This year marks the 100th anniversary of Miami beach. Roger Crow shares his tips on how best to enjoy America's Art Deco seaside city - a great destination for adventurous honeymooners

Boom! Boom! Boom! "Hold on!" yells Captain Matt, the engine of his boat roaring like an unleashed animal.

My heart's racing as we bounce from wave to wave, the familiar Floridian skyline a backdrop to my sun-kissed adventure.

I knew I should have worn a suit jacket, sleeves rolled up like some Eighties TV detective.
It's too hot for that, but crashing through the surf near Gloria Estefan's house on the aptly named celeb-filled Star Island, it's hard for any former 1980s teen not to imagine themselves as a Miami Vice crime-buster.

While Jan Hammer's title theme plays on my mental jukebox, Ocean Force Adventures' skipper guides our RIB over the next wave.

I soon discover the truth behind Miami Beach, instead of the Hollywood fantasy fed to me. It's a story more fascinating than 100 scriptwriters could imagine - one for each of its glorious years.

2015 marks the centenary of Miami Beach, and with a number of special events taking place, it's the ideal time to plan a visit. Throw Thomas Cook's new direct flight from Manchester into the equation, and it's 'happy days' for a northerner like me!

I find no shortage of glorious attractions on my travels around town, including the 2,000 stars of Everglades Alligator Farm, and the more amiable aquatic life at Miami Seaquarium.
Some marine parks can be amateurish or corporate, but both of these have a big heart. I never tire of watching rays, dolphins and rescued manatees.

I'll admit I'm a little unlucky with the weather and there are downpours (one of which creates a superb rainbow over Miami Beach), but there's no shortage of indoor attractions to distract travellers. I head downtown to PAMM (Perez Art Museum Miami) to absorb some of the paintings and sculptures instead of raindrops; a veggie burger at resident waterfront eatery Verde is an added bonus.

My mental battery charges like a phone plugged into the mains.
As glorious as PAMM is, I soon lose my heart to another attraction: the jaw-dropping Wynwood Walls and arts district turns me into a kid on Christmas morning.
This neighbourhood, filled with murals, galleries, hipster breweries and cool bars, is hugely rewarding.

Given the chilled party atmosphere, I wonder how safe the region is.
"There are some 'sketchy' areas," explains Amanda, one of Urban Spirit Art Crawl's guides, her red cowboy boots and whip-smart attitude summing up the spirit of the region.

All global neighbourhoods have their good blocks and bad blocks, but I feel more at home here than many nightlife spots on home turf.

Leaving the edgy urban art gallery, we go next door to a micro brewery and geek chic bar, J. Wakefield Brewery, decorated with Marvel and Star Wars ephemera. My inner 10 year old has never been so happy. Miami is my favourite new cocktail of a holiday, blending the best of Florida's laidback charm with a fiery Cuban spirit.

Given the wealth of options on offer, it's hard not to enthuse about this jewel in America's crown.

:: Some might recognise The Biltmore hotel from Will Smith's first Bad Boys movie. It's visually stunning and boasts the Fontana restaurant and courtyard, perfect for those al fresco breakfasts and dinners. The pool is definitely worth a dip, but best of all, the property is wonderfully quiet - great if you want a lie in after a long night of partying. Rooms costs from £150 per night. Visit

:: If you want to cram as much into a dining odyssey as possible, then Miami Culinary Tours ( offers a great South
Beach roving food experience. You can have a spicy empanada starter in one part of town, sample a plantain and pork dish at Larios (Gloria Estefan's eatery), soak up that classic Art Deco architecture, and try the gelato for dessert a few blocks away, all for an affordable price (£38 per person).

:: The Meat Market is a high end restaurant and bar, on the fashionable main shopping street of Lincoln Road. The steak and sides are excellent - as is the wine - while the cool, sophisticated ambience makes it ideal for that special occasion or final night in town, as long as you dress to impress. Visit

:: The Miami Design District ( is the home of upmarket shops and galleries - the region's equivalent to Rodeo Drive. But if you prefer bargains, head to either Bayside Marketplace ( or Dolphin Mall (, boasting a mix of familiar stores. Bayside earns extra points for its relaxed waterside location.

:: Roger Crow was a guest of Thomas Cook Airlines ( who offer flights from Manchester to Miami from £399 in economy.
:: For more information on the destination, visit