Warm beaches and cool Glades

From fash­ion mod­els to deco ho­tels, beach sun­rises to wet­land ecosys­tems and al­lur­ing is­lands, South Florida is an aes­thetic master­piece, writes Adam Kar­lin.

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - UNITED STATES -

OUTH Florida is an Amer­i­can orig­i­nal. The em­pha­sis on beauty, pre­sen­ta­tion, style and colour is in­tox­i­cat­ing and comes in a mil­lion shades, from graf­fi­tied Wyn­wood Walls to ex­trav­a­gant high-end ho­tels. There’s of­ten a sense of whimsy about and, more so, a pal­pa­ble feel of cul­tures col­lid­ing; no other place merges An­glo Amer­ica, Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean so com­pletely. Throw in some sunny is­lands to chill out on and a heartwrench­ingly beau­ti­ful wet­land wilder­ness and I’m sold.

Dining in Mid­town Miami

Miami is a city that loves its in­dul­gences, and the great­est of th­ese is a fine meal. If you re­ally want to play with your taste­buds, come to Miami’s culi­nary fron­tier: Mid­town (the area north of Down­town that in­cludes Wyn­wood and the De­sign Dis­trict). In restau­rants that range from the rustic to the in­dul­gent, you’ll find the best in lo­cal in­gre­di­ents – a rich ban­quet of deca­dence plucked from Florida’s fields and oceans – pre­pared Miami-style, with plenty of trop­i­cal flair and fun.

Best eater­ies in Mid­town

Chef Cre­ole: When you need Caribbean food on the cheap, head to the edge of Lit­tle Haiti and this ex­cel­lent take­out shack. Or­der fried conch, ox­tail or fish, la­dle rice and beans on the side, and you’ll be full for a week. En­joy the food on nearby pic­nic benches while Haitian mu­sic blasts out of tinny speak­ers – as is­land an ex­pe­ri­ence as they come. Blue Col­lar: It’s not easy strik­ing a bal­ance be­tween laid-back and de­li­cious in a city like Miami, where even ‘‘ca­sual’’ eater­ies can feel like night­clubs, but Blue Col­lar has the for­mula nailed. Friendly staff serve All-Amer­i­can fare sex­ied up, from crispy snap­per to smoky ribs to a su­perb cheese­burger. A well-cu­rated veg board keeps non-car­ni­vores happy ( bluecol­larmi­ami.com).

Sun-wor­ship­ping on North Beach

When peo­ple think of fun in the sun and Miami, they think of South Beach. But if you’re in­ter­ested in es­cap­ing the crowds and the pres­sure to look fab­u­lous, head to North Beach. Peo­ple-spot­ting aside, this is gen­er­ally a higher qual­ity of beach. Places such as Haulover Beach Park are pretty enough to serve as your screen­saver (mi­amidade.gov/parks/parks/h aulover_­park.asp).

Celebrity sight­ing in South Beach

South Beach is all about glam­our, in its orig­i­nal, Old English mean­ing: a spell. Magic. So many celebri­ties come to South Beach that their life­style

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