Spring break in Miami: Make it fabulous

Spring break is what you make of it, and in a city like Miami, students remaining on campus can sure make it fabulous. With countless local attractions and swimsuit-friendly dives, your 2010 Miami spring break has the potential to be so clothing-optional and SPF-soaked, it will keep you relaxed until finals week.

Nature lovers, at ease! Miami’s natural attractions provide that Jimmy Buffet escape you’re been pining for. If you’re looking for a quick beach break, check out the Matheson Hammock Park. This marina/wildlife reserve, located adjacent to Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, has the one of the least-crowded public beaches near the University of Miami. It takes just a 15-minute bicycle ride from campus to reach its unique atoll pool that overlooks Key Biscayne and downtown Miami. A handful of nature trails offer scenic and secluded views of Biscayne Bay- perfect for a quick fishing getaway.

But if its adventure you’re looking for, consider South Beach Kayak for an adrenaline fix. This rental location welcomes groups, couples, first-time kayakers and even pets. Starting at $25, you can kayak your heart out for two hours or extend your visit as you please. South Beach Kayak even offers group tour packages where you kayak to Monument Island and enjoy a bonfire and refreshments after sunset.

For those spending all their waking hours on the shores of South Beach, consider parking your towel at 8th and Ocean. It’s the perfect beach real estate with a party atmosphere and close proximity to the South Beach staple Wet Willie’s. Earning an iconic reputation (and a mention in a Ludacris song), the daiquiri bar features 19 slushy alcoholic drinks to cool you down after a day on the beach. Drinks titled “Call A Cab” and “Attitude Improvement” are definite ways to improve any day.

But if the hotel bar is more your scene, consider one of Miami’s gems, The Shore Club, where you can tan pool-side and enjoy Rumbar, featuring 75 different varieties of rum. The luxury hotel also boasts an elegant lounge, Skybar, where celebrities and sexy locals converge after sunset. Decorated with deep reds, modern furniture and Napoleon III-inspired art, the Red Room at Skybar is a sultry escape from South Beach nightclubs.

If “Carpe Noctem” is your Spring Break mantra, consider checking out Jazid on Washington Avenue, a live music nightclub with a sterling reputation. Known for having “live music every damn night,” Jazid’s mix of funk, rock and jazz provides a spring break vibe you won’t find inside any other four walls. Check out reggae Sundays and enjoy cheap drinks in true spring break spirit.

Culture shock more your style? Visit Boteco Brazilian, a unique and undiscovered restaurant alternative to the South Beach scene where a diversao nao tem fim (the fun never ends)! Complete with caipirinhas, live bossa nova, authentic Brazilian cuisine and a decent price tag, dinner and drinks at Boteco is a sure way to learn a little and enjoy a lot.

For those who want to keep it close to campus, visit Scotty’s Landing in Coconut Grove. The restaurant offers a relaxed, less-crowded setting than the usual Monty’s experience, but with an equally breathtaking waterfront view of Key Biscayne. The American grill-fare menu gets about as good as a burger and a beer, but the genuinely Caribbean atmosphere is worth it. There is free live music on weekends which, on some nights, transitions into a guitar player sitting at the bar playing riffs in between drinks.

Whether you invert your sleep schedule this spring break or relax a la Tommy Bahama, enjoy the vacation to its fullest before the madness of finals sets in.

Nicolette Roque may be contacted at nrogque@themaimihurricane.com. David Sargent may be contacted at dsargent@themiamihurricane.


Matheson Hammock Park- 9610 Old Cutler Rd., Miami; hours: Sunrise-sunset (Office hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.); entrance free for walkers and bikers, $5 for cars, $12 for trailers

South Beach Kayak- 1881 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach; hours: Wednesday-Saturday 10:30 a.m.-sunset, Sun.-Mon. 11 a.m.-sunset, closed on Tuesdays; rates: $25/single kayak for 2 hours, $45/person for the “Full Moon” kayak tour

Wet Willie’s- 760 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; hours: Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.– 3 a.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-4 a.m.; drinks from $9 and entrees from $12

The Shore Club- 1901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; Rumbar open daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Skybar open Sun.-Wed. 7 p.m.-2 a.m.; drinks from $13

Jazid- 1342 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; hours: doors open nightly at 9 p.m.; $10 cover

Boteco Brazilian Bar- 916 N.E. 79th St., Miami; hours: Mon.-Fri., 5 p.m.-1 a.m., Sat.-Sun., 1 p.m.-1 a.m.; drinks from $4, entrees from $12

Scotty’s Landing- 3381 Pan American Dr., Coconut Grove; hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; entrees from $8