Miami is the ultimate playground for the fit, stylish and trendsetters of the world, but it also has an eco-luxury side. I decided to put together a travel guide to help you navigate this vibrant city just a little more consciously.
When I think of Miami, I usually think of the ultimate party city – bright, loud, fun and energetic. From the multicolored lifeguard stands to all day pool parties, Miami, especially Miami Beach, has a bit of a wild-child personality.
As we contemplated our next weekend away, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a “green” or “eco” side to Miami. In just two days I learned that sustainability, luxury and style do converge in this world famous beach destination.
1 Hotel South Beach
The 1 Hotel is simply a stunner. This was my pick from the list to stay for our weekend away. As you step through the front doors you can help but be entranced by a lobby decked out head to toe in reclaimed wood. You are welcomed by a beautiful seating area full of creamy white sofas, natural texture from wood furniture, cozy throws and a living moss art installation that the bellmen are pretty excited about. I think I have a photo from each time I walked in and out of the building because each bellman wanted to ensure I had a photo of it.
The 1 Hotel is a silver LEED certified project, but still maintains every possible luxury you would hope for in a resort. I love how they weave sustainability into each experience, yet elevate it through details like the interior orchid gardens and a six-foot custom whale sculpture made from marine debris.
They avoid single-use plastics on the property by providing paper straws, pitchers of purified water in the guest rooms and glass cups, toiletries in reusable containers and cloth beach bags. They offer bikes for getting around the beach, a fleet of electric Teslas and a Spartan gym (not specifically eco-focused, but an awesome hotel gym nonetheless).
The 1 Hotel group is certainly able to marry luxury, wellness and sustainability in a way that is incredibly appealing. In every space you can tell they celebrate nature and their eco-driven mission. The only caveat that I just want everyone to know is it is a large resort, not a small boutique getaway.
The Palms Hotel & Spa
If you are looking for something a little less “South Beach” i.e. a little more character, the Palms Hotel and Spa will be the spot for you. The hotel embraces the old Florida charm with Spanish style architecture and lush tropical gardens and landscaping. As a member of Florida Green Lodging, they check all the boxes for an eco-conscious getaway. If you do nothing else, visit the Palms to enjoy their farm-to-table restaurant Essensia, which features organic fare from their onsite garden.
Looking for the most offbeat option in this list – the Standard will surprise and delight. How many hotels offer bathtubs on their balconies? I don’t know but the Standard does. The Standard has gone to great lengths to maintain its original Art Deco style – including the fact the it still has its original name plastered on the front which can cause minor confusion when looking for it. Located on the Venetian causeway, the hotel pool and restaurant practically float in Biscayne Bay. Featuring a juice bar, a spacious hamman and water journey in the spa, a restaurant specializing in organic cuisine and beautiful interior gardens, the Standard makes for a great conscious stay.
The Miami Beach EDITION
Recommended to us by my sister-in-law, the EDITION is another LEED certified hotel on Miami Beach. The EDITION occupies a historic building originally from the 1950s – renovations are always better on the environment than new builds. The hotel features a basement nightclub with an ice skating rink and a four-lane bowling alley. While we haven’t stayed here or visited the property, it is certainly on the list.
What can I say about Planta? I’m obsessed. It is rare that I find a restaurant anywhere that can make a wonderful mock-tail and Planta nailed both the cocktails and the mock-tails. Aside from just the epic drinks, the food was excellent. We had some watermelon nigiri that Jeremy swore was just like its tuna counterpart. I could have come back here for every meal in Miami, but we had other places we wanted to try. Planta has a perfect blend of Miami energy and a conscious and sustainable ethos. The restaurant features a great, hip environment, takes animals off the plate and sources organic fare from ethical suppliers. It’s truly a vegan hotspot.
Plant Miami was our second vegan dinner out during this weekend getaway and it is exceptional. This plant-based restaurant focuses on seasonal, organic and local dishes prepared in innovative and unexpected ways. I have come to realize that for a vegan restaurant to truly make it, they have to be beyond good – so good, the meat-eaters don’t feel like they are missing out on anything. Situated right in the middle of popular Wynwood, this restaurant offered a serene getaway. I loved sitting in the courtyard next to the reflecting pool surrounded by a jungle of plants – you barely notice the high rises around you. It was really a vegan delight.
Under the Mango Tree
We didn’t make it to Under the Mango Tree during our conscious weekend away, but I just visited this past week and it definitely deserves a place on this list. As we walked up to the storefront, two people walked out carrying fresh coconuts cracked open with paper straws. It screamed consciousness! A black board on the wall shared some quick eco facts including “In the U.S. we use 500 million plastic straws daily” and “Plastic enters the ocean at a rate of 1 garbage truck per minute.” They are doing their part to get away from plastic straws and plastic cutlery and ask their customers to bring reusable cups (including big discounts for bringing them) and they compost their organic scraps for a local garden. It is an awesome spot for a smoothie, açaí bowl or a healthy and delicious afternoon snack!
Pura Vida Cafe is the epitome of a feel good açaí stop. Full of organic green juices, smoothies, wraps and of course açaí bowls, this spot will not let you down for breakfast or lunch. All of their ingredients are locally sourced and the shops are beautifully styled.
The Dr. Smood locations are perfectly moody and incredibly stylish with dark decor and brass tones. We first found Dr. Smood when visting NYC which is funny because they started right around the corner in Miami. This cafe has wonderful organic, non-GMO juices, smoothies, snacks and coffees that a great for an afternoon snack or to work with a coffee. I tried my first Red Velvet latte (beet juice latte) and it was pretty good. The founders partnered with a doctor to develop recipes that support cleansing and nutrition, including three whole-foods cleanse programs that you can mix and match for up to seven days. It is definitely worth the stop.
For those seeking a little peace and quiet outside of the buzz of Miami, Key Biscayne and Bill Baggs State Park is just the spot to getaway from it all. Bill Baggs State Park is home to the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County – the famous Cape Florida white lighthouse. Regularly listed as one of the best beaches in Miami, this is a great conscious stop on the tour – just bring a lunch and some beach chairs and you can spend the day.
Miami Beach Botanical Gardens
These gardens are an oasis in the middle of Miami Beach. If you need a touch of nature just drop by, maybe bring a book and set up for the afternoon on the lawn amongst the trees. Just on the other side of the garden you can also visit the Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial.
Vizcaya, the historic landmark and gardens, was originally James Deering’s winter home in the 1910s. Today you can wander the beautiful mansion and gardens as it has been preserved to help engage visitors in the history and past of South Florida.
Frost Science Museum
Dear science nerd, like myself, come check out the science museum in Miami. Located downtown Miami on the waterfront, the Frost Science Museum is a great respite from the Florida heat. This museum is split up into 4 separate buildings where you can discover the solar system in the planetarium and the underwater world in the aquarium, plus so much more! I promise on those warm, humid days, this is going to be your stop!
Bike Española Way and the Art Deco district of South Beach
Of course one my favorite things to do is also a very conscious, low-impact activity. Just bike around town and explore. The Art Deco areas of Miami Beach are fascinating by themselves, but if you are feeling strong and adventurous, head over to Wynwood. There you will find tons of shops, restaurants and the insta-famous Wynwood walls!
Antidote Shop Wynwood
I found this shop on Instagram long before I even realized it was in Miami. It is a highly curated boutique focusing on sustainable and ethical fashion brands. They believe it is possible to look great and be a conscious consumer. At Antidote you will find a great selection of brands that prove fashion and sustainability can go hand-in-hand.
Nomad Tribe Miami
This spot is just up the street from Antidote, which makes conscious shopping even more convenient. I’ve stopped in this shop numerous times and I always find something to fall in love with. Nomad Tribe is a conscious retailer and brand committed to a more sustainable future. They are inspired by their travels to find more ethical and conscious fashions just as much as we are.
Plant the Future
Paloma Terra is a masterful artist with plants – I’ve never seen anything like it. My dream one day is to have one of even her small creations in my home so I can enjoy it everyday. If I could afford it, I would buy so many of the creations in this beautiful space. They have a shop in Wynwood and one in the 1 Hotel on South Beach. Even if you aren’t in the market for some new plants or art, take a walk around one of her shops. You will be truly mesmerized by her work. Better yet, click on the link above and just view it online – it is magical!
Boho Hunter is a boutique with a beautiful selection of jewelry, leather goods, clothing and textiles from Latin America. Here the owners are committed to both discovering exciting new creators and producers around the Americas. In this shop you can find modern Panama hats from Ecuador’s Allpa Hats, chic kimonos, cover-ups by Peruvian Brand Balkanica. Plus, don’t forget the cult status swimwear from Colombia’s Suki Cohen.
If you are coming from the East Coast of Florida, I can’t recommend the Brightline train enough. It is a comfortable, conscious way to get down to Miami. Otherwise, a quick flight into Miami International will do the trick. Uber, rent a car or take the metro mover to get down into Miami and Miami Beach.
Bikes are naturally the best way to get around South Beach. For longer trips between neighborhoods, Uber or Lyft are plentiful. If you are staying at the 1 Hotel, take a ride in the Tesla. You can rent a car in Miami, but be aware that parking can get expensive, especially at most hotels.
WHEN TO VISIT
Miami is a party all year round, but it gets very warm and humid in the summers. The best time to visit is between January – April. While it would be significantly cheaper, I would avoid planning a trip for the summer if you can because hurricane season runs from June – November, with the most active time being July-September.