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Miami Beach on a Budget

Updated on September 19, 2014
Save Money in the Sun
Save Money in the Sun

You CAN visit Miami on a Budget

When you think about Miami as a destination, do you also add the words, expensive, too rich for my pocket, unaffordable, way out of my league...love to visit, but lets go somewhere else?

Are you torn between re-mortgaging the house and breaking into the kids college fund because those white sandy beaches, clear blue sea and cloudless sun drenched sky are just reaching out to you?

Well, it's no longer a dream, you can take a trip to Miami. So, grab the sunscreen, your bathing costume and get packing as I'm going to reveal how you can you do Miami on a Budget and still have change left over to treat yourself to your favorite cocktail.

Here we go...

A Is For...

Affordable Accommodation
Affordable Accommodation

ACCOMMODATION

There is a cheaper alternative to 5* without the 1* treatment

Sure, there are the glitzy glam hotels that you can stay at such as The Biltmore, The Delano or The Mandarin Oriental but there's a much cheaper, more fun way to stay and feel like you're still at home.

Have you ever heard of Airbnb? Well now you have and it's about to save you a packet.

AIRBNB AT A GLANCE

Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world - online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 33,000 cities and 192 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.

Info courtesy of Airbnb

The great thing about staying in Airbnb accommodation is that the house, apartment or condo actually belongs to a regular person. I can personally recommend this for your staycation. Not only do you get a great price, but you get to meet a local who will be more than happy to give you lots of tips and help to make your stay even more fun and if you're having fun, you're on the way to vacation relaxation nirvana.

There are lots of options. Some owners offer a room in their apartment or home, a great idea if you're travelling on your own. Others allow you to book the whole apartment, condo or house so you'll have the whole space for you and your family. The choice is yours.

You also get to stay in the interesting parts of town but there's also lots of choice if you want to be in the heart of the action near Ocean Drive or you want to stay in a condo by the beach or an apartment nearer Lincoln Road. You're not tied to the expensive hotels or the cheapest anymore and you can pretty much choose the location and area that suits you.

Have a goodnight now!

Pick the right Transport
Pick the right Transport

Airport to Beach

Saving begins at the Airport

You've booked the tickets (we'll delve into saving money on Flights and Travel later so stick around) and you've arrived safely at Miami International Airport. You've grabbed your suitcases from the carousel and started to peel off that jumper you had to wear on the plane - it really is hot here so wear layers you can remove or put those shorts in your hand luggage and change in the restroom.

Anyway, I digress...you need to know how to get to the beach, right?

You could grab a taxi or a shuttle but that's going to set you back between $25 to $40 dollars before you've even set foot on Ocean Drive so here are two great ideas to help you get closer to the surf.

My number one tip - take the bus. Yes, that's right. It's not just any bus though, it's the "AIRPORT FLYER" bus that will take you directly to Miami Beach for an amazing $2.35.

http://www.miamidade.gov/transit/bus-airport-flyer...

For just $2.35 each way, passengers can ride in style aboard 40-foot air-conditioned buses equipped with luggage racks and comfortable seating.

The Miami Beach Airport Flyer runs every 30 minutes and provides express service from 6 a.m. to 11:40 p.m., seven days a week, between the Miami International Airport Metrorail station and Miami Beach, from 41st Street to South Pointe Drive, so it's bound to have your final destination covered.

With free WI-FI on-board too you can waste no time updating your Facebook status to let everyone know you've arrived.

All aboard.

Easy and Cheap ways to get around
Easy and Cheap ways to get around

Airport to Downtown

Getting Around just got a whole lot easier

If you're taking a vacation in South Miami or nearer uber chic Brickell then read on. You may be arriving into Miami for a business meeting Downtown, well this is a great option for you and your boss will love your expense sheet.

Well, here's my second tip. Take the newly opened Metrorail from Miami International Airport.

The cost of the trip is a wallet bursting $2.00. The fare gates do not accept cash so grab an EASY card or EASY ticket from the vending machine and you're good to go. I'll be going into more detail about these cards later in this lens.

Here's where the Metrorail Orange Line will take you:-

Earlington Heights

Allapattah

Santa Clara

Civic Center

 

Historic Overtown/Lyric Theater

Government Center

Brickell

Vizcaya

 

Coconut Grove

Douglas Road

University

South Miami

Dadeland North

Dadeland South

Art Deco
Art Deco

Art Deco Architecture

Miami is well known for it's Art Deco looks so why not take yourself off on a self guided walking tour of Miami Beach's Art Deco architecture.

Pop over to trail.com and print out the trails or better still, save some paper and a tree and get their app for $1.99. Keep an eye on the app store as the price may reduce to 99c or FREE from time-to-time.

Alton Road Trolley

The Free Alton Road Trolley
The Free Alton Road Trolley

Take the Free Ride

To compliment the cheap Miami Beach Local Bus, the Mayor of Miami has introduced a free Trolley service which takes passengers North from 5th Street up to the pedestrianized shopping area of Lincoln Road on 17th Street. The route then returns via the quiet road of West Avenue. The service runs every day from 8am to midnight.

Great way to get around for free or to take a mini sightseeing tour. Did I mention it has air conditioning and free wi-fi too.

If you are a car driver, don't forget to ask the driver for a trolley voucher. With this voucher you will receive free four hour parking at the Fifth & Alton Parking garage (the trolley conveniently stops just outside) so you can explore the shops in the Mall. Even more reason to love the Alton/West Loop Trolley.

Alton/West Trolley Loop Route Map
Alton/West Trolley Loop Route Map

B Is For...

Start Your Day Right
Start Your Day Right

BREAKFAST

Start the Day the best way

The cheapest option is always to have breakfast at home, or at least your temporary vacation home. If you've taken my advice and opted for Airbnb, then the the chances of breakfast being included is slim. However, you may be lucky to be staying with your host in which case joining them for breakfast with the offer of doing the dishes after would probably guarantee you a hearty breakfast for most of your stay. You can always volunteer to cook breakfast too, just ask what your host offers

Your apartment may come with a fully equipped kitchen - no excuse for you, get scrambling those eggs and crisp up that bacon and pass me the O.J.

But hey, you came on vacation to get a break away from your regular routine and you want someone else to do the cooking and clean up those dishes.

Here are some fantastic cheap, but good quality places to try for Breakfast.

  1. LAS OLAS CAFE, SOUTH BEACH, 644 6th Street, Miami Beach, FL.

    Cafe · Cuban Restaurant

    Located one block west of Washington Avenue, on the corner of 6th Street and Euclid Avenue.

    A great place to get Breakfast any time of the day. They also offer sandwiches, empanadas and fresh juices.

  2. THE ELEVENTH STREET DINER, 11th and Washington Avenue

    You can't go wrong with anything from their menu but a good breakfast option is The South Beach Breakfast. 2 Eggs, 1 Sausage, 2 Bacon strips, Home Fries or Grits, 2 Dollar Pancakes and a fruit cup. After this you won't have to eat for quite a while.

  3. THE TASTE BAKERY, 1686 Jefferson Ave, Miami Beach, FL
  4. PANERA BREAD, 1428 Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL

    Try their Oatmeal with Strawberries and Pecans or a hot Sausage and Egg Sandwich

  5. THE BROOKLYN WATER BAGEL COMPANY, 1119 5th St, Miami Beach, FL

    If a morning bagel is more your thing, you can't go wrong here

  6. A LA FOLIE, Espanola Way

    If you're more the sweet pastry and coffee type of breakfast aficionado then look no further than this leafy garden bistro for your Pain au Chocolat fix ($2) with a rather large and frothy cafe au lait ($4)

  7. A bit further afield but worth the journey

    BUENA VISTA DELI, 4590 NE 2nd AVE Miami, FL.

    Charming French Cafe based in Miami's Design District

    If you're looking for a simple breakfast try Beuna Vista's light offering called The 7AM

    Coffee or tea, fresh fruit salad, croissant for $4.95

  8. S&S DINER, 1757 NE 2nd Avenue at 17th Street

    Not only do they do a cheap breakfast but you'll be eating in Miami's oldest diner. For $3.40 you'll get two eggs, potatoes, and toast, coffee or tea. What are you waiting for!

  9. SWEET POINT BAKERY AND CAFE, 3252 NE 1ST AVE SUITE 108, MIAMI FL

    Midtown Miami

    Do you need to start the day with a Power Breakfast? You can have oatmeal with salted almonds and bananas for $4.95

  10. GREENSTREET CAFE, Coconut Grove

    Omelettes ($8-11.50)

    Pancakes and Home-Made muffins ($3.20)

BUS

South Beach Local

Belle Isle Park Venetian Way Miami Beach Golf Club Holocaust Memorial Bass Museum of Art Miami City Ballet Miami Branch Library Miami Beach Convention Center City Hall Lincoln Rd Espanola Way World Erotic Art Museum Old City Hall Wolfsonian Museum FIU Art Deco Welcome Center Jewish Museum

Hop on board the South Beach local bus and take a trip for just 25c.

For an amazing 25c you can go from North Bay Road, Dade Blvd and down Washington Avenue.

It's great value and some of the areas and attractions you can reach by taking the South Beach Local bus are listed to the right.

The bus takes quarters, nickels and dimes or you can pay using the EASY Card.

The bus is air-conditioned, wheelchair and bike accessible and you can also benefit from free Wi-Fi.

It's a great choice if you want to take a circular sightseeing tour of South Beach.

Time to Relax on the Beach
Time to Relax on the Beach

BEACH

Just in case you didn't know

If you love the sun you've definitely come to the right place and what better way to relax but with a day on the beach and dip in the ocean. To top it all, it's absolutely FREE.

Weekdays are normally quieter than weekends, but that doesn't mean you won't find a quiet spot.

Look out for the iconic colorful Lifeguard Huts they're really fun and every one is different. Which is your favorite?

South Beach - stretches from the Southern tip of the island at South Pointe to approximately 23rd Street.

The "Mid-beach" area can be found between 23rd Street and 63rd Street.

North Beach starts from about 63rd Street on up.

Miami Beach

BASKETBALL

999 11th St Miami Beach, FL 33139

Check out the FREE Basketball Courts at Flamingo Park or make some new friends, show them your moves and and join one of the games already taking place.

Get Back to Nature
Get Back to Nature

Botanical Gardens

2000 Convention Center Drive Miami Beach, FL 33139

Explore the gardens and the exotic plants at Miami Beach's Botanical Gardens. FREE entry.

Look out for the special events and markets that take place throughout the year.

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A little bit of home on vacation
A little bit of home on vacation

Boston Market

Home Style Food

If you like eating out but crave home style food for a great price, well look no further than the Boston Market.

If you like Roast Chicken, Meatloaf, Corn Bread, Baked Ham, Fish, vegetables, sides galore and old fashioned apple pie you're going to think you've died and gone to heaven.

The prices are great, the staff friendly and the refillable drinks are a bargain.

They have parking and a drive through window or sit at one of the tables inside.

Visit soon, you won't be disappointed:-

Sadly the 1750 Alton Rd location has closed but if you really fancy the taste of good home-cooked food at great prices why not visit the one at Coral Gables.

C Is For...

CARDS - A selection of the must have cards that will help reduce costs wherever you go

Click thumbnail to view full-size
EASY Card for travel on buses and Metrorail. Fully reloadable. Buy them at vending machines at stations or if you're in Miami Beach, pick one up at LeAnn Drugstore on 9th and Washington Avenue. Image courtesy of Miami411Miami Beach INcard is a great card for both residents and visitors to get discounts and offers at local restaurants, hotels, attractions and more. Pick up an INcard from 1901 Convention Center Drive inside Hall C, Miami Beach, 10 am - 4 pm, 7 days a A Go Miami Card from Smart Destinations is an attraction pass that gets you into multiple attractions and tours for one low price. It provides admission to 35 Miami attractions and so much more. Image courtesy of smartdestinations.Pop into Panera Bread and sign up for their loyalty card. Get a free drink or pastry when you sign up, something special on your birthday and treats every so often when you least expect it. Image courtesy of MyPanera.Grab a Walgreen's Rewards Card and start saving money on those essential items, snacks and drinks that you'll need for a hard day at the beach. Image courtesy of Walgreens.The Belly Card is accepted at quite a few places in Miami. Collect rewards at ice-cream parlours, cafes, nail bars, spas and more. Start collecting while enjoying the treats on offer. Image courtesy of bellycard.
EASY Card for travel on buses and Metrorail. Fully reloadable. Buy them at vending machines at stations or if you're in Miami Beach, pick one up at LeAnn Drugstore on 9th and Washington Avenue. Image courtesy of Miami411
EASY Card for travel on buses and Metrorail. Fully reloadable. Buy them at vending machines at stations or if you're in Miami Beach, pick one up at LeAnn Drugstore on 9th and Washington Avenue. Image courtesy of Miami411
Miami Beach INcard is a great card for both residents and visitors to get discounts and offers at local restaurants, hotels, attractions and more. Pick up an INcard from 1901 Convention Center Drive inside Hall C, Miami Beach, 10 am - 4 pm, 7 days a
Miami Beach INcard is a great card for both residents and visitors to get discounts and offers at local restaurants, hotels, attractions and more. Pick up an INcard from 1901 Convention Center Drive inside Hall C, Miami Beach, 10 am - 4 pm, 7 days a
A Go Miami Card from Smart Destinations is an attraction pass that gets you into multiple attractions and tours for one low price. It provides admission to 35 Miami attractions and so much more. Image courtesy of smartdestinations.
A Go Miami Card from Smart Destinations is an attraction pass that gets you into multiple attractions and tours for one low price. It provides admission to 35 Miami attractions and so much more. Image courtesy of smartdestinations.
Pop into Panera Bread and sign up for their loyalty card. Get a free drink or pastry when you sign up, something special on your birthday and treats every so often when you least expect it. Image courtesy of MyPanera.
Pop into Panera Bread and sign up for their loyalty card. Get a free drink or pastry when you sign up, something special on your birthday and treats every so often when you least expect it. Image courtesy of MyPanera.
Grab a Walgreen's Rewards Card and start saving money on those essential items, snacks and drinks that you'll need for a hard day at the beach. Image courtesy of Walgreens.
Grab a Walgreen's Rewards Card and start saving money on those essential items, snacks and drinks that you'll need for a hard day at the beach. Image courtesy of Walgreens.
The Belly Card is accepted at quite a few places in Miami. Collect rewards at ice-cream parlours, cafes, nail bars, spas and more. Start collecting while enjoying the treats on offer. Image courtesy of bellycard.
The Belly Card is accepted at quite a few places in Miami. Collect rewards at ice-cream parlours, cafes, nail bars, spas and more. Start collecting while enjoying the treats on offer. Image courtesy of bellycard.
You're not far from a coconut
You're not far from a coconut

COCONUTS

FREE - They're everywhere

So far you've spent less than $10

COFFEE - Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

There's nothing like a good cup of coffee especially if it's a bargain cup of coffee.

Coffee refills are plenty a dozen, so when you've bought one cup of joe another one will be along to keep you topped up but here's a list of where to get the first one at a great price.

  1. 7 Eleven - $1 Coffee Wednesdays for any size
  2. Starbucks - Whilst it's definitely not known for it's cheap coffee, here's an insider tip. Grab one of their free cards, load up some money and you're on your way to collecting stars which turn into free coffee. They also turn into free food too but this is all about the coffee. Once you reach Gold level, which if you're a caffeine addict shouldn't take you too long, you can get refills for FREE.
  3. 7 Eleven (again) - buy one of their reusable tumblers from $1.99 and all refills will only cost you 99c. Don't you just love a bargain.

    If that wasn't enough, when you buy your new tumbler the first coffee is FREE.

  4. Las Olas Cafe - the best cafe con leche this side of Havana $1.50

Shop 'Til You Drop - With all the money you're saving you can afford to splash out on some cool items for your vacation

D Is For...

DECOBIKE - Go Green, see the sights and exercise too

Grabbing a DecoBike has to be one of the funnest and healthiest ways to get around Miami Beach.

The bike sharing and rental scheme is fabulous and there are plenty of bikes and stations dotted around so there's bound to be one close by and they are available 24hrs a day.

If you're having trouble though, why not download the handy app so that you can find the nearest station right from your phone. The app has a handy map, location finder and it will tell you how many bikes are available and you can narrow the search to look within your radius.

You can sign up for Membership or just pay by the hour using a credit card.

If you opt to take a bike for an hour you can dock the bike at another station and un-dock it again for no extra charge as long as your hour hasn't expired. The first 30 mins is always FREE.

Pick up a bike as far South as South Pointe and travel as far as Surfside and Bay Harbor Islands.

Later this year (2013) the program will be expanding it's reach to Miami City. That's great news for everyone.

If you fancy a self guided Art Deco tour, grab one of the maps provided by DecoBike and you're ready to roll.

E Is For...

Entertainment - Save $$$$$$

ENTERTAINMENT - SAVE $$$$$$
ENTERTAINMENT - SAVE $$$$$$
A free ride is always a fun ride
A free ride is always a fun ride

Electric Golf Cart

FANCY A FREE RIDE

There's no such thing as a free ride, well I'm about to blow that saying right out of the window.

SWOOP taxi is a six-passenger white electric golf cart that will pick you up and take you anywhere within the South Beach area for FREE. No fare required but then you may want to tip the driver.

Hail one as they drive by or phone ahead and ask to be picked up. They run from noon to 2am daily.

Now if that's not Miami Beach on a Budget, I don't know what is.

EXPLORE

ARCHCREEK PARK

Look out for the Nature Trail Walks for only $3 per person

CRANDON PARK AND BEACH

A 2 mile stretch of beach which is often named in the top ten beaches to visit lists. Look out for the special offers on bird and butterfly walks they have on offer

Crandon Park, Key Biscayne

A markerCrandon Park, Miami -
Crandon Park, 6747 Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne, FL 33149, USA
get directions

Check Out

MIAMI ON A BUDGET PART 2

AS THERE ARE SO MANY BUDGET SAVING TIPS I CAN GIVE YOU, LOOK OUT FOR THE NEXT ARTICLE - MIAMI ON A BUDGET PART 2 - FOR GREAT MONEY SAVINGS FROM F to J

© 2014 PinkstonePictures

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    • PinkstonePictures profile image
      Author

      PinkstonePictures 3 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      It's a wonderful place to spend time away from colder climates. Definitely consider it, you won't be disappointed. Thank you for taking the time to comment and stop by. Have a great day!

    • profile image

      Frederico DeGrace 3 years ago

      Thank you for this article. I'm looking to take a vacation away from the cold winter months and this will really help me if I decide to venture to Miami.

    • PinkstonePictures profile image
      Author

      PinkstonePictures 3 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      Thanks Jenny - see you in the beaches :-D

    • profile image

      Jenny 3 years ago

      This is one of my buxket list destinations. Now you've made it even more appealing. Definitely bookmarking! Thanks for some great info.

    • PinkstonePictures profile image
      Author

      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      @Jack2205: Thank you. I put it together in the hope it will help people save some money so they can enjoy their visit here so much more.

    • Jack2205 profile image

      Jack 4 years ago

      Excellent money saving tips for a Miami vacation.

    • PinkstonePictures profile image
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      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      @ClassyGals: Wonderful. See you on the beaches.

    • PinkstonePictures profile image
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      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      @Kailua-KonaGirl: Thank you for visiting, pinning and blessing. Much appreciated.

    • PinkstonePictures profile image
      Author

      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      @WriterJanis2: Thank you so much. Have a great day.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      Blessed.

    • PinkstonePictures profile image
      Author

      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      @Jogalog: Thank you, I hope you can visit one day

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I would love to go to Miami beach one day and this is a really helpful page for visitors.

    • PinkstonePictures profile image
      Author

      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      @takkhisa: Thank you, we hope you visit one day :-) Thank you for the blessing

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 4 years ago from New York

      Great tips on traveling on a budget in Miami. I love Airb&b too. I have had fabulous luck booking a room through them. *Squid Angel Blessed* and pinned it too.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      I am glad that i just found this lens. If i ever go to Miami i would print this page. Good job and blessed :)

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I'll be bookmarking this and returning before I book a flight to Miami. Thanks for the money-saving travel tips!

    • PinkstonePictures profile image
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      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      @verymary: Thank you for taking the time to comment and view my lens

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      very comprehensive!

    • PinkstonePictures profile image
      Author

      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      @anonymous: Glad you found it useful

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Brilliant budgeting tips. Thank you!

    • PinkstonePictures profile image
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      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      @TonyGaylord: Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment

    • PinkstonePictures profile image
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      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      @InfoCoop: Thanks, glad you like it

    • InfoCoop profile image

      InfoCoop 4 years ago

      Fantastic information!

    • profile image

      TonyGaylord 4 years ago

      Very cool lens Miami Beach is a great vacation spot.

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 4 years ago

      I liked your A,B,C,D,E

    • PinkstonePictures profile image
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      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      @JoshK47: Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked the info. There will be more useful tips coming soon.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 4 years ago

      Very cool info! Thanks for sharing!

    • PinkstonePictures profile image
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      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      @Iftikhar-Hussain: Thanks for your kind comment and for stopping by. Working on F-Z as we speak. Watch this space :-)

    • Iftikhar-Hussain profile image

      Iftikhar-Hussain 4 years ago

      wow ..very nice lens .. i like it .. please keep sharing some more great tips :)