Expect to see a great concentration of culture, and history, on top of the many cosmopolitan delights they can offer. Avid travelers and seasoned tourists can find everything they will ever look for in either of these destinations. With the two of them in the US’ roster of destinations, it going to be a tough choice.
The continental US’ poster child for outstanding tourism, Miami has it all. It isn’t Florida’s vacation capital for nothing. The legendary southern city is filled with all things exciting, chic, diverse, and historical. From cultural neighborhoods to good food, Miami should be a US rite of passage for budding tourists.
The world has set its eyes on Miami way before Cancun and Hawaii were topping the lists. You can consider Miami, the undisputed royalty of tourist destinations. Dynamic, diverse, and quirky are perhaps Miami’s best tags. Expect to find all that you’ll ever look for here.
What Makes Miami Unique?
When you like beaches and don’t mind the occasional sunburn, chances are you’ve heard of the US’ many famous beaches. Some may even be in social media posts, or TV show episodes, which have made them even more famous. Many of these beaches are located across the coasts of Miami. From Miami Beach to South Beach, Miami is filled with so many must-visit beaches.
To narrow down your choices, here are some of the most visited:
North Beach is popular among families and friend groups on a sunny getaway. The beach is the perfect choice if you want a slower, quieter approach to a beach day in the famous Miami. This famous sandy stretch is chilled and more relaxed compared to most of Miami’s energetic beaches. The features and charms around this stretch are made for families and friends.
If you have a taste for the aesthetics, the beach boasts Art Deco–designed buildings lined further inland. You can also visit and have a lovely downtime in the North Shore Oceanside Park, under the shade of its trees.
You can even take a stroll along the neighboring North Beach Bandshell. The stretch is famous for its pristine beauty and quirky delights, such as decorative buildings and live music at night.
Famous among the rich and well-off, Bal Harbour is by default the opulent beach, thanks to its regular tenants. The beach is a small trip speckled by fancy residences and the most luxurious and expansive hotels in Miami. The Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis call the strip home as well.
You can expect to find the whole area dripping with opulence and exorbitant prices. This is thanks to the moneyed lot that calls the strip home. Residents aside, the beach also sports the finest sand in Miami, making the beach one of the most beautiful in the region.
However, you don’t have to be well-heeled to enjoy Bal Harbour as it is a public beach. You can easily take a quick dip, and head on to the neighborhood center for its lavish displays.
Arguably the most mainstream beach in the county, South Beach is and will always be a must-visit in Miami. If you’re looking for a gem in the region that best represents what Miami is all about, South Beach’s scenes are all that you need. The stretch is one of the most dynamic and historical parts of Miami, it is not just a must-visit but a rite of passage in itself.
Decorated by Art Deco architecture, South Beach feels young, fun, and innovative despite its deep history. The stretch houses many of the city’s best restaurants, galleries, nightclubs, and bars. Spanning around 2 miles, South Beach’s draws and charms will always seem endless. The young, the hip, and the attractive all tend to congregate here.
Quirky and one-of-a-kind, Hollywood Beach is a thing of its own, thanks to its brave display of Miami’s many contrasts. Here you can see classic restaurants and bars, sitting beside notorious tourist traps.
The beach is famous for its boardwalk setting, a rare sight in Southern Florida. Many bars sit along the boardwalk where you can drink with a premium view of the ocean while people-watching curious locals and tourists.
The Nightlife Scene
Miami is synonymous with epic parties and energetic nightlife scenes. You can’t fully experience the charm of Miami if you can’t get a taste of the streets’ nightly pleasures. The city gets more interesting as soon as the sun goes down, alluding to its jam-packed highs. Bursting with a diversity of culture and fun, you’ll be sure to get more than just a glass of drink here.
Despite its long, varied culture, the Miami of today spells hedonism at its finest, perhaps booting out Las Vegas itself. With the many bars and nightclubs in the many neighborhoods of Miami, you’ll fund yourself hopping from one place to the next.
Just because the sun is out, doesn’t mean the heat is out. Hop around different popular spots around South Beach, Calle Ocho, and the Downtown for that fabled experience.
A true testament to Miami’s highs is the annual Ultra Music Festival, one of the largest EDM events in history. The festival happens every March for three consecutive days featuring many of the world’s best DJs. Ultra is packed with rave lovers from all over the world flooding the streets of Miami.
Being home to many different cultures comes with a great deal of gastronomy bursting with varying flavors. Miami proudly boasts its epic mix of several cultures. Each of them continues to develop and serve their respective culinary masterpieces. You will eventually find yourself gorging down cuisines from Latin America to Asia.
Several different cultures have set their roots in Miami. A lot of the influence and create a rich mishmash of flavors and culinary styles. You won’t even have to leave the streets of Miami to experience the food the world has to offer.
The city has different neighborhoods and districts that house a different mix of cultures. These areas have their best representatives, here are some of them:
A millennial hangout, Wynwood is a popular spot for the younger generation dabbling in art, or at least just the aesthetics of it all. The area has walls full of graffiti alluding to Wynwood’s local art and creative culture. Pastries and coffee are a staple here and are perhaps one of Wynwood’s best entries.
A growing influx of Asian influence has slowly established its own footprint here. You can see a plethora of new Asian cuisine restaurants, such as tea shops and hole-in-the-wall spots.
Easily Miami’s culinary center, you can find the most diverse gastronomy and menu around Sunset Harbor. Sampling different dishes from different cultures here will have you feeling like you’ve traveled the world. Sunset Harbor also sports the best breakfast spots, ranging from coffee shops to bakeries.
A piece of Cuba right in Miami, Little Havana is a must-visit when you’re in town. It is arguably one of Miami’s famous icons. Little Havana, by its namesake, offers the very best Cuban staples.
From sandwiches to coffees, the iconic area offers a burst of flavors and quirks that can guarantee you stay long. It is best to spend an entire afternoon in the area to get the very best experience.
The Capital of Latin America
Whenever you visit Miami, you will not only notice the heat but how incredibly Latino and diverse the local culture is. Miami is considered to be the gateway of the Latin World to the US. Vibrant and energetic, Miami’s Latino overtones have turned the incredible locale into a unique place to visit in the US. Here you’ll notice a fascinating mix of Brazilian, Mexican, and Cuban, among many others.
According to the census, 70% of Miami’s residents have Hispanic heritage, many of which are Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Mexican. Today, you can see or even feel how the Latino heat permeates through the daily Miami life. None most prominent than the local Cuban diaspora in the 1950s.
Little Havana is the best proof of how strong the local Latino culture in Miami is. A slice of Cuba, the famous neighborhood is one of the most defining areas of Miami because of its specialization in the Cuban culture. You can check out businesses owned by families that have lived in the area since the Cuban migration.
While most of the US has its fair share of varying diversity like New York, Miami also has its multicultural scenes. This phenomenon is perhaps one of Miami’s most defining brands. Miami has also embraced its Asian and European cultures, on top of its predominantly Latino population.
Needless to say, Miami is obviously jam-packed and a tourism powerhouse. You can expect to find an excessive list of things to do. The activities in Miami are even said to be more diverse than in Hawaii itself. While that stands true, the real question is that what are you willing to try out?
Here are some of the go-to activities that don’t involve swimming or partying:
You would be delighted to know that you don’t have to be a high-roller to enjoy shopping in Miami. The city practically embodies diversity and inclusion in all aspects. This even includes your budget or spending capacity. Whether you’re an avid thrift shopper or a well-heeled retail therapist, you can find everything in Miami.
You can also find many places to shop as well such as plazas, high-street expanses, and malls. Lincoln Road is one of the most popular spots to get your purchases. But the shopping centers are not merely for shopping, it houses cafes, restaurants, and art galleries as well.
Wildlife can also be seen right within the concrete jungle of Miami’s streets. You can visit the Zoo Miami for your dose of live animals. The park is popular among families, especially with smaller curious children. Zoo Miami is particularly famous for its animal-friendly facilities and treatment. Animals here are kept in enclosures, not cages, that resemble their natural habitats.
However, in these enclosures, different animals are kept together. They are coexisting and interacting with each other as they would in the wild. The Zoo Miami houses 3,000 animals and 30 endangered species.
Everglades National Park
A great Florida icon, the Everglades National Park is a swampland teeming with life and diversity. The Everglades, as it is lovingly shortened, has a vast 1.5 million acres (607,000 ha) worth of expanse, home to a slew of animal species. On a guided tour you can see crocodiles, alligators, snakes, and birds here.
Apart from exploring the swamps, you can also hike around the several walking routes available. The most recommended trail is the Anhinga Trail, which gets you fast and easy to the animals.
With a rich history and cultural diversity, it is obvious that Miami will have several museums speckled all around. Thanks to years of development, revolutionary moments, and a creative boom, you will be sure to have several places to marvel at.
Perez Art Museum
Possibly Miami’s most famous art museum, it is said that Perez Art Museum’s whole aesthetic can even best many of the world’s best. Upon entry, large rooms, rounded walls, and hanging gardens define the museum.
This museum is the best place to know more about Miami’s colored history. HistoryMiami dedicates itself to preserving, keeping, and showcasing Miami’s history. The museum holds over 37,000 items and traditional art from the 20th century.
Deciding on Hawaii is always a no-brainer. It is one of the most mainstream and popular travel destinations in the entire world for plenty of good reasons. But what you need to understand is that Hawaii isn’t just about beaches and expensive hotels. There is so much more beyond the nonchalant “aloha!” and welcoming hula dance.
Thanks to a wealth of its tourist draws and its creative mix, Hawaii has become much more than a classic, but an institution itself. You can see Hawaii’s best draws displayed across multiple platforms, from social media to TV shows and films. The island chain pretty much sums up what it means to be a top travel destination. You can easily see testaments everywhere.
What Makes Hawaii Unique?
Having 137 islands, you’ll be bound to come across an overwhelming number of beaches all across. You can expect that each one is as interesting as the next. A sheer number of choices make beach-hopping an equally exciting yet challenging experience. But the best thing about it is that it surely has everything for everyone.
With over 100 beaches on all of its islands, Hawaii is almost like a beach buffet for the beach bum. Each of these beaches has its own unique twists on them, making Hawaii as jam-packed as you would expect it to be.
Being the experience-driven place that it is, Hawaii and all its beaches are perfect for many kinds of activities for everyone. First-time or a seasoned pro, you can easily do snorkeling, diving, paddleboarding, and most especially, surfing on many beaches. Implying Hawaii’s endless number of appeals, these beaches are open to the public so everyone is welcome.
First-time visitors may find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. To help, here are some of the most well-known and go-to options:
Waikiki Beach best represents Hawaii’s fabled beach scene. Situated right in the tourist center of Oahu Island, Waikiki is the most popular beach in all of the state and is perhaps the most filmed as well. If you want to experience quintessential touristy Hawaii, this beach is it.
One of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches, Waikiki Beach is an extensive stretch of 2 miles (3.2 km) of bright white sand. And just like many of the Pacific’s beaches, it sports rich clear blue water and ideal conditions for a perfect beach day.
Natural beauty aside, Waikiki is also a historical point in Hawaii. The beach used to be the governmental seat of Oahu. It has also been a setting for war, especially during the attack of the Japanese in World War 2.
As the name suggests, Big Beach is not only large and spacious, it’s also packing. The popular surfing spot is one mile long, and 100 feet wide (30 meters). You can do many fun things here, and many don’t even have to involve water.
Beach volleyball and plenty of other inshore activities are available on Big Beach, especially with all the expanse. But perhaps the most popular activity on Big Beach is surfing. Whether in the big leagues or starting, you can witness powerful surf breaks in Big Beach all year round.
Makapu’u Beach is famous for two things, its peculiar natural formations along the shores, and an overall cinematic view. Descending the cove, you’ll see an unusual cave surrounded by natural bulges that resemble human eyes. It is said that this depicts a mythical woman called Makapu’u.
Apart from the stories, Makapu’u beach also features huge sand mounds speckled all over the cove, as if cascading down to the water. You can see this eerie yet picturesque setting along with a lighthouse overhead. Makapu’u evokes certain romance implying Hawaii’s natural beauty.
Waimea Bay is another Hawaii classic, one of the most popular beaches in the entire state. And just like Big Beach, this particular sandy stretch is also popular among surfers. The beach is such a hit for seasoned pros that swimming comes only second here.
A true surfer’s paradise, Waimea Bay sports gigantic waves that can reach up to 30 feet (9 meters), perfect for surfing competitions. Many surfers from all over the world seasonally visit the beach to have that legendary Hawaiian surfing experience.
If you want to catch the best surf breaks, head to Waimea Bay during the winter months. Waves from October to April are bigger and much stronger, during which swimming is not allowed. But the summer months of May to September, you can do several activities in the water such as swimming, paddleboarding, and snorkeling.
Popular among the well-heeled, Wailea Beach is dripping with luxury and lavishness. Its long list of premiere expensive accommodations just might have to do with its glitzy reputation. Plush and posh, the beach is lined with many international luxury hotel brands. You can find various luxury chains here, such as Four Seasons, The Marriott, Waldorf Astoria, and many more.
But its natural beauty just might be the reason why many luxury players choose to set up shop in this strip. Wailea boasts some of the most gorgeous views in Hawaii, evoking a certain romanticism that proves Hawaii’s beauty. Imagine an artistic contrast of lush green, white sands, and blue hues. You can even whale watch from the Wailea.
The nicest beach to be in Hawaii, Lanikai Beach best epitomizes the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of Hawaiian beaches. Lanikai boasts the finest white sand, gentle seas, and crystal clear blue waters. The beach is famous among families for its easygoing atmosphere.
Family and pet-friendly, Lanikai Beach is best for families or even couples who brought their furry companions with them. You can easily play around and enjoy the simple thrills the beach has to offer. Kayaking, swimming, and SUP are the go-to activities here.
Unlike the continental US, Hawaii isn’t formed by drifting and shifting lands, the state literally rose out of the ocean. Millions of years ago, a series of volcanic eruptions gave birth to the Hawaiian islands of today. One of nature’s deadliest arsenals is also its most powerful sculptor.
Lava flows, hardening rocks, and earthquakes all have sculpted and formed most of Hawaii’s landscape. This gave the islands their stunning and outlandish beauty. The volcanic elements that spew out are also responsible for giving life to many of Hawaii’s thriving flora. And when there’s a thriving biome, there will always be a thriving animal life.
Despite their immense beauty and life-giving benefits, volcanoes are still deadly. Living near them can have repercussions. Hawaii is home to some of the world’s most active volcanoes. Seven of them can be found around the archipelago’s main islands.
Kilauea and Mauna Loa are all found on Hawaii Island. Kilauea’s last eruption was in 2018, and Mauna Loa erupted in 1984. The five are scattered all across the other islands. Some of them can still be visited, and there are even guided hiking tours available.
To surf on Hawaii’s beaches, and epic surf breaks have always been a surfer’s dream. Where else can you make your surfing journey more fulfilling than surfing in the birthplace itself? The thing with Hawaii’s surfing scene is that it is ideal for beginners, and perfect for the experienced sharpening their craft.
As the birthplace of surfing itself, it would be an epic experience to surf in Hawaii’s waves. First introduced by the ancient Polynesian people that migrated here, the art has since then become its own thing. Now, Hawaii organizes and hosts many of the world’s most coveted surfing competitions.
Hawaii is speckled with several sweet spots for that sweet surfing experience. It is best to visit during the winter months. Visit Oahu and the northern islands from November to April to catch the most epic waves. Surfing during these months tends to be more challenging. The waves get bigger and stronger, challenging even the most hardcore pros.
If by some chance, you’ll miss the winter months, you can still enjoy surfing during the summer. Head to the southern shores of Oahu and still catch legendary surf waves. You can also head to the southern islands such as Kauai and Maui.
One of the Most Expensive Destinations to Visit
While it’s a no-brainer when thinking of visiting Hawaii, there are caveats still. The famous Pacific island chain is one of the most expensive destinations to travel to. And it has been consistent at that as well. The cost of living in Hawaii is pricier than many of the world’s best destinations, which can sometimes turn heads.
Further alluding to its costly reputation, Hawaii is also the most expensive US state. It even boots New York, California, and Illinois out. When you visit Hawaii, expect to be taken back by the high prices in your daily costs.
Many factors play into why the state is uber-expensive. Logistics of supply and goods might be a reason due to its remote location from the mainland. Some even say that the tourism demand for Hawaii caused rising prices, thanks to Hawaii’s unwavering fame. High demand with low supply equals high prices after all.
Despite the prices, you can still find ways to maximize your hard-earned budget. Hawaii houses many accommodations that offer services with varying price ranges. Even luxury stays have their own packages. No matter what, you can easily find a way around the costs.
Which Is Better – Miami or Hawaii?
If you’re up for a tropical getaway type of deal for your holiday, Hawaii is the better choice. The island chain offers diverse landscapes, beaches, and experiences. Plus, it possesses breathtaking beauty that Miami could never top.
There are plenty of reasons why Hawaii is the more coveted destination in all of the US. It boasts a rich roster of resorts, plenty of activities, rich culture, not to mention a huge international following. Hawaii has stood as the epitome of a summer getaway for years.
Miami is a phenomenon itself. It may not be as in-demand as Hawaii, but it is jam-packed, probably more than any other state in the US. It is cheaper than Hawaii, but its biggest draw yet is the variety of scenes it can offer. It may even beat Hawaii when it comes to diverse experiences.
Is Miami Cheaper or More Expensive Than Hawaii?
Miami and Hawaii are perhaps two of the most tourist-heavy destinations in all of the US. Because of their high demand and popularity, you can expect them to be expensive and often too crowded. However, among the two, Hawaii still is the most expensive place in the US.
For comparison, an average daily cost for tourists and locals alike in Hawaii can average around 227 USD. But Miami doesn’t fall far behind with a 165 USD average daily cost. A single-occupancy accommodation can cost around 106 USD in Miami, while in Hawaii the same type of accommodation can set you back around 146 USD.
Miami vs. Hawaii Weather
When it comes to weather, Miami and Hawaii can look the same. Both are known for their sunny days and cold winter nights. You can still enjoy both in whichever season. However, the summer highs can be pretty hot with Miami hitting a whopping 89.2 F or 32 C, compared to Hawaii’s 84.9 F or 29 C.
Miami and Hawaii also see lesser rain than their other tropical counterparts which can be convenient for sunseekers all year. These destinations have the perfect weather for whatever you’re ideal sunny getaway is. All year round, the weather allows for an enjoyable experience.
Is Miami Hotter Than Hawaii?
Miami has an average high that can hit around a whopping 89.2 F or 32 C . Hawaii on the other hand, hits an average of 84.2 F or 29 C . While both destinations are known for their hot temperatures, Miami is undoubtedly the hotter option.
Is Miami More Humid Than Hawaii?
In comparison, Miami and all of Florida tend to be the more humid destination. Hawaii is hot, without a doubt, but its humidity is lessened thanks to the trade winds that sweep through the islands. However, Hawaii can feel a bit humid in September and October as the winds tend to shift during these months.