The Most Perfect 3 Days in Miami Itinerary

Updated
9 min read
Building with palm trees around, fronting the blue ocean, with skyscrapers behind
Miami is a great place to visit, whether you're a beach bum, night owl, or foodie!

Miami has something for everyone. Whether you're a foodie, a beach bum, a night owl, or all three, there's plenty here to keep you coming back. That said, it's easy to be overwhelmed by all of the options if you don't have much time.

This 3 days in Miami itinerary is the perfect answer for anyone planning a long weekend or extending a layover at Miami International Airport to explore the "Magic City." Continue reading to learn more!

  • 3 day guide
  • Average of 5 stops per day

Disclosure: Destguides may receive commission for purchases made through links in this article at no cost to you.

3 Day Miami Itinerary

Miami Map

A map of Miami. Use the map to explore all the days and stops.

Miami Beach and the Art Deco Historic District

Aerial view of structures near the ocean under a partly cloudy, blue sky
Art Deco buildings, shopping, beaches, and nightlife are famous in Miami Beach

For your first day in Miami, there's no better place to start than Miami Beach. Connected by bridges to the mainland, the Miami Beach area is known for its Art Deco architecture, shopping, beaches, and nightlife.

While it is recommended to either pick the first or second activity for the morning, both have been included so you can make your own choice depending on your preferences and time.

Back to top

Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Start your first day away from the hustle and bustle of the city with a visit to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. It's open from 9 am until 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday, so you may need to rearrange this if you begin your stay on a Monday.

If you happen to be there on a Saturday, you'll be able to join one of the guided tours that starts at 11 am.

If you would prefer to show yourself around, general admission is $5, and you can enjoy the water features, edible garden, flowering trees, and colorful orchids at your own pace.

Back to top

© Fotoluminate via Depositphotos
The Art Deco Welcome Center is a must on your 3 days in Miami itinerary
Make sure to include the Art Deco Welcome Center on your 3 days in Miami itinerary

Art Deco Welcome Center

Next, on your 3-day trip to Miami, make your way to the Art Deco Welcome Center and Museum for a wealth of information on the city's architectural history, including the Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival, and Miami Modern (MiMo) styles.

You can sign up for their two-hour guided walking tour and have expert information at your disposal.

Walking tours begin at 10:30 am from Friday through Monday and should be booked in advance due to their popularity and the limited number of people allowed per tour. This lines up well for anyone planning a 3 day trip to Miami.

Back to top

Traffic light with signage at an intersection, across buildings and palm trees
Ocean Drive is famous for nightlife, shopping, food, and salsa dancing

Ocean Drive

Ocean Drive is part of the Miami Design District packed with Art Deco buildings. It's on the Art Deco walking tour and is also a great opportunity to take a break, grab a bite, and people-watch.

Most Miami restaurants along the world-famous promenade provide climate-controlled outdoor seating, allowing you to get a break from the southern Florida heat while still getting to see and experience what you came for.

Ocean Drive is a great place to return to for nightlife and salsa dancing, especially if you're visiting Miami on a romantic getaway or looking to meet new people.

Back to top

Green and orange lifeguard house on a white and sandy quiet beach
South Beach is famous for its miles of sandy beaches, an ideal spot to unwind

South Beach

After feeling refreshed from your stop on Ocean Drive, it's time to head to South Beach's four miles of white sands for an afternoon of sun and surf. If you've been out all day and don't want to return to your hotel or lodgings for your own equipment, there's plenty to rent along this public beach.

Snag a chair and an umbrella from one of the many vendors and then find your spot to enjoy the lapping of turquoise waves, an ocean breeze rustling through the palm trees, and the art deco lifeguard stands that speckle the beach.

Back to top

Luscious palm trees with modern and glittering skyscrapers in the background
South Pointe Park is a lovely green park on Miami Beach's southern tip

South Pointe Park

You can end the first day of your itinerary for Miami, Florida, at the southernmost part of South Beach called South Pointe Park. Here, you can enjoy some greener spaces and cool off a bit in the Splash Pad water playground.

The South Pointe Pier extends about 450 feet off the island's tip and is a great place to be at sunset for panoramic views of the beaches and city skyline. You can book a boat tour or rent a jet ski while the light lasts, or relax and wait for the neon lights to announce South Beach's vibrant nightlife.

Back to top

Around Miami: Biscayne Bay and the Everglades

© THEPALMER via Canva.com
Waterfront houses with palm trees, on a sunny afternoon, from across the water
Southern Florida is famous for its unique climate and extraordinary ecosystem

For day two of your Miami 3-day vacation, you'll be exploring the incredible natural beauty of the surrounding area.

Southern Florida's unique climate and ecosystem make it a place unlike any other in the United States, and your trip won't feel complete without branching out a bit to some nearby national and state parks.

To make the most of your time in the national parks, it is best to pick one of the two: Biscayne National Park or Everglades National Park.

Back to top

© Fotoluminate via Depositphotos
Archway with text above, against a blue sky, surrounded by palm trees
Coral Gables was planned in the 1900s by real-estate developer George Merrick

Coral Gables Merrick House

On your way out of town, make a short pitstop at Coral Gables Merrick House. Coral Gables, Florida, is a planned city that sprang from the City Beautiful Movement of the early 1900s. This movement emphasized the livability of cities for their residents and called for urban beauty for its own sake.

In Coral Gables, real-estate developer George Merrick realized this vision, whose house has now been converted into a museum.

Merrick also founded the University of Miami in this city, whose mascot is ironically the "Hurricanes," even though it was a series of actual hurricanes - along with the Great Depression - that halted Merrick's expansion of Coral Gables.

Back to top

Luscious plants and trees behind a white bench with green grass in front
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is an 83-acre park rich in tropical flora

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Continuing away from downtown Miami, your next stop is Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, a sprawling 83-acre paradise of tropical flora with two miles of paved walking areas for visitors to weave through.

The estate boasts twenty-five distinct exhibits and recommends about two hours to enjoy it without rushing. A small sampling of its beautiful collection includes an organic vegetable garden, a tropical fruit pavilion, a butterfly garden, and a conservatory for the Florida Keys coastal habitat.

Back to top

Parked red kayak on clear water, near a mangrove on a sunny day
Biscayne National Park offers boat tours to explore the mangrove forests

Biscayne National Park

For the next stop on your Miami 3-day itinerary, keep heading south to see the magnificent Biscayne National Park, home to the first of Florida's keys.

The entrance is about a forty-minute drive from Fairchild Botanic Garden, but with about 95% of this park's 173,000 acres underwater, you'll need to leave the car behind to go exploring.

You can book a boat tour to explore the shallow bay, go snorkeling to spot some manatees or hop in a canoe to weave through the mangrove forests.

The submerged mangrove roots and shallow waters provide an ideal habitat for lobsters, nesting birds, and pelicans, and keep your eyes peeled for the American crocodile.

Back to top

Wooden walkway through a swamp on a gloomy day
Everglades National Park is one of the best National Parks in the Eastern US

Everglades National Park

For the rest of the afternoon, grab some food and snacks and drive west through the expansive Everglades National Park, one of the best National Parks in the eastern United States.

The Ernest F. Coe Visitor's Center is about a half-hour away from Biscayne National Park by car, but the park extends all the way to Florida's gulf coast.

You can often find alligators sunning along the highway, so drive carefully and observe them from at least twenty feet away if you see one while out of your vehicle.

In the park, you can go fishing or take an airboat tour of the wetlands, and there are campgrounds available if you want to stay the night and head back to Miami in the morning.

Back to top

Mainland Miami

Speedboat docked in a pier with buildings in the background, under a blue sky
There are many fun attractions to visit in Downtown Miami

For the final day of this 3-day Miami trip itinerary, you'll explore the mainland part of the city in-and-around Downtown Miami.

While this day is jam-packed, all items have been included to give you options, so modify this itinerary for yourself as needed. For example, you can omit the last stop - Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

Back to top

© Gagliardi Photography via Canva.com
A creative graffiti wall full of eyeballs against a blue sky
Wynwood Walls is a unique destination featuring colorful street murals

Wynwood Walls

Start your day at Wynwood Walls, an outdoor urban art installation that has revitalized the Wynwood warehouse district.

Real-estate developer Tony Goldman bought these neglected, windowless buildings after seeing their potential for street art. Starting in 2009, he commissioned graffiti artists to use them as their canvases.

The Wynwood Walls are perhaps less famous than Miami's Art Deco District. However, their notoriety has still attracted artists from around the world, including Mexico, France, Ukraine, Singapore, and Japan, and the installation now covers over 80,000 square feet of walls.

Back to top

Building along a street with the name "Little Havana" on it
Many Cuban exiles settle in Little Havana, which is known for its Cuban culture

Little Havana

Next, explore Little Havana. This vibrant neighborhood where many migrants from Cuba have made their new home is one of the most popular Miami sights to see, and your stomach will thank you.

Take a stroll down Calle Ocho and pop into a restaurant to enjoy a Cubano sandwich, empanada, or pastelito de guayaba on a Little Havana food tour. If you are vegan or don't eat gluten, no worries, there are plenty of vegan options in Miami.

Cigar lounges, live music, and a walk of fame also populate the boulevard and invite tourists and locals to celebrate Cuban and Latino culture in the United States.

Back to top

© Mariakray via Canva.com
View of glass buildings with palm trees around and facing the water
PAMM is a modern art museum that exhibits work from all around the world

Perez Art Museum Miami

With a full belly and perhaps a mojito-induced buzz, there's one more art museum that you need to visit before leaving Miami. The Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) showcases modern and contemporary art from around the world.

The museum's permanent and temporary exhibitions feature the U.S. Latino experience, as well as perspectives from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the African diaspora.

Back to top

© Felixtm via Depositphotos
Aerial view of a modern building with a huge white spherical dome
The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is a planetarium and aquarium

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Almost next door to PAMM is the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. With a planetarium, aquarium, and interactive STEM exhibits, this stop is more of an experience than it is a museum.

They also have special events, renowned presenters, and educational camps, so be sure to check the calendar on their website to see what's going on while you're there.

Back to top

Aerial of structures along a beach with an observation wheel
Bayside Marketplace has an observation wheel and is known for food and shopping

Bayside Marketplace

After enriching yourself at the museums, take a twenty-minute walk, or a five-minute drive, to Bayside Marketplace for some more food, shopping, and people-watching opportunities. There are two floors, twelve restaurants, and 150 shops to choose from in this open-air market.

You can also get a bird's-eye view of Miami on the nearby 200-foot observation wheel, catch-free live music, and go out for a boat ride from this waterfront stop.

Back to top

Stacks of plastic canoes on a sandy beach with a lighthouse in the background
The Cape Florida Lighthouse is the region's oldest surviving tower

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Finally, end your Miami 3 day itinerary with a trip to Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne. After paying an $8 fee per vehicle to enter, you'll have until sunset to enjoy the park's beaches, walking trails, and parks.

If you're a lighthouse enthusiast, you can move this stop earlier in your day to catch one of the free tours of Cape Florida Lighthouse that are offered at 10 am and 1 pm, Thursday through Monday.

This famous Miami landmark is the oldest surviving structure in the region, and visitors over forty-two inches tall can ascend the 109 spiraling stairs to the observation deck.

Back to top

Conclusion

This is the best Miami itinerary that you can squeeze into a long weekend, but it's hard to see Miami in 3 days.

You can always slow down your pace by spending more time in this unique city full of subtropical charm, but it's hard to imagine a trip here without making it to each of the above destinations.

Have a great time!

This article was edited by Loredana Elena and was first published on Nov 30, 2021 19:03 UTC.

For more interesting articles about United States, read:

  • 29

Written by Andrew Sayles

atsayles WRITER Traveler, teacher, and blogger. I have lived in 5 countries, traveled to 60, and crisscrossed the continental US an unhealthy number of times.


Want to keep exploring?

Subscribe for discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Thank you for subscribing

We will be in touch soon with discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Want to keep exploring?

Subscribe for discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Thank you for subscribing

We will be in touch soon with discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Want to keep exploring?

Subscribe for discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

By entering your email address you agree to our Terms & Conditions, Privacy policy, and consent to receive emails.