Go beyond its nightlife and discover Miami's lighter side for an active urban vacation.
1 of 5Robbie Caponetto, Van Chaplin
Welcome to Miami
Healthy isn’t always the first word that comes to mind when describing this city. But beyond its nightlife exists another world, with no shortage of activities to challenge body and mind. I searched for Miami’s healthier side and found it everywhere I looked.
6:00 a.m. Sunrise Yoga
“There’s a whole subculture of people here who are healthy and also super hip,” says Terri Cooper, director of yoga at the Standard Hotel and co-owner of Shores Yoga. Classes―from hip hop to sunset beach yoga―reflect the city’s diversity. Devotees travel from all parts of the world to learn from the community of yoga teachers.
2 of 5Robbie Caponetto, Van Chaplin
10:18 a.m. The Flying Trapeze School
Located in Bayfront Park, The Flying Trapeze School provides one of the most adventurous experiences in Miami. Here a group of circus professionals teaches even the most unathletic (that would be me) how to hurl themselves into the air on the trapeze and then fall safely to the net.
Lessons take two hours, with the beginning of class devoted to instruction and safety training. Don’t worry―safety harnesses protect participants throughout the lesson. It is a thing of fear to stand on a tiny platform, lean into the breeze, and then fly through the air screaming at the top of your lungs. What a rush! (Not to mention a serious workout for arms and abs.)
Lined with boutiques, art galleries, and outdoor cafes, the Lincoln Road Mall fills with in-line skaters, impeccably dressed women in high-heeled sandals, and people walking dogs of all shapes and sizes. After a brisk stroll and some window shopping, I find a shady cafe.
One of my favorites, Pasha's, serves healthy Mediterranean food with no preservatives or trans fats. Eating a grilled chicken kabob with fresh hummus and pita chips while people-watching provides a great lunch or dinner respite. Be sure to also stop by for fresh-squeezed juice from Athen's Juice Bar before a stroll down the charming Espanola Way.
Pasha’s: 900 Lincoln Road; (305) 673-3919. Athens Juice Bar: 1214 Washington Avenue; (305) 672-4648.
4 of 5Robbie Caponetto, Van Chaplin
5:30 p.m. South Beach Activities
Local fitness centers and trainers turn this glorious landscape into a gym. Equinox Fitness Club offers a free beach volleyball class each Saturday morning. You don’t have to be a member of the gym or have any volleyball experience to play.
“You work your whole body in volleyball, especially your core, legs, arms, and shoulders,” says instructor Weyni Johnson. He adds that anyone can play and explains that sand results in less stress on the knees than indoor volleyball courts. Passersby are encouraged to participate.
Equinox Beach Volleyball Class:Eighth Street and Ocean Drive Volleyball Courts; (305) 673-1172. When: 10-11:30 a.m. Saturdays.
5 of 5Robbie Caponetto, Van Chaplin
9:45 p.m. Salsa Mia
Bliss comes in many forms, and no weekend here is complete without a taste of the nightlife. I head to the Yuca Lounge on Lincoln Road, home to salsa classes on Friday and Sunday nights. Instructors from the dance company Salsa Mia teach the footwork and timing of Cuban salsa here.
"People come to unwind, have a good time, and learn a few steps,” says Salsa Mia’s owner Susan Fisher. Dancers are divided into groups based on ability. As the evening goes on, the music gets louder, and locals and visitors gather in this communal experience of rhythm, dance, and celebration.