6 Unique Ways To Experience the Best of the USA’s South Coast
The Art deco buidlings in South Beach, Miami are one of the highlights of the USA's south coast | © 24BY36 / Alamy Stock Photo
Feast your eyes on the major highlights of Miami and New Orleans in style. Whether on foot, by boat, by plane or by horse and carriage, these alternative sightseeing experiences are bound to leave a big impression.
The USA’s sun-kissed south coast stretches for many thousands of miles, so its diverse offering should come as no great surprise. Whether you’re coming from abroad or within, you’ll likely want to see all the classic sights. So, we’ve chosen two top south-coast destinations in Miami and New Orleans, and hand-picked a selection of experiences that we think will help you to do just that – but not in the way you might ordinarily expect…
ActivitiesMiami Speedboat Tour
This exhilarating voyage lets you experience Miami
’s vibrant shoreline on a thrilling speedboat adventure. Hold on tight as your skipper takes you and up to five other passengers bouncing through the waterways of Biscayne Bay aboard a 21-foot (6.4-meter) vessel. Throughout the ride, you’ll soak up the sun and enjoy clear views of the city’s bayside attractions including ‘Millionaires Row’ – a stretch of coveted oceanfront mansions once lived in by a host of Hollywood celebrities. Your enthusiastic guide will share plenty of stories about the local stars – plus a few of his own tips on what to do during your stay in the city.
ActivitiesCemetery and French Quarter Horse and Carriage Ride, New Orleans
Led by a horse-drawn carriage, you’ll feel as though you’ve hopped into a time-travel machine and emerged during the 18th century on this alternative sightseeing tour. Back then, New Orleans
was a French colony, and despite the intervening centuries, a legacy of architecture from this period remains today. As you canter through the iconic French Quarter and past landmarks such as Jackson Square, Napoleon House and St Louis Cathedral, your guide will provide entertaining stories and anecdotes about legendary residents. Plus, you’ll stop at St Louis Cemetery
– the final resting place of local voodoo priestess Marie Laveau – for a short walking tour.
ToursMiami South Beach Art Deco Walking Tour
For all its modern tower blocks and sleek condos, Miami is in fact the city with the highest concentration of Art Deco buildings
in the world. They’re all protected under the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) – founded in 1976 – and this tour showcases some of the best examples in the South Beach district, including Gianni Versace’s famously flashy mansion. Led by a local guide, you’ll learn all about these architectural gems as well as the history of the oceanfront neighborhood, from its origins as a tropical swamp to an era defined by mobs, casinos and Hollywood scandals. The tour begins and ends in the heart of South Beach, providing a great way to get to know one of Miami’s most vibrant neighborhoods.
ActivitiesSteamboat Natchez Jazz Dinner Cruise, New Orleans Jazz music
is the fuel that keeps the New Orleans engine running day and night. Walk into any bar and you’ll likely see a band strumming away on stage – including the one on board this authentic steamboat, which will take you on a romantic dinner cruise up the Mississippi. Whether you opt for the Creole-style dinner or not, seeing the city skyline sparkle at sunset as a local jazz band plays in the background makes for a special combination. There’s plenty of space for strolling around and taking pictures on the outer deck, so don’t forget your camera.
ToursSeaplane Tour of Miami
There’s only so much you can see of Miami at ground level – to see it all at once you’ll need to take to the skies. Taking off from the water, this seaplane tour lets you do just that. With a licensed pilot in the cockpit, you’ll glide over parts of the pristine coastline like Key Biscayne
, Coconut Grove, Star Island and South Beach. It might be noisy, but you’ll still be able to hear your pilot’s in-flight commentary and storytelling throughout the ride. Keep your eyes peeled for Miami’s signature Art Deco architecture and the lavish mansions lined up along Millionaires Row.
ToursThe Twirl: New Orleans Gay Heritage and Drinks Tour
New Orleans has a longstanding gay heritage that’s evolved into one of the world’s best-known and best-celebrated. On this guided tour of the historic French Quarter, you’ll discover the origins of three major LGBTQ festivals – Southern Decadence, Gay Pride and the legendary Mardi Gras – and hear about the Vieux Carré’s most famous gay and lesbian residents. To make matters more interesting, this tour also includes stop-offs at a handful of local cocktail bars – try a Hemingway Daiquiri at the Hotel Monteleone, or a Pimm’s Cup at Napoleon House. Between each bar, you’ll visit different LGBTQ-related landmarks and get to know the rest of your small group, learning about all the best LGBTQ-embracing places to eat, drink and party in The Big Easy