known as PAMM, is a contemporary art museum, was renamed again after a $40 million donation from local real estate developers Jorge and Darlene Pérez.

The museum’s collection focuses on modern and contemporary art from the 20th and 21st centuries, with an emphasis on art from the Americas. The collection includes works by prominent artists such as Kehinde Wiley, Julie Mehretu, and Yayoi Kusama, as well as a great collection of art from the Caribbean and Latin America.

The Pérez Art Museum Miami,
Photo Credit: Perez Art Museum

Check Out Little Havana

Little Havana is a colorful and cultural neighbourhood in Miami. It has authentic Cuban feel with restaurants, lively music, art galleries, and shops that sell hand-rolled cigars.

Visitors to Little Havana can enjoy a variety of cultural experiences, including watching live salsa music and dance performances, visiting museums and art galleries, and exploring historic landmarks such as the Bay of Pigs Museum, the Tower Theater, and the Walk of Fame.

Miami Design District

The Miami Design District is a trendy and stylish area that’s home to luxury fashion brands, boutiques, art galleries, and upscale restaurants. Because of this, its a great place to visit, shop and people watch. It’s located just north of downtown Miami.

The neighborhood was originally a rundown industrial area, but it has undergone a massive transformation in recent years, becoming a hub for art, design, and culture. It is now home to over 130 art galleries, showrooms, and museums, as well as some of the world’s most famous luxury fashion brands, including Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton.

Explore Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a historic estate, the estate was originally built as a winter home for James Deering, a wealthy businessman, in the early 20th century. Today, it’s open to the public as a museum and cultural center.

The estate includes a 34-room Italian Renaissance-style villa, formal gardens, and a collection of decorative arts and furnishings from the 15th through the 19th centuries. The gardens are spread over 10 acres and feature sculptures, fountains and many species of plants and trees.

Visitors to the museum can take guided tours of the villa and gardens, The museum also offers a variety of exhibits and displays throughout the year, showcasing the history and culture of Miami and its surrounding areas. Tickets cost, $25 for adults, plus children 6-12 are $10 and under 5s are free.

vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami near Miami Port
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Check Out The Art And Culture At The Wynwood Walls, We Loved It

The Wynwood Walls is a glorious outdoor street art museum, craft market and street food market located in the Wynwood neighbourhood of Miami. I suggest getting an Uber from Miami Cruise Port which took us around 10 minutes drive away but is totally worth the fare. Notably, Wynwood Walls is open to the public seven days a week and admission is also free.

Wynwood Walls In Miami
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Featuring a collection of large murals and also stunning street art created by some of the world’s most prominent artists. The Wynwood Walls were established in 2009 by the late Tony Goldman, a real estate developer and art lover, as a way to revitalise the Wynwood neighbourhood which was formerly an industrial area.

What to do in Miami Cruise port
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Since opening, The Wynwood Walls has become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Hence the cool chilled out vibe attracts thousands of visitors every year. In addition to the outdoor murals, the Wynwood Walls also features a rotating collection of indoor art exhibits and galleries. We spent some time there eating street food and sipping cocktails, the atmosphere is incredible, and whilst the food portions were small they were tasty.

Wynwood Walls is open to the public seven days a week and admission is free.
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Check Out The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science and Planetarium 

The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is a science museum and planetarium located in Miami. It opened in May 2017 and is named after philanthropists Phillip and Patricia Frost, who donated $45 million to the project.

The museum consists of four buildings, covering 250,000 square feet of space, that exhibits on a range of scientific topics, including physics, chemistry, biology, and also technology. One of the buildings is a three-level aquarium that houses a variety of marine animals, including sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles.

We Stayed At The Rui Plaza on Miami Beach

We spend two nights at the Rui Plaza Hotel on Miami Beach which had a walkway to the beach and was a 30 minute walk to the art deco area. An Uber from the airport cost us $28 and the hotel cost £583 pounds for 2 night, which isn’t bad by Miami standards. The hotel had a pool, restaurant and bar areas however we didn’t chill round the pool as we were out exploring.

Our room was spotlessly clean, but maybe a little tired. However this wouldn’t put me off rebooking as its beach location was fabulous, with one of the famous Miami beach huts right outside.

The Rui Plaza on Miami Beach
Photo Credit, Sarah Christie, Cruising with Kids
Artwork in Miami
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Miami Port, There Is So Much To Do

Whether it is pre or post cruises from Miami, or indeed a mid-cruise port stop, Miami is a must. Its the ultimate city of culture with a diverse mix of activities. Thus, there is something for everyone. Whether its chilling on the beach, shopping, dining or checking our culture and art Miami Cruise Port will not disappoint.


  • Sarah Christie

    Sarah also writes for Mini Travellers Family Travel Blog and Extraordinary Chaos Craft and Lifestyle Blog. Both are award-winning blogs with a travel and family focus. She is married and has two boys, aged 18 and 22, who all love cruising as a family. Nothing is better than waking up every day in a new port with new and exciting things to explore. She aims to share how cruising as a family with young adults is the perfect choice for family travel. Her boys are sporty and love the activities, sports and dining options cruising offers. Sarah has worked with brands such as Walt Disney World, Mark Warner, Ikos Resort, Center Parcs, Laura Ashley, Belling and Next.

    View all posts

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.