I just returned from a weekend trip in Miami with my husband (and 20 of his coworkers :)). I've been to Miami on weekend trips at least a dozen times before, but this was one of my absolute favorite times we have visited.
I was a little bit worried about Zika virus, but with plenty of bug spray I have to admit that I really didn't see any mosquitos anywhere! 36 hours is NOT enough time to explore all that Miami has to offer, but if you had a short trip on the calendar like I did, here is what you should do!
See Miami by Boat: One of my favorite things we did while we were in Miami was to rent a yacht for the group. Depending on the size of your group, a yacht rental can actually be pretty reasonable. If it isn't reasonable for your or if you have a small group, renting a smaller boat is also a blast.
Our captain took us around and showed us all sorts of celebrities houses. Not that I really care about celebrities, but it was really neat to see the architecture and landscape of Miami. There are many gorgeous old houses and some new, very large houses as well. After the tour, we took a drive and anchored for swimming and jet skiing. Our group had a blast riding around on the jet ski and just enjoying the water.
On the way back, we enjoyed the breeze and just being out on the water. In my opinion this is the BEST way to see the city!
Eat Like A Local: Miami is home to so many great restaurants, but we ate at an absolutely amazing one while we were in Miami: Yardbird. It is a southern restaurant, but with a fun Miami twist. It's not on Ocean Drive so a nice hop away from all of the tourists and travelers. I'm embarrassed to write out everything we ate, but I highly recommend the Fried Green Tomato BLT (pork belly, pimento cheese and fried green tomato), the classic biscuits, fried chicken and shrimp and grits.
While I really love the local food of Miami (especially Cuban food!) I thought it was fun to try something a little bit different on this trip. I highly recommend hopping over to Yardbird. PS: They have a huge bourbon bar too!
Hit The Beach: I'm always surprised when I get to Miami and remember how beautiful their beaches are! We stayed at the Betsy Hotel, which is conveniently located right on South Beach. The water was so blue (almost Caribbean looking) and we had a blast just enjoying the ocean. There is plenty of space to walk the beach, play games, swim, etc.
My only recommendation is to bring your own water and snacks because there are very few vendors on the beach. Also pack a ton of sunscreen (and in my case bug spray ;)).
Explore By Foot or Bike: There is SO much to explore by foot or by bike in Miami. We spent most of our time walking around and enjoying Miami on foot. I love walking the path right by the beach and just enjoying all of the views, but also being able to keep up the pace by not walking directly on sand.
You can rent bikes almost anywhere in South Beach and that would be a great way to see the city. I was dying to visit the Wynwood Arts District, but unfortunately that was the neighborhood with the Zika warning, BUT I've heard it is amazing so you should definitely walk around there on your next visit.
I was so bummed to only have 36 hours in Miami, but as you can see we really made the most of it!