South Beach, Miami is nothing like the way that I used to love it! It was lined with these amazing cafés and clubs all over the place that was full, and a nice variety of them too. Every demographic had something to choose from. I would have a good time at the Clevelander listening to live bands that were playing everything from Frankie Beverly and Maze, to the current top 40. Specialize boutiques, high-end stores, and T-shirt shops; they all had a home there.
Sadly, my last visit to South Beach reminded me that it’s only a shadow of what it used to be. It’s now a haven for the drunken scantly clad and their drug infused counterparts. There’s nothing impressive about being on South Beach anymore. The allure that it once had of being this tropical oasis, yet still in the United States, is no longer there. Gone are the days of decent affordable fun! And speaking of affordability, I met a lady from Paris with a bewildered look on her face that told me, “ South Beach is more expensive than Paris.” She’s right! I’ve been to Paris twice and I don’t think I spent nearly as much money in Paris as I did trying to navigate my way through the tourist traps on Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, and Alton Road. But then I had to think for what? What is it to do there that is so impressive? Having a Banana Republic close to the beach isn’t a drawing card anymore. Most metropolitan cities have the same chain retail stores that are on South Beach. Nothing is distinctly South Beach. Miami Vice was over 30 years ago, so today’s night lifers are disconnected from the very show that, in a way, help revitalize the area from obscurity. The Versace family have long fled, and rightfully so after the murder of Gianni Versace on the steps of his Ocean Drive estate.
This last time I was there, the DJ was spinning that mumble Hip-Hop and Raggaeton…. I hate both. No offense to them that are into it, but …. let me stop being diplomatic…its trash to me. I paid $20USD per day to park, even though I had a hotel. Other than Wet Willies, a cocktail will cost you around $15USD and upward. You better tell them to hold the ice because you’re sure to get a glass full of it. Nothing pisses me off more than a cocktail full of ice (I just had to say that). The staff at every establishment weren’t engaging and borderline rude. Oh, and many restaurants include the tip on your bill…good service or not. Oh, I can’t tell you how many times I was approached for a drug deal. I was turned off to say the least.
If you’ve thought about vacationing in South Beach, save your money and go elsewhere. Bottom line… South Beach is too pricey and the offerings are not good. Expensive parking, overpriced restaurants (unless you want to eat at Friday’s on Ocean Drive), clothing stores that sell stuff that you wouldn’t dare wear on your day-to-day, and less than stellar night life, South Beach has gone to the dogs. I don’t necessarily know what South Beach is going through, but I hope it finds its identity and better price points very soon. There are too many destinations around the world that are doing a whole lot better, and quite affordable in comparison to South Beach, Miami.
Here are my recommendations for beach getaways:
Fort Lauderdale Beach- More affordable and the beach front is just as gorgeous
Cancun- That Peso to the USD or CAD dollar conversion will make you happy. The beaches are super, and the food is fantastic (don’t drink the water though… bottled water only).
Long Beach, California- Always a good time on Long Beach and the people are really chill.
Montevideo, Uruguay- I can’t sing this destinations praises enough!!!! Great food, affordable, beautiful beaches, beautiful people, and nice architecture are a win win in Montevideo. People forget about this little country south of Brazil, but man is it a fantastic time.
If you’re going to spend your hard earned money to get a way… know that you have plenty of options, and make sure you have your passport ready!