Consider this tour to be a South Florida sampler. There's not enough time in 2 weeks to see and do everything, but we've custom-built an itinerary that will provide you with a locals'-eye view of some of the best diversions South Florida is known for. Whether you're a beach bum or a beachcomber, a club hopper or someone who prefers to swing a club, a nature lover or a people-watcher, there's something for everyone on this tour.
Days 1 & 2: Arrive in Key West
After arriving in the so-called Conch Republic (or Margaritaville, if you will), plan to spend a day or two. A full day on the 4x2-mile island is plenty for exploring, but if you're into doing the Duval Bar Crawl, you may want to leave yourself a day to recover from that inevitable hangover. Focus most of your sightseeing energy on Old Town, where you'll see stunning, restored Victorian-style homes; lush, tropical greenery; and the old Bahama Village. Be sure not to miss the sunset celebration at Mallory Square, and, if possible, do dinner at Blue Heaven in Bahama Village. Then hit the Duval Street bars if you're so inclined. Spend the next day either relaxing at your hotel pool -- we recommend the Gardens Hotel and Simonton Court for a true Key West experience -- or exploring the historic seaport and all its shops and Key West kitsch.
Day 3: Miami: Coral Gables, Little Havana & South Beach
Take the 3-hour drive on the Overseas Highway to Miami -- one of the most scenic drives you'll ever take, albeit sometimes a boring one. If you've seen it before, consider booking a flight. If you're driving, make a pit stop in Coral Gables about six miles southwest of Miami proper, where you can get a bite to eat at the Latin American Cafeteria or on Miracle Mile, or cool off in the Venetian Pool. If you like what you see, check into the historic Biltmore Hotel. If not, then at least see the hotel and continue on to Southwest 8th Street, otherwise known as Calle Ocho, the heart of Little Havana. Peruse the cigar stores and the old men playing dominoes in Domino Park. Grab a Cuban coffee at Versailles, and then head north to South Beach to spend the night at one of its trendy (or kitschy) hotels.
Day 4: South Beach
Wake up early and catch the sunrise on the beach. Have breakfast at the Front Porch Café. Stake your claim on the sand and spend the morning by the water. Hit Lincoln Road for lunch, and then shop there and along Collins Avenue before having a cocktail at the Rose Bar at the Delano, Skybar at the Shore Club, or, for an ocean view with your martini, the Ritz-Carlton South Beach's DiLido Beach Club. If you have the energy, continue north along Collins Avenue to its newest crown jewel, the W South Beach. Marvel at its Miami-meets-Bali decor, have a drink, or just bask in the beauty. Return to your own hotel for a disco nap; wake up around 9pm. If you can't sleep that long, head south, stopping first to marvel at the bay views and unreal, surrealist decor of the Mondrian, and then to Smith & Wollensky to toast the cruise ships leaving the port. Have dinner at Prime 112 if you can snag a reservation, or, for a less pricey, yet still sceney dining experience, the Café at Books and Books, and then hit the clubs and lounges: Wall, LIV, Mansion, Cameo, and Set. Grab a late-night snack at La Sandwicherie, or the 11th Street Diner, and then crash at your hotel.
Day 5: From South Beach to Fort Lauderdale
Have breakfast at the Big Pink or the 11th Street Diner and watch the club kids coming home from the night before. Get in the car and take Fla. A1A north -- the scenic route. If you haven't already, stop into the $500-million-plus behemoth known as the Fontainebleau and see if you can feel the spirit of Sinatra and Co. amid all its modern-day glory. Continue north until you hit the recently spruced-up Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, our version of Atlantic City, without the casinos. If you're hungry, have the world's best burger at Le Tub. Continue along A1A until you reach the famous Fort Lauderdale strip. Take a break at the world-famous Elbo Room and watch the action on the beach, or swank it up a bit at the spanking-new W Fort Lauderdale, where views of the ocean are almost as good as the people-watching. Spend the night there or, for a little old-world charm, at the Riverside Hotel on Las Olas Boulevard.
Day 6: Sand, Seminoles & Santana
Hit famous Fort Lauderdale Beach, where Frankie and Annette used to play beach-blanket bingo. Then you might head west to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, where you can catch a concert by a Billboard-charting artist or even Jerry Seinfeld, hit the jackpot on the slots (the hotel claims it pays out $13 million daily!), play a hand or 10 of blackjack and poker, or, for a cheaper alternative, just relax by the pool. It's almost as nice as, if not nicer than, the one at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas. Then head out to spot signs of real wildlife in the Everglades.
Days 7 & 8: Everglades National Park
Travel 45 minutes west on I-75 to the Seminole Indian Reservation, which encompasses more than 69,000 acres of the Everglades' Big Cypress Swamp. Hop on a swamp buggy at the Billie Swamp Safari to see hogs, bison, gators, and deer. Continue west to Everglades City, check into the Ivey House B&B, and ask owners Sandee and David if they can hook you up with a special, insiders' tour of the 'Glades.
Days 9 & 10: The Palm Beaches
After leaving charming and historic Everglades City, head east and north to charming, historic, and bustling Delray Beach, where the only alligators you'll likely see are the purses of the ladies who lunch and lounge there. Check into the Sundy House and peruse the hotel's Taru Gardens. The next day, do not miss the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens before moving on to West Palm Beach, where you should check into the Hotel Biba and do a little antiques shopping in downtown West Palm. At night, check out the clubs and restaurants in downtown West Palm, at City Place, or on Clematis Street. Be sure to have a beer and enjoy the view at Bradley's.
Day 11: From Mar-A-Lago to the Moon -- or Jupiter, at Least
Spend the morning driving around Palm Beach, making sure to stop and catch a glimpse of Donald Trump's palatial Mar-A-Lago. Stop by Worth Avenue to see the ladies with little dogs who lunch and shop. It's the Rodeo Drive of South Florida, truly, and you can't miss the people-watching there. For a glimpse inside a Palm Beach manse, go to the Flagler Museum, where you can explore Whitehall, Standard Oil tycoon Henry Flagler's wedding present to his third wife. Go back to reality and head toward Jupiter (Florida, not the planet!). Check into the PGA National Resort & Spa.
Days 12 & 13: The Treasure Coast
You may not find gold on the Treasure Coast, but you will find Jonathan Dickinson State Park on Hutchinson Island, where you should rent a canoe and explore the many botanical treasures. If you're into snorkeling and diving and feel like delving deeper, check out the USS Rankin, an old World War II ship that was sunk in 1988, 7 miles east-northeast of the St. Lucie Inlet. Check into the Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort and Marina, and consider taking the Loxahatchee Queen for a 2-hour tour of the area. The next day, head to Vero Beach and Sebastian for a taste of Old Florida. Check into the unique Driftwood Resort or Gloria Estefan's swanky new 94-room boutique hotel, Costa D'Este Beach Resort, and have dinner at Oriente, a Cuban restaurant with Spanish and Creole accents, if your budget allows. If not, just grab a slice of pizza at Nino's Cafe.
Day 14: Lake Okeechobee or Bust?
If you can't extend your trip to include a side trip to Lake Okeechobee, consider it for next time. In the meantime, fly home out of either Palm Beach International Airport, 35 miles south of Vero Beach, or the Melbourne International Airport, which is less than 35 miles north of Vero Beach.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.