Going to Miami? Here's What to Pack

Pro Tips for your vaycay from a real Miami Girl

The author, Jo Rosenthal, wearing a blue mini skirt and black bikini top in Miami.

Jo Rosenthal

Not many people grow up in Miami, and not many people grow up in Miami Beach and South Beach. After years of thinking it was not my style, I'm finally proud to admit where I'm from, and how exciting it was to grow up there.

I was born in a hospital on Miami Beach that overlooks the ocean. I grew up between Miami Beach, South Beach, and Hollywood, Florida, between different houses and apartments my parents lived in. Growing up I was exposed to a lot of things—some I wasn't ready for and some that gave me the ability to see and understand life from different perspectives. I feel lucky to have grown up in such a diverse place filled with extraordinarily interesting culture, incredible food, and heat that could make even an iguana shed tears.

I could go on and on about what growing up in Miami was like, but since so many people are visiting or moving there, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to share some tips on what to bring when visiting the gorgeous beach city. Did you know Miami means "big water" in Tequesta? Miami was the original home to many different native people including the Miccosukee, Myaamia, Shawnee people, and a lot more. Since most people don't know that (but now you do!) and only want to visit the clubs, spas, and fine dining, here's what you should pack on your Miami trip.

A Good Bathing Suit

Almost every place you go in Miami is near a body of water. If you're trying to escape the ocean, maybe book a trip somewhere else. One important thing I've learned during my years spent at beaches is that you don't need to be bikini body ready to get your tan on. Every body is beautiful, of course, but we already know that. While it's easy to compare yourself to the body of whoever the hottest supermodel is, know that your quirks make you you, and that no creatures in the ocean care about how you look. The only thing that matters is how to not become their next tasty snack.

Shades for Days

UV protection is important, not just for your body but also for your eyes. I bet you didn't know that your eyes could get sunburned. Sounds pretty painful and totally avoidable if you ask me. Faces are like flowers, they come in every variation and some people prefer certain lenses to others. Finding the right pair of sunglasses can be no easy task. And because we all end up losing our favorite pair, buying sunglasses shouldn't be taken too seriously.

A Cover-Up

Some places are no shirt, no shoes, no service, but in Miami, that's rare. I'm pretty sure it's one of the only places you can get away with wearing as few clothes as possible to accomplish any task. At night, you'll have to wear something that looks like real clothes, but most places will accept a mini skirt and bikini top. The last time I visited Miami, my cousin and I both wore bikinis to get sushi and no one even made a face. If you're visiting cultural institutions like the Frost Science Museum, Rubell Collection, or going to see a basketball game, you'll need a little more than what's left to the imagination.

A Fun Towel and Some Sunscreen

The sun is strong year-round, but especially during the summer. I'll be the first to admit that skin cancer has plagued every member of my family except for me and my cousins. Because limiting sun exposure is really difficult, you'll need a good sunscreen to help protect your beautiful baby skin. A fun towel is something that'll also help, especially if you're going to Miami to meet people—it's a great conversation starter.


This one is really difficult for me to write about because I'm the type of girl who wears boots year-round. I personally don't like the sight of my own toes, and I think that most men should never wear sandals. But since Miami is 99% sand, you'll need a good pair of sandals. Getting sand out of your crevices becomes not fun very quickly.

Reusable Water Bottle

The most important thing to bring on your trip to Miami is a good attitude. A lot of people (everywhere) have bad attitudes, but if you put your kindest foot forward, you'll be able to achieve a lot more than you know. The next most important thing is a reusable water bottle. It's extremely important to stay hydrated. Sun poisoning leads to horrible things that I don't even want to get into. And because plastic is not cute, a good reusable water bottle is something that will never make you feel bad.

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