Spring Break 2015

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Spring Break 2015

As nice and multifaceted California is, sometimes it is nice to get out and explore other parts of the country.  My personal goal each year is to visit a place I have never been before.  In April 2015, that place was Miami.  I was debating to travel to either Boston or Miami.  I love visiting cities and explore the architecture and culture.  But during Spring Break, all I wanted to do was to relax and soak up the sun, and so the decision fell on Florida.

It was the perfect time to travel to Miami since it wasn’t too hot or too humid that early on during the year.  What I didn’t expect though were some of the horrendous prices that were about to face me.  Beforehand I have to say though that I got some great deals on flight and hotel.  I booked early on, so prices for flights were still pretty decent.

For my stay, I looked at both hotels and private stays.  I ended up getting a hotel for a bargain price, but it was located a little outside from South Beach.  Therefore, I had to rent a car on top, which I had originally planned anyways since I wanted to drive down to Key West one of the days.  All in all, the sum I had to pay was still acceptable.

On my day of travel, I was really surprised to see that the plane was the size of those jets that I usually take when flying international.  The flight was pretty smooth and took about five hours.  When we finally arrived in Miami, it was already evening, and all I wanted to do was make my way to the hotel and sleep.

The next day, I got up early, ready to pick up my rental and explore the town.  Once I had my car, I made my may down to South Beach, destined to spend my morning in the sun.  It took me about 20 minutes driving from the Hialeah area to my destination.  My excitement to hang out by the water was about to receive a setback when I was trying to find affordable parking.

So here is a tip in case you consider traveling to Miami: either pack enough cash to pay for the horrendous parking prices, or park further away and walk.  I should have done my research beforehand, but I didn’t expect that there was no free parking anywhere, unlike in Orange County.  Well, I had to learn the hard way.  After I was tired of passing several parking opportunities that ranged from $10 an hour and up, I pulled into a parking area, paid $20 for two hours, and made my way to the beach.

I swore to myself to conduct research that same night to find cheaper parking opportunities, since I wasn’t willing to spend that much on parking.  But for now, all I wanted to was to relax.  When I saw the white sand and bright blue water, I was in awe.  As much as I love the beaches in California, after this trip, South Beach also had my heart.

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When my two hours of painful expensive parking were up, I made my way towards the Bay to participate in my first time ever paddle boarding (I had no issues finding affordable parking there, by the way.) Until that day, I never stood on a board before but have been dying to try it.  So to make this vacation extra special, I decided to book a guided sunset paddle tour.  The guys that took me out were great, and I managed to not fall in which, considering my terrible balance, was a miracle to me.  I enjoyed the beautiful Miami sunset before heading back to my quarters for the night.

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When I arrived back at my hotel, the first thing I did was researching cheaper parking opportunities.  And voila, it didn’t take me long until I found some useful recommendations.  So basically, if you intend to park cheap in South Beach, you have to calculate in some walking time, since the more reasonable priced parking garages are a bit of a distance, but definitely worth it.  I paid about $5 a day instead of $10 an hour for the rest of the trip, and was finally able to really enjoy the beach.

Besides the parking issue, I can’t recall any bad memories about my vacation in Miami.  The vibe was pretty similar to what I am used to here in Huntington Beach.  The weather was amazing, and being able to actually swim in the ocean with no huge waves was a big plus.  One of the highlights was my short trip to Key West on the third day, but more about that next time…

Images: © Anne-Kathrin Schulte
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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