After a six day cruise to Jamaica, my family and I decided to spend a couple nights in Miami's South Beach. This was a great decision on our end because it turned out to be more memorable than the cruise itself.
We decided to stay at the Courtyard Miami Beach Oceanfront. The hotel on 38th and Collins provided us with a fairly short walk to all the fine dining and entertainment that the art deco district has to offer. Most of our walks were down the wooden boardwalk and sidewalk along the ocean's beach. This is a great walkway that is also lit up for nightly strolls for people who'd rather not walk on the narrow sidewalks.
If you're looking for some great people watching, buying some "affordable" merchandise, or grabbing a bite to eat check out the Lincoln Road out door mall. During the noon time on weekends you can find plenty of independent sellers with antiques, fresh fruits/vegetables, and so on. It's also a fun place to be at night with all of the street performers.
If you're looking for some great Italian food check out Espanola Way. This is a nice place to sit out and eat on a beautiful night (did I mention the weather here is absolutely wonderful in October?). Don't forget to bring your camera for the infamous art deco neon signs on Ocean Drive, the early morning sunrises, and the sunsets from South Pointe Park.
I'm ready to go back as soon as I get more vacation time. Miami is quite large and it's difficult to see what the entire city has to offer in just a few days. Next time we'll probably spend a few days near the ship port/downtown area.