A little help: Southeast Florida

Wednesday, February 26, 2003 5:15 AM
I apologize for this topic because I know everyone hates 'em. But I really would like some "expert" opinions. :)

My wife and I will be staying in Miami for about 48 hours prior to a cruise in a few months. Most likely we'll be at the Four Points Sheraton near the Port of Miami, with no car.

So here's the questions:
1) Is the Dania Beach Hurricane worth a taxi ride, and if so, how far is that from where we'll be? And is there anything else near it to do?
2) If not, does anyone know what's to do around where we'll be, especially within walking distance, and keeping in mind that we don't do the drinking/clubbing thing?
3) Has anyone stayed at that hotel? We really wanted to stay at the Westin in Hollywood, but it's outrageously expensive and too far away.

Thanks for your help!

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A day is a drop of water in the ocean of eternity. A week is seven drops.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 5:53 AM
I don't know much about the hotel or the area around it but the taxi ride would probably take a half hour or so. Once there, the coaster is surrounded by a F.E.C. called Boomer's that has, amongst other things:

Two huge arcades, multiple go kart tracks (one of which was, at one time, the longest in the world) batting cages, miniature golf, and a host of other pay as you go attractions.

Nothing else is within walking distance.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 6:12 AM
Which Sheraton are you talking about? The only Four Points is in Miami Beach and is about 20 minutes from the port. The closer one is a Sheraton and is expensive. That one is a lot closer to the port but still a long walk. All hotels will require a taxi ride as the port is on a section of it's own and the entrance is long.

The downtown Sheraton is close to Bayside, which is an area with shops and entertainment. There is even a boat that leaves every couple of hours and tours the area. Kind of fun.

The Four Points in Miami Beach is close to the Eden Roc Hotel which has an oceanfront restaurant that's very nice.

Boomer's is pretty far away and a cab would surely cost over $25 each way. Maybe a lot more.

Hope this helps

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 6:17 AM
I had planned on the Four Points in Miami Beach; it's not exactly near the port but closer than other places. I looked at the Sheraton downtown as well - do you know which one is better? I was attracted to the Four Points' oceanfront rooms, but I like staying downtown, too.

But you are saying if I stay downtown, there is a lot more to do around the hotel? Is that hotel within walking distance of a beach?

Thanks for your help.

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A day is a drop of water in the ocean of eternity. A week is seven drops.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 7:14 AM
I would stay at the one on the beach because it's oceanfront. South Beach is in the 500-1500 block so it's about 3-4 miles away if you want to take a cab. If you like being on the ocean it's better to stick around the Eden Roc Hotel as it has an oceanfront restaurant . You can always hit South Beach if the mood strikes you. It's very nice to visit even if you're just going to walk around and not go to the clubs.

Downtown has a very nice hotel but the area around it stinks. Bayside is nice but I'd rather go to South Beach or have a nice dinner at a very nice restaurant on the water if I had my choice and you don't mind that it's further away from the port.

You could also try priceline and bid on a four star hotel in the area of choice. www.biddingfortravel.com is a good site that tells you what hotels usually come up in each area when bidding. I use priceline and usually pay around $45 for a hotel listed at $150-175 a night. Not bad!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 7:22 AM
Thank you for your help. One more question: In South Beach, what is there to do besides the clubs? I know the architecture is world-famous, but looking is interesting for only so long. ;) How about shopping, or "family" type activities like mini-golf? Or is it strictly "adults" only??

EDIT: Actually, the more I research, the more the downtown hotel looks better for us. With car rental and Carnival cruise desk onsite, shuttles to shopping and bay area, etc., and close to the port, it looks like the best option. Unless, thethrill, you convince me that we're going to get mugged if we step outside. ;)

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A day is a drop of water in the ocean of eternity. A week is seven drops.
*** This post was edited by Den 2/26/2003 12:56:40 PM ***

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 8:30 AM
If you have car rental available it's the best option to stay downtown. I'm sure those sea shuttles take you to the Bayside complex so you can shop or just see some entertainment. You can always rent a car and drive to South Beach in 10 minutes.

In South Beach you can walk around and watch people. that's the most fun thing to do when you have never been there. The beach is right there and you can walk along it(scores big points with the wife!). There are also many really good restaurants with the ocean across the street. From there you can check everybody out. There is also a flamenco guitar player that draws a big crowd along 9th street and Ocean Drive. He's right outside and it's pretty good entertainment if you can catch him when he's there, which is often.

Basically in South Beach there is Ocean Drive and Washington Avenue. Ocean Drive is more for dining and walking around and Washington avenue is for clubs. They are separated by a good enough distance where the club people never really end up on Ocean drive and vice versa. They run perpendicular to each other.

If you go to South Beach try to get there before 10pm. Once it hits 11pm or so there is about a 2 mile backup going there until about 1am.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 8:51 AM
I would recommend driving to Boomers. The drive is about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes from Miami. If you take I-95 North to Ft. Lauderdale, Boomers is on the right side. First you'll see the Ferris Wheel, then you'll see the roller coaster. It's a pretty nice ride. It's no Millennium Force, but it's not bad. The wait is never long, even when they run one train. If you want to see more about the ride, download it from CBGames!

About other stuff nearby, there's a lot of flat rides in the park. They have a small Skycoaster, a few go-kart tracks (including the longest one in the world, I believe), and a couple of ferris wheels. Inside there is a huge arcade, with DDR, laser tag, and some simulation stuff. It's not too bad.

If you're referring to outside the park, I don't usually go around that area but last time I was around there I walked around Ft. Lauderdale. It's a nice city. They have good shopping malls with nice resturaunts (and a Hooters!), and you can see some good plays if you go at the right time.

About South Beach: I was there last December and it was alright. I just stayed for a couple hours though. The colors and the architecture are great. Personally, I love the buildings in Miami. I think having all those balconies make them look futuristic.

The South Beach beach is great too. I don't think I've ever seen a nicer beach (well, maybe Laguna beach...nah, this beats it). There's a lot of stuff to see there: The world's largest sandcastle, some good bikinis (;)), amazing oceanview, I mean it's just spectacular.

Hope this helps. :)

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My track record
The Point of Cedars

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 9:05 AM
Yes, it helps, thanks to all of you.

Hopefully I can convince my wife to "let" me drive to Boomers if I take her shopping/dining/beach-walking.

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A day is a drop of water in the ocean of eternity. A week is seven drops.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 9:27 AM
Den, doesn't look like they've updated recently, but Boomer's *has* dropped prices. On top of the $10 POP for DBH, the prices on the Blender (and their other rides) have come down quite a bit. We'd have even ridden the Blender if not for the long line (Sat. nite)...here's their site: http://www.xcoaster.com

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Never go unarmed into a battle of wits...;)
...and for those who claimed I needed a role model: www.comics.com/comics/dilbert/the_characters/html/character4.html#phil

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 11:50 AM
I don't care what people say, Hurricane is an AWESOME wooden coaster. It deffinately jumped into my top 10. Plus Boomers itself it amazing. There's some great DDR machines and a huge gocart track across the street. Den, you really should get there. Although the place isn't huge, you can spend a whole fun-filled day there.

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You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.
-Galileo

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 12:16 PM
Also remember the coaster operates till 11 pm so you can go there after dinner or shopping and stay until 11 riding the Hurricane which is not to be missed at night. Its an amazing coaster and Boomers is a really nice place.

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Mike
Favorite Wood: Viper at SFGAM,Shivering Timbers
Favorite Steel: Magnum and Raging Bull

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 12:32 PM
Den, if you don't do the drinking/clubbing thing then South Beach probably isn't for you. Sure you have some eclectic shops and you have the Lincoln Road Mall (which is more of an outdoor pedestrian strip with restaurants and boutiques -- and now an AMC multiplex) but South Beach is built for its nightlife. Cool architecture. Cool restaurants. The beaches are a bonus but if you're going on a cruise you will be spending some time at far better beaches than Miami Beach proper.

Still, Downtown isn't exactly a much better choice. Bayside is very cool -- modeled after Baltimore's Harbourplace -- in a much more tropical setting. The downside is that there's not a lot of foot traffic in downtown at night. The upside is that from there you can hop on Metrorail and get to Bayside or Sunset Place (if you fancy a Gameworks and an outdoor multilevel mall) or Dadeland (Miami's biggest mall, indoors) by foot.

It's a tough call on the Hurricane. I'd love to say "Go for it!" to show Boomer's some support for bringing a permanent coaster down to South Florida and it really is a good ride, but cab fare will run you quite a bit just to make it down there. Are you flying into MIA or into Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport? If you're flying into Ft. lauderdale/Hollywood Airport it's actually righy by and you'll hit it on the way down. You can have the cab stop and wait and you'll be in and out in ten minutes (as long as it's not a Friday or Saturday night).

My advice? Rent a car. That way you can cherry pick what you want to do. Venetian Pool. Vizcaya. By the time you're down here Parrot Jungle will have re-opened on Watson Island (right by the ports).

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 12:57 PM
Alright. Much has been said but I'm in Coral Gables so let me elaborate. If you are looking for atmosphere in the non-club way SoBe is not the way to go. There really isn't much besides the beach and nightlife to do there and Key Biscayne beaches are a lot better. I'm really not into the whole club thing either but when I feel the need to go out, I enjoy walking around the Grove at night, the vibe is a lot more laid back and their is shopping and dining. Getting around without a car is impossible (somehow I manage but to see a lot in a period of two days it would be a must)

If you want to hit the Hurricane but avoid a large fee up there, perhaps you can go when you get in before you head to Miami (if you are flying into Fort Lauderdale). It is right next to the airport. If you didn't get your plane yet, I highly suggest looking into this because, the rates are a lot better even if you have to make the trip downtown, to and from (in which case use the Super Shuttle Airport Shuttle service)

Downtown Miami there is absolutely nothing, although it is interesting to ride the MetroMover around it gives you some nice visuals and perception of the city. If you are looking for a nice place to eat or relax for an afternoon check out the Biltmore Hotel. It is beautiful and will give you the epitome of South Florida.

The other thing I would suggest although you seem to be coming sooner then the fall would be go see the CANES at the nostalgic Orange Bowl, more excitement cannot be found in the city.

Keith

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 1:07 PM
It's July 2-4 that we will be in town.

I have booked those dates for the Sheraton Biscayne Bay, and my wife and I have decided that once we get there, we'll rent a car for the day of July 3 and do what we like. That will include driving to Boomers, perhaps Dadeland or another mall (any suggestions on a convenient and nice one?), dinner and possibly even a side trip to Key Largo. Mapquest says it's less than 90 minutes from the hotel, so we are thinking about getting a convertible and pretending we're in a Beach Boys song. ;)

Thanks again - and I'm still taking suggestions.

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A day is a drop of water in the ocean of eternity. A week is seven drops.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 3:43 PM
There is absolutely nothing special about Dadeland mall other then being a fairly big mall but it is indoors, standard layout and stores. If you are looking for atmosphere along with shopping. Sunset Place (a few blocks north on 1 from the massive sprawl of Dadeland) outdoors with Gameworks and an IMAX, also on 1 a little farther north the new Village of Merrick Park, which is a really upscale shopping center but again the landscaped courtyard typology. They are all on the same road which is what you would take to Largo

*** This post was edited by KoaSteR737 2/26/2003 11:20:23 PM ***
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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 5:49 PM
Wow, Koaster and I are Coral Gables neighbors! He mentioned the Biltmore and it really is a striking hotel. You can absorb a lot of what Miami (and the Gables) is by just grabbing a table by the pool and ordering a pair of "mojitos" -- one thing to keep in mind, if your cruise leaves on the 5th and not the 4th is that the Biltmore has a MASSIVE 4th of July celebration every year.

Dadeland is the biggest mall in the area, but, like Koaster said, it's pretty vanilla. You have the same anchors and chains you'll find elsewhere. The Sheraton is nice. I won't spoil it for you by saying that it's where my wife and I had our wedding reception but it's a scenic location on the water (no, not the beach, it's just a bay inlet -- but we actually saw manatees there once). You can actually walk to Bayside from there -- it's almost a mile -- and I suggest if you do so that you do so in the daytime.

The Braves are in town on the 2nd. Marlins baseball is a unique experience. Unlike the Dolphins games where 75,000 folks fill up the place the Marlins are likely to draw about 10,000 on a weekday (yes, even against the Braves) and you have absolutely no traffic to get in and out of the huge stadium-lot. It's unreal.

But, wait, this thread can get closed if we just start giving out Miami touring tips. Getting back to the Dania Beach Hurricane, if you're driving up there you'll get off at the Oakwood Plaza where you'll find a multiplex-Dave & Buster's-Sweet Tomatoes-and some retail stores. Unfortunately, that's about it in terms of area thrill rides. Short of the Fair Expo next month and the two fairs that compete over the holidays that's the one coaster credit to be had in the area.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003 6:35 PM
Sweet Tomatoes roXors! I was so impressed, we checked out franchise costs....those are awesome, but out of the price range....
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Never go unarmed into a battle of wits...;)
...and for those who claimed I needed a role model: www.comics.com/comics/dilbert/the_characters/html/character4.html#phil
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Thursday, February 27, 2003 5:24 AM
Ooh, I didn't even think about baseball! That's a definite possibility. Sunset Place also sounds good. Yes I did notice from the map that everyplace we want to go from Largo to Boomers is all on 1/I-95. That's convenient.
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A day is a drop of water in the ocean of eternity. A week is seven drops.
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