What do you do when Hurricane Matthew ruins your Labor Day Weekend trip to the Outer Banks? You head to the airport, have a mimosa (of course), and find a cheap flight to the next best place: Miami! As I watched the forecast early in the week I could tell that things weren’t looking so good for our North Carolina excursion. The storm was tracking towards the Outer Banks but I remained optimistic that it would head off to sea instead. As Thursday approached though I wasn’t so confident that camping on the beach in the middle of a tropical storm would be the greatest idea. As sad as I was to postpone that trip we immediately started researching alternative ideas for our long-weekend getaway. Flights to Florida are generally pretty cheap out of BWI so we chose Fort Lauderdale as our destination. We decided to wait until we actually landed in Florida to book a rental car or a hotel (my first, but certainly NOT last time ever doing that) because we figured if the flight was delayed or cancelled from any lingering parts of the tropical storm then the trip wasn’t meant to be. Our front row seats and free in-flight alcoholic beverages said differently though and we were well on our way to Florida for a spontaneous adventure!
Upon landing in Fort Lauderdale we headed to the rental car place and scored a decent deal on an average vehicle. Our plan was to spend the first two nights in Fort Lauderdale and then drive to Miami for our last night, but plans quickly changed when my boyfriend discovered that he had some friends staying in Miami for the weekend, so we decided to drive straight there instead. We arrived in South Beach around 9:00PM, pulled over, and looked for the best hotel deals on the amazing HotelTonight app. We chose The Hall Hotel, conveniently located on Collins Ave, just a block from the beach. This boutique hotel featured cute bungalow-style rooms at a more-than-affordable last-minute price. Our booking even came with free drink vouchers for the hotel bar called Sunny’s (appropriately named), which we took full advantage of once we arrived. The group of people that we knew was out on a bar crawl and invited us to join, but the time we arrived they had already been to quite a few bars so we had to play catch up. That’s all I will say about our first night… (Hehe)
The next morning began with a much needed Eggs Benedict breakfast at the Front Porch Café on the next street over. We then hit the beach for what couldn’t have been a more perfect beach day. Sunny, blue skies, white sand, and crystal clear water set the tone for a perfect day of relaxation. Our hotel provided lounge chairs for the beach and had umbrellas available for rental, which was convenient. We watched cruise ships come and go in the distance and even got an uncomfortably up-close-and-personal experience with what I am still convinced was a shark. It was a perfect beach day and exactly what we were hoping for on our spontaneous weekend getaway.
We spent the evening with the awesome crew from Maryland again (although no bar crawls were involved this time). We had dinner at SuViche, a Peruvian-Japanese restaurant that did not disappoint! The group then made our way to Mango’s, a restaurant/multi-bar/all- night/live-entertainment kind of place. It was in the same area as the hotel and restaurant Michael and I went to on our last spontaneous trip to Miami for our cruise. (There’s something about those spontaneous trips to Miami). We spent the next day on the beach soaking up the hot Miami sun before enjoying an adventurous dinner. We were told that we must try the Grasshopper Tacos at Taquiza, an adorable outdoor taco stand. Yes folks, GRASSHOPPER TACOS. They really were not bad and paired perfectly with the locally brewed Miami Weiss beer. I definitely recommend giving it a try! We opted for a relaxing evening and strolled along the Lincoln Road Mall, a pedestrian-friendly, outdoor strip mall with upscale shops and restaurants. We had a few appetizers and the infamous Key Lime Pie (my absolute favorite) before heading back to the hotel for some rest and an early morning flight back to Maryland.
I used to be such a routine person and would need to have all of the details figured out way before I would ever think about going anywhere or doing anything. Travelling though, has really taught me the beauty of being flexible and just “going with the flow.” This trip to Miami was the true definition of spontaneity. While I’m not sure I would use these same tactics for all of my trips I learned that some of the best deals really do come at the last minute and that it’s perfectly okay to not have everything planned out. I challenge you to book a cheap flight somewhere and just go with no agenda in mind. Figure things out when you get there and just roll with it! Until the next adventure…