By Amy Tara Koch
January 17, 2014

Fact: South Beach is a paradise for grown-ups: sun, sea, sand and a super-sexy party scene.

But, here’s a little-known secret: Miami is a spectacular family getaway. This past winter break, I headed down to South Florida with my husband and two daughters to defrost and indulge in some family fab adventures.


For this trip, we shacked up at the Fontainebleau. Located on the beach, this iconic hotel offers apartment style suites outfitted with a washer/dryer and kitchen, a major bonus for a travelling family. This allowed me to pack less and be better prepared for the hunger-inspired tantrums that crop up every few hours. Having a leisurely breakfast in our PJs versus having to get dressed and face the crowds (pre-caffeine) for overpriced cereal is a game changer. It is a luxury that adds that extra element of relaxation to the vacation.


Before taking a family trip, I create a worksheet for my kids to investigate where we are going and what we will be doing. In doing the research, they learn nuances of the destination and are invested and engaged in the trip.


Each day we split our time hanging out on the beach and having an adventure. Our favorite afternoon was spent on my daughter’s 8th birthday at the Miami Seaquarium (pictured) where we took in the shows and signed on for a behind-the scenes “encounter” with the dolphins. Accompanied by trainers, we put on wet suits and hopped into the cool water at Dolphin Harbor to swim with the animals. A Miami native, I know how committed the Seaquarium is to education and the rehabilitation of distressed animals. Many of the dolphins that we interacted with were rescue animals. Just north of Miami Beach is the Florida Everglades, where you can take an open air boat ride through alligator and python filled mangrove swamps. South of Miami Beach is Crandon Park Beach, a unique ecosystem which offers an incredible opportunity to observe mangroves, dunes, sea grass beds and an array of tropical birds. In South Florida, boating is a way of life. While sailing with friends, we explored hidden spots only accessible by boat like Stiltsville, in the Biscayne Channel, Elliott Key and secret canal mazes woven in and around the Intracoastal. For a dose of culture, hop over to Wynwood to check out the burgeoning gallery scene and graffiti art walls peppering this super trendy neighborhood.


One of the things I love about Miami is an undeniably exotic food scene. We always eat a low-key lunch and a more glamorous dinner. Kids-in-tow best bets: Michael‘s Genuine Food & Drink; Gotham Lounge; Prime 112; Big Pinks; Cecconi; and Toscana Divino.

Guest family blogger Amy Tara Koch is a style expert, author, journalist and travel aficionado. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. Check out her blog, Amy Tara Koch.