12 Mistakes Tourists Make While Visiting Miami

Miami locals share the faux pas they often see visitors committing.
Miami locals have noticed many visitors making the same errors. 
Miami locals have noticed many visitors making the same errors. 

Miami is a beloved tourist destination in the US for many reasons. The city boasts beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, world-famous nightlife and an incredible art scene.

But visitors to Miami don’t always take advantage of all the destination has to offer, and locals haven’t hesitated to point out some of the many faux pas they see tourists commit.

We asked some locals to share some of the biggest mistakes they believe travellers make when they visit Miami. Read on for 12 examples, as well as advice for avoiding these common missteps.

1. Never Leaving Your Beach Chair

“The beach isn’t the only thing to enjoy in Miami! One of my favourite things about living here is that we ALWAYS have something going on. From Art Basel, to Swim Week, to Music Week and the SoBe Wine and Food Festival, almost every month of the year has an event that takes over the city ― giving us so many cool parties, public experiences, concerts, etc. Tourists should take advantage of the exciting things that happen only in Miami. It’s why we live here and never want to leave.” ― Emilie Sobel, blogger at Soul in Stilettos

2. Double Tipping

“I always warn my friends when they visit (especially my foreign ones who aren’t used to tipping at all) to double-check that gratuity isn’t already included by default. Most restaurants on Miami Beach already have it included and it makes no sense to tip twice unknowingly.” ― Ria Michelle, blogger at Ria Michelle

3. Doing Bus And Segway Tours

“Tourists think they should be getting on Segway tours and tour buses to see our city, when it’s so much better to explore by foot or by bike! There are CitiBikes ALL over Miami, so I always suggest ditching the silly tour guides out to take your money and rent bikes and bike around the cool art deco neighborhoods of South Beach, walk around South Pointe Park and see everything the way locals do.” ― Sobel

4. Not Trying Cuban Food

“You can’t leave Miami without trying Cuban food and coffee, Versailles is the place to go and still has that OG Miami Vice 1980s vibe.” ― Annie Vazquez, blogger at TheFashionPoet.com

South Beach is a beautiful destination, but be sure to explore beyond this one area. 
South Beach is a beautiful destination, but be sure to explore beyond this one area. 

5. Thinking It’s All About Clubbing

“Tourists seem to think the only places to go out in Miami are clubs like LIV and Story. What I love about Miami is the fact that we have SO many great bars and places to go out apart from the club nightlife. We have great neighborhood bars like Bodega, Mama Tried and Lost Boy and even cool ‘hidden spots’ like the bar behind Coyo Taco and Mini Bar, a neighborhood spot in the cool Urbanica Hotel that is packed with locals and great music.” ― Sobel

6. Trashing The Beach

“Tourists think we don’t care for our beaches. We do, and so should you. Please be responsible for your trash everywhere, but especially on the beach. Pick up after others who might have ‘forgotten’ their own. Help us preserve life in our oceans. You’ve seen the images.” ― Danié Gomez-Ortigoza, entrepreneur and artist at Journey of a Braid

7. Limiting Exploration To South Beach

“Many tourists mistakenly believe that Miami starts and ends with South Beach. Don’t get me wrong ― South Beach has a LOT to offer, but our city has so many incredible neighborhoods that are worth exploring. It’s so easy to hop into a Lyft and find yourself in exciting parts of town. For example, you can spend all day checking out art galleries and graffiti in Wynwood, or you can hop over to Little Havana to get a taste of Cuban culture — from food to coffee to music and dancing. And that’s barely scratching the surface.” ― Dana Rozansky, blogger at Miami Food Porn

8. Missing Historic Sites

“A common mistake I see travelers make is solely staying on South Beach and not exploring some of Miami’s best historical gems like Vizcaya, which Martha Stewart has featured for its gorgeous gardens, or maybe hitting up Calle Ocho’s Ball and Chain for some salsa dancing to get a flavor of our city’s beautiful Latino culture.” ― Vazquez

9. Packing Only Beachwear

“One mistake is only bringing bikinis, flip-flops and shorts as your wardrobe. Our culture is very vibrant and we love to dress up, even when it comes to going to the grocery store. Pack a few evening and daytime chic looks and you will thank me later.” ― Stephanie Cosmopolitan, blogger at Stephanie Cosmopolitan

Miami is a vibrant city with many different scenes. 
Miami is a vibrant city with many different scenes. 

10. Missing The Art Scene

“Tourists often assume Miami is all about beaches and nightlife, but I’m proud to say that our city continues to evolve as it relates to all aspects of culture — from food to art to entertainment. It’s definitely worth checking out a show at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts or hitting a cool exhibit at the Frost Museum of Science.” ― Rozansky

“Remember that we host Art Basel every year. Our cultural offerings keep getting better and better: Vizcaya, ICA, the PAMM, MOCA, the Bass, and all the incredible galleries in Little River are worth a visit.” ― Gomez-Ortigoza

11. Not Taking Advantage Of Local Recs

“One mistake tourists make is not tapping local influencers. Visitors are quick to Google ‘Best Place for ____’ which will sometimes generate helpful insights, but oftentimes will result in a sea of information that’s difficult to sift through and may or may not be current or reliable. So why not go directly to those who have their finger on the pulse? It’s perfectly acceptable to DM a fashion blogger to find out about the coolest, off-the-beaten-path stores or a food blogger to get the best, most authentic flavors our city has to offer. I personally love serving as a resource for locals and tourists alike, and try to respond to every message in my inbox. And now when I travel, I often reach out to bloggers wherever I’m going to get intel on their city and potentially even collaborate when I’m in town.” ― Rozansky

12. Sleeping In Late

“People assume staying up until 5 a.m. dancing and drinking is what people do every night. We don’t. There’s nothing more magical than an early stroll on the beach sipping a Cuban cafecito.” ― Gomez-Ortigoza