We scored a room at Hotel Riu Florida Beach for $109 using Hotwire. The room itself was nothing special, but it was beachfront and had an awesome heated pool. It was easily worth twice what we paid just on account of the location and pool!
We were impressed with how gorgeous the sand and water is at Miami Beach. After visiting some really incredible beaches in Brasil, we weren't sure how Miami would compare. The water was clear and a brilliant blue and the sand was perfect. We would have a preferred a slightly warmer, slightly less cloudy day so we could enjoy the water, but we had fun playing in the sand and taking in the scenery. And in all honesty, coming from Iowa in December, we weren't going to be real picky about the weather!
While playing on the beach, we even got a little reminder of Brasil as a plane flew overhead with a banner streaming behind it advertising Leblon Caipirinhas. How totally random is that?!?
Gabriela had a complete blast playing in the sand. She really wanted to get in the water too, but it was definitely a bit chilly for that. She and Eric built all kinds of sand creations while I laid out and tried to combat my intense whiteness a bit.
Lilian spent pretty much all her beach time napping in the beach tent. She sort of reminded me of her big sister at that age. There's no telling how many hours Gabs spent playing/napping in that tent during her first 8 months of life! (Long sleeves were rarely required in Brasil though!)
We enjoyed checking out Miami Beach, long strolls down the boardwalk, taking in a bit of the nightlife (being the responsible parents that we are and all, we had the girls out past 10 pm for supper that night!) and swimming in the heated pool. It was a very successful and enjoyable first beach trip as a family of four! And we loved Miami Beach so much that it might become a tradition for anytime we're in Florida visiting the Arnolds!