I am a 25-year resident in Miami. I have worked in tourism here and in Latin America for over 35 years. I am presently taking a course to become a certified tour guide. South Florida is a fabulous place to be. Though it's awfully tempting, don't waste it by just lying on the beach.
There is plenty of public transportation where you need it, but it runs on a timetable, so to organize yourself access the local bus transit sites. Miami Beach and the city of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale beach and Las Olas Blvd. are covered top to bottom. There is regular Greyhound service from Miami to Key West. There are also regular buses and trains to Orlando. Air fares to Orlando or Tampa run around US$ 120.00 return.
If you are coming, by all means contact me. Let me know your interests and I'll try to give you some tips on how to get the most out of your holiday.
Here are some local events you might like to set up your visit around:
Art Deco Weekend Festival, January, Miami Beach
Started by the Miami Design Preservation League and going strong for more than a quarter century, the Art Deco Weekend heralding Miamiís Art Deco era (roughly from 1925 to 1945), brims with events including tours, lectures, films, music, a parade, and more.
South Beach Wine & Food Festival, February, Miami Beach
A world-class wine, spirits and food tasting unfolds along with sparking dinners, a beachside barbecue, a champagne brunch, and more.
Calle Ocho, March, Little Havana
Little Havana's festival of food, music and Latin culture stretches out over the 23-block area flanking SW 8th Street (Calle Ocho).
Art Basel Miami Beach, December, Miami and Miami Beach
Sister to Art Basel in Switzerland, Art Basel Miami Beach showcases art from more than 150 galleries in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia.
King Mango Strut, December, Coconut Grove
This zany quarter-century old parody of traditional holiday parades spoofs newsmakers and current events.
For the rest of Florida I'd pick out.(not including events held by theme parks)...
Orange Blossom Festival Parade & Rodeo, February
In Davie, this country festival focuses on the communityís rural agricultural roots, with a parade, livestock fair, a cook-off and crafts, strawberry festival, live country entertainment and a professional rodeo. Keep in mind Florida is the second largest beef producing state after Texas.
Air & Sea Show, May
This air and sea spectacular along Fort Lauderdale Beach -- Shows the might of U.S. Navy and Air Force. Among the nationís largest spectator events -- draws enthusiastic crowds for the no-admission visual treats. If only Osama bin Laden had witnessed this before 9/11.
Fort Lauderdale Holiday Boat Parade, December
Billing itself as the nationís oldest boat parade, the free holiday extravaganza cruises the intercoastal waterway showing off millionaire's yachts covered with millions of lights. Absolutely stupendous and unique.
Gasparilla Invasion and Parade, January
A Parade of Pirates follows the arrival of the pirate ship of Jose Gasparilla at Knightís Point on Harbour Island. Sponsored by Ye Mystical Krewe of Gasparilla, this is one of the most heavily attended annual events in the greater Tampa Bay area. Events held on the third and last Saturdays in January. Similar to a Mardi Gras parade
Florida Strawberry Festival, February
Plant City Fairgrounds hosts an annual celebration of the strawberry, with local agriculture and livestock exhibits, amusements and rides, lots of food and crafts vendors, and especially strawberries in the form of shakes, shortcakes, sundaes, cobblers and ice cream. Freshly harvested strawberries, as well as strawberry plants, also will be provided by the local farmers.
Orlando (mostly theme park stuff, but two outstanding arts festivals)
Mt. Dora Arts Festival, February
Free to the public, eclectic Mount Dora magically transforms into one gigantic art museum with more than 300 artists, performers, temporary shops, and games,
Winter Park Sidewalk Arts Festival, March
Some 1,600 artists from around the world apply each year for entry into some 275 slots at this prestigious, nearly half century old show in Winter Park's Central Park.
Fantasy Fest, October
In Key West, late Octoberís Fantasy Fest tops itself in wackiness and wickedness every year.
Monster Truck Jam, February
Monster trucks, hot rods, and more are on tap at ALLTEL Stadium.
Hope these will tickle someone's fancy.