Life With Landing / Tales of a Digital Nomad

Tales of a Digital Nomad: How We Spent Three Months Living in Miami

By Madison Liston Gomes | Sep 14, 2022
Landing members Madison and Ivan enjoy the beautiful beaches in Miami, Florida.

“You’re not going to like Miami,” was what we were told again and again by friends and family. “Have you considered Tampa? Fort Lauderdale? Savannah?” The list goes on! While we were pretty sure they were wrong, we were comforted to know that with Landing’s flexible leases, we wouldn’t have to stay long if they were right. 

We made it to Miami on a hot, humid, Taco Tuesday night. After unpacking, we took a dip in the rooftop pool of our new Landing, taking in views of cruise ships and colorfully lit buildings with bellies full of discount birria tacos.

We knew then that we were seeing a Miami that those cautioning friends and family hadn’t seen—Miami from a local’s perspective. We were going to find the best beaches, go exploring on amazing day trips, and eat the best food the city had to offer. 

Here’s how we spent our three months living in Miami:

Soaking up the sun on the best beaches in Miami

1. Crandon Park Beach

Crandon Park Beach made us feel like we were on a private island and was as far from the “Miami we were warned about” vibe as it gets. This quiet beach is clean, and there is plentiful parking, barely any crowds, and so much natural beauty. This oasis used to be part of the largest coconut plantation in the country, so there are palm trees everywhere.

If you want a beach day that leaves you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and recharged, this is the spot. It is on Biscayne Key, less than 15 minutes from our Landing in downtown Miami

2. Bill Baggs State Beach

About 20 minutes from our Landing was Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, which is also on Biscayne Key but at the very tip. It is home to a beautiful lighthouse built in 1825 where you can take a free tour and enjoy the spectacular views from the top.

From there, you can see Stiltsville, buildings on stilts a mile offshore that made up a hideaway during the Prohibition era. While you’re at the top, you can also scout out the best snorkeling spots before making it down to the beach. Once we left the lighthouse, we threw on our snorkels, swam out to where we saw the most fish, and were not disappointed—in fact, that was the best snorkeling we did in Miami! 

If you’re looking for a beach day that feels like a big adventure, this is the spot. 

3. South Pointe Beach

This is the one beach we kept coming back to—and not just because it was 15 minutes from our Landing. South Pointe Beach is located on Miami Beach, which is the part of Miami that you see in the movies. It has the classic Miami crowds, beautiful beach resorts, and art deco architecture, but what makes South Pointe Beach really special are all the cruise ships. The Port of Miami is the largest cruise port in the world, and all of those cruise ships launch right past South Pointe Beach. 

Swimming in the ocean with a massive cruise ship towering over you is such a cool feeling and a unique experience. We used the CruiseMapper website to find opportune beach times. 

Check out more of our beachside adventures in our video, “Which Miami Beach Is Worth the Hype?”

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Exploring Miami’s amazing food scene

1. Getting the perfect to-go meal at Joe’s Stone Crab Takeaway

At the end of our first trip to South Pointe Beach, we were exhausted! We weren’t used to the Miami heat and didn’t have the energy to cook or even think much about food. Luckily, Joe’s Stone Crab Takeaway was right next to our parking spot. 

We ordered stone crab (chilled, cracked, and served with mustard sauce) and a slice of key lime pie and took it home. Oh my gosh—it was absolutely perfect after a hot beach day! The meal was light, creamy, and absolutely delicious.

If you’re living in Miami during stone crab season, you must go. Plus, the key lime pie was one of the best I’ve ever had! 

2. Tasting the best Cuban cuisine

You can’t live in Miami without getting a taste of the Cuban culture here. Versailles is one of the most famous Cuban restaurants in the world and a Miami staple! The restaurant has three sections: a bakery filled with an incredible variety of pastries, a ventanita (a window for grabbing a quick coffee), and a full sit-down restaurant. 

We recommend the guava cheese pastelito (flaky pastry) and empanadas at the bakery, the super-strong colada (large Cuban espresso) at the ventanita, and the “Imperial Rice” with chicken, saffron, veggies, egg, and mayonnaise at the restaurant. 

If you’re still hungry after all that and looking for a sweet treat on a hot day, we loved the Abuela Maria (guava, cream cheese, and Maria cookies) ice cream at Azucar!

See more of our Cuban culinary adventures in our video, “A Taste of Cuba in the USA.”

3. Enjoying Miami’s unique burger style

The Frita is a burger unlike any we have ever tasted. The patty is flavorful, juicy, and filled with delicious spices. It comes served on a Cuban roll, topped with onions, crispy potato sticks, and a nice drizzle of a spicy sauce. A frita burger is a definite must-try when you’re in Miami, and El Mago de Las Fritas does it best! 

Taking fun trips and getaways from Miami 

One of the best things about living like a local as a digital nomad is spending enough time in a city to dive further into the area around it. Here are some of the best places we explored while living in Miami: 

1. Everglades National Park

When people think of Florida, they usually think about beaches or swamps, so why not get them both in while you’re staying in Miami? Everglades National Park is only an hour outside of Miami, making it the perfect day trip. The best thing we did there is the Shark Valley Tram Tour, where we saw so many alligators, learned a ton, and got to see some of the most scenic views of the park.

See how we spent our first day in Everglades National Park in our video!

2. Cruise the Caribbean 

Living minutes from the biggest cruise port in the world definitely has its advantages, like booking last-minute cruise deals! We booked a cruise with Virgin Voyages when they were offering a great deal for booking with a friend. We each got several hundred dollars back in credits to use on the ship (hello, drinks and spa day!)

For our friends who live in Miami full-time, jumping on cruises when they find a good discount is part of their normal life. We are definitely fans! 

Want to see more of our cruise? Check out our video!

3. The Florida Keys

Our last big trip from Miami was a drive down to Key West, one of the most beautiful road trips in the country. We stopped at Robbie’s on the drive down to hand-feed the giant tarpon, which was absolutely insane. 

In Key West, we spent our time at the Hemingway House, Fort Zachary Taylor, Dry Tortugas National Park, and eating Kermit’s famous Key Lime Pie, all of which we highly recommend!

Check out how we spent our time in Key West in our video, “The Key to a Perfect Key West Weekend.”

Our final thoughts

We absolutely loved living with Landing in Miami. Of all the places we’ve landed so far, this was the city we could most see ourselves calling home someday. We love that the flexibility of living with Landing gave us the confidence to take a chance on a city that people had been warning us about—and fall in love with the side that only locals see!

Next stop, Boston! 

Madison Liston Gomes

Madison is a YouTuber, foodie, and full time traveler with her husband Ivan. She strives to follow the maddest adventures on her heart while connecting people and opening minds through her YouTube channel. You can join her “madventures” on YouTube under the channel name madventure.