South Florida

The heart of downtown Miami as seen on February 2, 2007. The ongoing construction throughout the city, as depicted here, has inspired popular opinion suggesting Miami has become a prime example of "Manhattanization". Right of center in this image is the Freedom Tower, a historic landmark.

South Florida is a region in the U.S. state of Florida. It is a widely diverse area; from its quiet, sparsely-populated central areas with a charming "Old Florida" feel to vibrant, oceanfront resort cities.

Regions

Cities

Some of the major cities in South Florida are:

Other destinations

Understand

South Florida has a subtropical wet-and-dry climate. Generally, winters are warm and pleasant with little rain, though the occasional cold front may lower temperatures to abnormal levels. Spring and fall are similar, with elevated humidity and moderate chances for rainfall each day, while summers are notoriously (though bearably) hot. A typical summer day brings steamy and dry conditions in the morning, brief but heavy thunderstorms in the afternoon, and milder evenings with often spectacular sunsets. The dry season begins in October and lasts through the third week in May.

The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30, with the most likely time for South Florida to be hit being mid-August through early October.

Talk

A wide variety of languages are commonly spoken throughout South Florida with increasing diversity near the major cities. The City of Miami for example has three official languages: English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole. English, however, dominates and is the preferred language in South Florida.

Even in areas where English is not the native language, most people will be bilingual in the other language (although generally not the other way around for native English speakers). The simplest way to get treated in English is to use the "approach rule." Most locals will respond only in the language they were summoned in unless they are not able to speak it. This rule can be used on anyone whether or not they were originally speaking Spanish, English, or any other language. In general the more south you go in South Florida (for instance, Miami-Dade), the more Spanish speakers there will be.

Occasionally, you may run into someone who is not fluent in English. If this happens, simply speak slowly and use only simple English. In a few places, especially near Miami, you may find someone that cannot speak any English. Even when encountering a local who does not speak English, one could easily find another local to help with translation if needed without much effort, since most of the population is fluently bilingual.

Get in

By plane

Miami International Airport, one of the busiest international airports in the world, is the main airport serving the Miami metropolitan area. Fort Lauderdale and Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, and Sarasota also have large airports.

By train

Amtrak provides inter-city rail service through all the major cities in South Florida. Two trains provide daily service, starting in Miami, making stops in Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, and West Palm Beach, continuing north to Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and eventually Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, with both trains terminating at New York City's Penn Station. All of South Florida's Amtrak stations (except Miami) share platforms with the regional commuter rail service, Tri-Rail. The Miami Amtrak Station is located in the industrial suburb of Hialeah on NW 32nd Ave, just north of NW 72nd St.

By boat

Coastal cities have excellent year-round marina facilities, often serving some of the largest and most luxurious yachts in the world. Miami is home to the Port of Miami, the largest cruise ship port in the world. Fort Lauderdale also has a cruise port.

By bus

Greyhound, America's major inter-city bus service provider, has stations at all the major cities in South Florida. At the West Palm Beach and Miami North (Golden Glades) stations, direct connections are available to South Florida's commuter rail service, Tri-Rail. The Miami Greyhound station is located on Le Juene Road (NW 42nd Ave), directly across from Miami International Airport. Service continues further south from Miami, all the way to Key West at the end of US Route 1.

By car

Get around

Public transportation - Local public transportation includes Metrobus, Metromover, and Metrorail—an elevated rapid transit system—each operated by Miami-Dade Transit. There is also an commuter rail system named Tri-Rail, that runs north to south, from MIA all the way to West Palm Beach, making a stop at all three of the Gold Coast's international airports.

Hire a car to explore the unique countryside areas.

See

Key West Lighthouse

Do

Eat

Ropa vieja

Miami's population growth in recent years has been caused by internal migration from other parts of the country as well as by immigration. Greater Miami is known as a cultural melting pot, while still maintaining some of their cultural traits. The overall culture of Miami and Miami-Dade are heavily influenced by its large population of ethnic Latin Americans and cultures from Caribbeans from islands such as Jamaica, The Bahamas, Cuba and who mainly Spanish or Haitian Creole.

Enjoy such meals such as a Cuban dish of ropa vieja (shredded flank steak in a tomato sauce base), black beans, yellow rice, plantains and fried yuca with beer.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 20, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.