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7 Places You'll Love in Miami Before Your Cruise

I have a passion for writing and reviewing cruise ship travel, tips, etiquette, and packing hacks that makes cruise vacations better.

What should you do in Miami before a cruise?

What should you do in Miami before a cruise?

Coconut Grove in Miami Has Great Options for Food and Fun

If you're cruising from the Port of Miami and need something to do the day before, this little itinerary will entice you with a quaint area, great beaches, and amazing food ideas. We start many of our cruise vacations from either Miami or Fort Lauderdale, so we're no strangers to this area.

Where to Stay in Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove is the happening place to stay in the Miami area. Since you may not have a car, you'll be excited with many places within walking distance of the hotels, shops, and restaurants. The Hampton Inn, Residence Inn, Ritz Carlton, Sonesta, Mia Luxe, Mayfair, and the Mutiny are within a 9- to 15-minute walk to most of the places I'm about to share with you. If Airbnb is more your style, there are also over 150 to choose from in the Coconut Grove area.

Feeling happy with my husband and nephew at Happy Wine the evening before our cruise!

Feeling happy with my husband and nephew at Happy Wine the evening before our cruise!

Where to Eat in Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove is bustling with quaint shops, bars, and restaurants. The best place for a cup of joe is Panther Coffee, where they roast and sell their coffee blends. There's a long line, so I recommend downloading their app and ordering ahead for an easy pick-up.

For lunch, I recommend a little seafood dive bar and grill called Baracuda...or as the locals call it "Cuda." If you love conch fritters, this is the place. I highly recommend the Red Snapper with black beans and rice or the Grouper. You get a large portion for the small price of $14. Everything in this place is nautical and made of wood. There are even long tables for playing beer pong, should you want to get a little crazy. Speaking of beer, they have over 50 varieties from which to choose.

Our favorite place in Coconut Grove is "Happy Wine," which was introduced to us by my nephew, who lives a few doors down. I recommend the "Chuleton De Carne" (16 oz NY Strip steak) pictured below. It's some of the best steak I've ever eaten. For an appetizer, I recommend the mussels, also the best I've had. They have the perfect spice, and the Andouille sausage in the sauce rounds this dish out nicely; you can't go wrong with this combination or anything on their menu, to be honest. They have hundreds of wines to choose from to either consume there or take with you. You can also order their wines online.

Where to Play in Miami/South Florida

Key Biscayne in Miami is a huge public beach access area. Parking is $5–$7, or you can grab an Uber or Lyft. There's a magnificent paved walking/running trail along the highway with a beautiful view of the Port of Miami/cruise ships. There are numerous areas to relax on a white-sand beach, such as Crandon Park Beach, a two-mile beach that is one of the most popular beaches in Miami.

If you have the time and a car, take a short, hour-long drive to Key Largo's John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which is a snorkeling and kayaking hot spot right from the beach. The cost to rent a mask is only $2.00, and a semi-dry snorkel is a $10 purchase, yours to keep, which will come in handy on your cruise.

When you're finished snorkeling, be sure to stop at The Fisheries Backyard in Key Largo (right on the water!) for some fresh seafood. I recommend the Conch Fritters and Coconut Shrimp.

Key Biscayne Beaches and Trails

Key Biscayne in November

Key Biscayne in November

View of the cruise port from the bike/running trail in Key Biscayne

View of the cruise port from the bike/running trail in Key Biscayne

Now that you know what to do, where to stay, and what to eat in Miami pre-cruise, don't miss my hot tips on cruise cabin organization.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Debra Roberts

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