The main local airport, Miami International, is only 8 miles from the heart of downtown Miami. If you prefer to fly to a smaller airport, check out nearby Fort Lauderdale. Renting a car at the airport offers you a smooth and efficient visit to the Miami metropolitan area, and the opportunity to explore South Florida.
Rent a car in Miami to see its unique neighbourhoods. South Beach is the spot for cosy bistros, upscale shopping, and the hottest nightlife around, while Coconut Grove, the oldest continuously inhabited part of the city, offers a taste of Florida's history. Check out the Design District's art galleries and antique shops before heading to the Haitian quarter of Lemon City ('Little Havana') to experience Miami's multicultural atmosphere.
Choose from a vast range of activities and attractions in Miami, including outdoor sports and cool indoor venues. Of course, spending time on the beach is popular with visitors and locals alike. Drive west into the Everglades and take a ride through the Florida sawgrass on an airboat for some wilderness excitement. Miami cuisine deserves your attention – consider joining a guided food tour in Little Havana to sample Caribbean flavours at their best. Miami has a wide variety of restaurants with cuisine from all over the globe, both in the heart of the city and in outlying areas.
Renting a car in Miami gives you the flexibility to go where you want, when you want. Miami is also an art and culture mecca, with plenty of shows, art exhibitions, and music venues. You could even make a side trip to Key West, Florida's colourful and laidback southernmost point. The scenic drive takes about four hours, crossing multiple bridges and islands.
Miami has a strong Cuban influence, which you'll discover in Little Havana's cigar shops and cafés. As you'll surely hear Spanish, having a phrasebook can be a big help in communicating and navigating the city. Also, keep in mind that Miami is a modern metropolitan city with a busy nightlife – lock your car, leave valuables at your hotel, and know your destination ahead of time.
If you decide to head west to the Everglades or Naples on the Gulf Coast, you'll pass through a vast, uninhabited stretch of land on Interstate Highway 75 known as 'Alligator Alley.' While it's a great place to spot Florida's famous reptiles and other wildlife, make sure to fill up on petrol in advance. Miccosukee territory, home to a Seminole gambling resort, is also worth a stop. Check out the historic Naples Pier for fishing and dolphin spotting.
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Miami Beach, home to South Beach, is actually off the mainland, on the barrier islands across Biscayne Bay. One advantage of renting a car in Miami is that you can stay anywhere and still have easy access to all of the area's attractions. Vacation rentals are available both downtown and in the suburbs, such as Hialeah and Pembroke Pines. As Miami is a major metropolitan area, traffic can be intense at certain times of the day. Remember that Florida law allows turning right on a red light, provided the way is clear. Most major highways around Miami require tolls, with the exception of Highways 75 and 95. Use your GPS and check directions before you head out. And remember that the limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in Florida is 0.08. The minimum age to rent a car in the state of Florida is 21, but drivers under 25 will also need to pay an additional surcharge.