Sun, beach, palm trees, sightseeing, beautiful hotels, pools and the world of Sea World, Walt Disney & Co… We were really looking forward to this three-week vacation in Florida, since the entry into the USA was unfortunately not possible for a very long time due to the Corona pandemic. It is now the 4th trip to Florida for us, but the first trip together with our little daughter. In the following travel reports we will tell you about our first family vacation in the USA and our great experiences in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers Beach, St. Pete Beach, Tampa and Orlando.
Table of contents
Flight from Frankfurt to Miami
Flights to the USA – especially during the vacation season – are anything but cheap. We therefore searched for a long time for the best possible flight connection and could even have traveled relatively inexpensively for about 1,600 EUR for 2 adults + 1 child (2 years) with TAP Portugal from Frankfurt via Lisbon to Miami. However, that would have been a long travel time of about 15 hours and with a very early departure at 6 a.m. in Frankfurt. We didn’t want to do that to our little one.
To keep the travel time as short as possible, a direct flight was very important to us this time. And the best offer – both in terms of departure time and price – was indeed Lufthansa. In total we have for our economy flights incl. Luggage EUR 2,200 paid for all 3 of us together (keep in mind that a child over 2 years old pays almost full airfare). We left Frankfurt on time at 10:45 in the morning. With a flight time of about 10 hours and a time difference of 6 hours, we landed at Miami International Airport around 2:45 pm. Our return flight then took off from Miami at 4:45 p.m. and we landed back in Frankfurt at 7:55 a.m. the next day.
We had been to Florida 3 times so far: 2013, 2014 and 2019. On our previous vacations, however, we had tended to focus on the typical & well-known destinations like Miami, Orlando, Key West, Crystal River and the Everglades. Therefore, we wanted to see a little more of the west coast of Florida on this vacation, which is why we decided on the following beautiful itinerary:
✈ Frankfurt > Miami
✸ Miami (2 days)
✸ Fort Lauderdale (3 days)
✸ Fort Myers Beach (4 days)
✸ St. Pete Beach (2 days)
✸ Tampa (3 days)
✸ Orlando (4 days)
✸ Miami (1 day)
✈ Miami > Frankfurt
All in all, this is a great route through the Sunshine State of about 1,000 kilometers with many exciting new destinations for us. We would have liked to include cities like Naples, Sarasota or West Palm Beach in the route, but unfortunately time was too short for that. It was important to us to be able to spend several days in one place and not have to change hotels every day or sit in the car every day.
Prepaid SIM card for Florida
Normally, when we are on vacation, we always use the free Wi-Fi networks at the airport, shopping malls, supermarkets, restaurants or hotels. Somewhere somehow always find a net 🙂
But especially for navigation on such a long route across Florida, it is already perfect if you are always online and so also get the latest updates about the traffic situation and the fastest route on the cell phone. That’s why we decided – just like on our road trip through California – to get a prepaid SIM card for our time in the U.S. from Amazon in advance. With 50 GB data volume for 21 days, this cost 44.99 euros on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network – and the good thing is that this card is also approved for tethering/hotspot, so we were both mobile with our phones. After receiving the card by mail, you have to activate it briefly online in advance, where you specify the date from which you want the SIM card to be valid. It’s very easy and in retrospect it was a super investment, because it meant we were always mobile and could look at our pre-created Google MyMaps maps, calculate the route, check emails or write Whatsapp at any time.
Car rental from Budget at Miami Airport
Has this ever happened to you: You have booked a rental car over the Internet, arrive at the airport and when you pick it up you realize that you have forgotten your driver’s license? This actually happened to us for the very first time on our travels….
Fortunately, Sandra had her driver’s license with her. So we thought, that’s no problem, so the additional driver takes over the driving. The problem was that the booking was made in Michael’s name and the Budget employee said that the person in whose name the rental car was booked had to pick up the car and present the driver’s license and credit card. He could not change that in the system, because the rental car (as always with us) was booked via billiger-mietwagen.de.
You can imagine that you are a bit helpless at first. A 10 hour flight, 6 hour time difference, a tired and somewhat sickly child, and no rental car to get to our hotel in Miami Beach 🙁
We then decided to book a new rental car for 2 days directly at the counter of Budget. This was with 300 EUR anything but cheap, but we had no choice. We just didn’t think of something like Uber at that moment – that would have been the much cheaper alternative in any case. In fact, a ride on a big Uber-X would have cost just $27 USD from Miami Airport to Miami Beach!
Normally, Budget even charges a “no-show fee” of 150 USD in case of a non-collection, but luckily we were spared that. In the end, we booked a rental car for the first 2 days directly with Budget and then made a new booking for the remaining days through billiger-mietwagen.de. So we had to return the car after 2 days at the airport and exchange it for a new one, but that went smoothly & quickly.
In total we paid 967 EUR for the 2nd booking for a midsize SUV including all insurances, so about 50 EUR a day.
Miami Beach Hotel
For our first two days in Florida, we stayed at a beautiful hotel right on the mile-long sandy beach of Miami Beach: the Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort.
The 4 star Hotel Eden Roc
The Eden Roc Hotel is an Art Deco icon in the “Mid Beach” district and was designed by the famous architect Morris Lapidus back in 1955. The hotel is located directly on the beautiful sandy beach on Collins Avenue at the level of 45th Street, about 20 kilometers from Miami International Airport and 5 kilometers from “South Beach”.
The Eden Roc Miami offers 415 rooms and suites in different categories, 4 pools, a large lobby area including reception and beautiful lobby bar in Art Deco style, a wellness center with spa & fitness center and an exclusive beach area. The hotel has two restaurants, including the world-famous Nobu Restaurant, one of Miami Beach’s trendy spots for Japanese cuisine. Breakfast is served in the Ocean Social restaurant.
You should also note that the hotel charges an additional daily resort fee on top of the room rate – as is usually the case in Miami. This is $35 per night at the Eden Roc Hotel and includes 2 bottles of water per day, free Wi-Fi, gym access, and use of beach and pool loungers.
Our Junior Suite with sea view
During our stay we stayed in a Junior Oceanview Suite with a large balcony. Our room of about 55m² was located in the annex building and we had a direct view of the pool area and the beach. The view was definitely one of the big highlights of the room.
The different pools
The hotel has four different pools (Main Pool, Palladium Pool, Ocean Garden Pool and an Infinity Pool), where there was always enough space in our time. One of the pools is Adults-only and unfortunately there is no separate pool for children.
The Eden Roc Hotel is located directly on the beautiful wide sandy beach and Boardwalk of Miami Beach. The beachfront, which is more than 10 kilometers long, continues without interruption from the southern point in South Beach (South Pointe Park) northward to the North Beach border. Unfortunately, at our time there were construction works near the hotel, so a large part of the beach was closed. On the other hand, our little daughter found it totally exciting to watch the many excavators and trucks from our balcony every day 😉
Breakfast at Ocean Social Restaurant
One day we had breakfast at the Ocean Social restaurant overlooking the sea. The location is very nice, the à la carte selection is very large, super tasty and everything is lovingly prepared. The prices are like almost everywhere in Miami Beach of course very expensive (especially because at the end still taxes, a service charge as well as the tip are added), but you just have to get used to it – if you are on vacation here 🙂
Overall, we had a wonderful stay at Eden Roc Miami Beach and a great start to our Florida round trip. What we have experienced there, you will learn in the next articles.
All travelogues of our Florida round trip (2022)Sun, beaches, palm trees, sightseeing, beautiful hotels, pools and the fun of Sea World, Walt Disney & Co.... we were really looking forward to this vacation in Florida. We planed a beautiful itinerary for our almost 3 week trip through the Sunshine State, with places we mostly didn't know yet. In the following travel reports we will tell you about our experiences in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers, Tampa and Orlando.
➥ Miami Beach » Arrival, Route, Rental Car & Hotel in Miami Beach
➥ Miami » Our Top 10 Sights & Attractions
➥ Fort Lauderdale » Sights, Beach & Attractions
➥ Fort Myers » Fort Myers Beach, Downtown & Lovers Key State Park
➥ Sanibel Island » Sanibel Island, Captiva Island & Cayo Costa State Park
➥ Tampa » Top Sights & the best Attractions
➥ Tampa » Theme Park Busch Gardens & Adventure Island
➥ Orlando » Theme Park SeaWorld & Water Park Aquatica
➥ Orlando » Magic Kingdom Theme Park (Disney) with toddler