Travel Lifestyle & Culture

The Ultimate Travel Nurse's Guide to Miami

Audrey McCollough, RN, BSN
July 27, 2023
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The Ultimate Travel Nurse's Guide to Miami: From Top Healthcare Jobs to Food, Fun, and Sun!

Hello, travel nurses and allied health professionals! Are you gearing up for your next big assignment? How about a trip to the Magic City, the jewel of the Southeast - Miami! Trust us, you're in for a tropical treat.

With its breathtaking beaches, internationally acclaimed cuisine, and pulsating nightlife, Miami is not just a city—it's a lifestyle. Imagine finishing your shift and being greeted by the soothing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, or indulging in a Cuban sandwich that's so delectable, it might just become your new go-to snack. From the stunning views of Biscayne Bay, to the vibrant energy at American Airlines Arena, there's an abundance of places to explore.

Prepare to fall in love with Miami's rich history, its friendly locals, and its eclectic neighborhoods- each pulsating with its own unique rhythm. Whether you're a food lover, a beachcomber, a sports aficionado, or a culture enthusiast, Miami has something to suit all tastes.

So, grab your sunscreen and get ready to embark on an assignment of a lifetime as we guide you through the best food, drinks, and unforgettable activities that Miami has to offer! This is your comprehensive guide to making the most out of your Miami travel assignment.

Living in Miami: Cost of Living

Enjoying life in Miami, the dazzling jewel of the Sunshine State, brings what locals lovingly call the 'Sunshine Surcharge.' The overall cost of living sits about 21% above the national average. But when you weigh this against the irresistible charm of Miami's pristine beaches, year-round balmy weather, and rich cultural blend, those few extra dollars begin to seem like a small price to pay. And here's a gem - compared to living in a bustling city like New York, Miami offers a great deal with the cost of living being 34.8% lower!

Housing in Miami reflects the city's magnetic appeal, with costs approximately 47% higher than the national average. Luxury districts like Brickell and Miami Beach are on the higher end, with a one-bedroom city center apartment costing around $2,732.54 monthly. But don't worry - at Trusted, our travel nursing assignments in Miami include housing allowances to help soften these costs!

Miami is a city that loves its cars, with over 91.7% of households owning at least one vehicle. While parking in some areas can be a challenge, many residential properties provide parking facilities. And the cost of gasoline, averaging about $3.67 per gallon, can seem like a small price to pay when you're cruising down the picturesque coastal roads, with the balmy sea breeze playing in your hair.

Should you choose public transportation, Miami’s comprehensive Metrobus network covers over 95 routes, connecting all the major shopping, entertainment, and cultural hubs, with fares starting at $2.25 per trip. The Metrorail monthly pass, priced at $112.50, is another convenient option.

Expect everyday expenses like groceries and clothing to be about 9% more than the national average. But when you're relishing the unique flavors of Miami's diverse culinary scene or dancing your worries away on South Beach, these minor additional costs fade away into the vibrant colors of living in this tropical haven! As you navigate the vibrant rhythms of life in Miami, balancing your expenses becomes second nature, allowing you to focus on what truly matters – making the most out of your travel assignment.

Now that we've got a grip on Miami's cost of living, it's time to explore what awaits you in terms of education and salary expectations.

Nursing in Miami: Education and Salary Expectations

Talk to travel nurses and allied health pros about their preferred destinations, and Miami often comes up. It's not hard to see why. The city's tropical allure, cultural richness, and a robust demand for healthcare professionals make Miami an attractive hotspot.

One of the many advantages of choosing Miami for your nursing career is the competitive compensation. Florida ranks third in terms of nurse employment across the nation, offering an enticing mean wage of $38.42 per hour, which translates into an annual salary of approximately $79,910. Miami steps it up a notch, with staff nurses earning an average of $39.33 per hour or about $81,810 annually. In 2023, Miami's travel nurses have been earning an impressive weekly average of around $2,270! Keep in mind that travel nurse salaries can vary based on market supply and demand. To stay current, use our Nurse Salary Explorer to keep track of the latest salary trends.

If you're just starting your nursing journey or considering furthering your education, Miami won't disappoint. With several top-notch nursing schools, such as the University of Miami with its impressive 98.51% NCLEX pass rate, Nova Southeastern University's high-tech simulation labs, Florida International University's comprehensive nursing programs, and Florida Atlantic University's exceptional 100% AGNP certification pass rate, Miami's got you covered. These top-tier programs are just a sampling of what the Miami area has to offer in terms of fostering the next generation of nursing professionals.

By choosing Miami for your nursing career, you're not just selecting a city—you're choosing a dynamic community that eagerly supports and values healthcare professionals. Given Florida's consistent demand for nurses, you'll find an abundance of opportunities in Miami once your education is under your belt. With the state's high employment level for nurses, a secure, long-term nursing position in Miami can be more than just a dream—it can be your reality.

Now that we've covered the practicalities, let's move on to the fun aspects of life in Miami. Keep reading as we unveil the best culinary treats, most refreshing beverages, and must-try activities that await you in this tropical paradise!

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top Miami Restaurants You Must Try

Ariete: Coconut Grove's culinary gem, Ariete, is a place where unexpected flavors become your newest obsession! Under the expert guidance of Executive Chef Michael Beltran, the fusion of homey Cuban cuisine and sophisticated French techniques comes to life. The daring menu beckons you to step out of your comfort zone and discover a new favorite. The talk-of-the-town is their tableside pressed duck - a unique spectacle that delivers a flavor explosion and will have you reaching for your camera. 

Joe’s Stone Crab: An establishment that's as quintessential to the city as the glittering Ocean Drive, Joe’s Stone Crab has stood the test of time for over a century. They're famed for the best stone crabs in the city. Wondering what a stone crab is? These marine critters found locally in the bay were introduced to Joe's menu back in 1921, thanks to a curious ichthyologist. Once boiled and served chilled with hash browns, coleslaw, and mayo, these crabs were an instant hit. The non-seafood offerings like fried chicken and liver with onions are equally delectable, ensuring there's something for everyone. With five generations of family management and a dedicated staff, many who've stayed for decades, the love and camaraderie at Joe's are palpable. At Joe's, it's not just about a meal; it's about becoming part of a century-old tradition.

Macchialina: Nestled away from the bustle of South Beach lies Macchialina, a charming Italian tavern that's a favorite among locals. With its rustic and warm ambience, Macchialina serves up a seasonally inspired menu that seamlessly marries traditional cooking with contemporary tastes. Be ready to be wooed by their creamy, locally made burrata cheese served with pickled aubergine, or their customer-favorite short rib lasagna. Chef Michael Pirolo's fresh take on Italian classics shines through in dishes like the broccolini al cesare and beet mezzaluna pasta. Bonus tip: Thursday nights are a treat, with most homemade pasta dishes priced at just $10 all night long - so go ahead and order seconds, or even thirds, guilt-free! 

Makoto: The jewel in Bal Harbour Shops' crown, Makoto is where a chic aesthetic meets authentic Japanese cuisine. Here, under the direction of Stephen Starr, freshness takes center stage with top-notch seafood dishes that will have you coming back for more. Enjoy the relaxed tropical vibes as you indulge in their famous spicy tuna crispy rice or savor unique creations by Chef Makoto Okuwa, like the innovative "frosty wagyu" fried rice. With its exquisite blend of contemporary design and traditional flavors, Makoto promises an aesthetically pleasing, culinary delight. 

Mignonette: Step into the charming Mignonette, a converted 1930s gas station turned oyster bar that's a testament to Miami's inventiveness. This nostalgic restaurant retains a vintage feel while delivering a delightful dining experience. Oysters sourced from Atlantic and Pacific waters feature prominently on a retro signboard. Here, the flavors range from 'plain' to 'fancy', allowing you to pick between classic seafood dishes and extravagant delights. Be prepared to be impressed by their Connecticut-style lobster roll, packed with buttery claw meat and served alongside house-made chips. For an unpretentious but remarkable culinary experience, Mignonette is the place to be.

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink:  A legendary establishment located in the Design District, Michael's Genuine Food and Drink was founded by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwart.  This restaurant has been a culinary beacon for 16 years, impressing guests with its unique blend of casual ambiance and exceptional cuisine. The recently renovated space has amplified its charm, featuring expanded bar seating and a refreshed menu that caters to contemporary tastes. Delight in dishes like Sicilian-style grilled pork collar or a novel grilled maitake mushroom "shawarma", all while soaking in the lively atmosphere. Perfect for everything from quick happy-hour cocktails to intimate date-night dinners, Michael's Genuine is the epitome of flavor, freshness, and fun.

Zak the Baker: Dive into a world of sourdough and kosher delights at Zak the Baker, a bakery-cum-sandwich shop that has become a sensation in Wynwood, Miami. Created by Zak Stern, this bakery is known for its exceptional sourdough bread, which stars in their distinct breakfast sandwiches, layered with alfalfa sprouts, heirloom tomatoes, and more. Be it the gorgeous bagel platters, nostalgic deli-style offerings, or vegan soups, every dish here sings with authenticity. The recent patio expansion has allowed for more dine-in service, although delivery and takeout options remain popular. From a humble Kickstarter project to the top café in Wynwood, Zak the Baker has truly baked its way into Miami's heart. Pro tip: don’t miss out on the freshly baked challah at noon - it's an experience you won't forget!

Best Coffee Shops in Miami for Your Morning Boost

All Day Coffee: All Day is a fun coffee bar and restaurant in the Park West neighborhood of Miami that effortlessly blends high-quality beverages and consciously sourced food with an inclusive community spirit. Known for its eclectic range of specialty brews and innovative breakfast sandwiches, it's the go-to spot for coffee connoisseurs and food lovers alike. The space emanates warmth and welcoming, making it a true hub for the community. With a focus on supporting sustainable agriculture, fair wages, and local initiatives, All Day not only serves an unforgettable cup of coffee but also exemplifies a commitment to positive community and environmental impact. 

Vice City Bean: A well-loved coffeehouse in Miami, Vice City Bean is known for its exceptional multi-roaster coffee program featuring blends from Madcap Coffee. Beyond the superb brews, patrons indulge in mouth-watering freshly baked goods such as dulce de leche cookies and almond croissants. The Miel latte with oat milk, mildly sweet and incredibly tasty, is a crowd favorite. What sets this place apart is their coffee workshops, perfect for those keen to sharpen their barista skills. With free Wi-Fi and several locations throughout the city, Vice City Bean is the ideal spot for productive work sessions, business meetings, or simply savoring an exquisite cup of coffee.

Panther Coffee:. Known for its artisanal, small-batch beans sourced from around the world, Panther is a sanctuary for coffee connoisseurs who seek the highest quality brews. The friendly staff, well-versed in the art of coffee, offer a range of beverages from a smooth, potent cold brew to the traditional espresso blend. With six locations across the Miami area, Panther coffee is the perfect spot to grab a cup and recharge. 

Neverland Coffee Bar: A lush haven in Miami, Neverland Coffee Bar serves more than just a good cup of joe. Enchanting and whimsical, it's the perfect spot for both the caffeine-addicted and food lovers. Known for its inventive drinks, like the award-winning iced coffee or the exotic hot golden coffee, Neverland invites its patrons to immerse in a world of flavors. But it's not just about the brews; their "everlasting brunch" menu offers a delectable range from egg specialties to hearty burgers. The eclectic, creative crowd, magical ambiance, and the charming outdoor space make it an ideal spot for a morning pick-me-up. 

Prime Spots for Drinks in Miami

Broken Shaker: Within a 1930’s Florida house in Miami beach, is the trendy Freehand hostel, home to the Broken Shaker Bar.  This bar is a vibrant cocktail oasis that has played a pivotal role in Mid-Beach's renaissance. With a courtyard reminiscent of a lush Eden and an interior that's a delightful blend of New Orleans charm and Parisian elegance, this award-winning bar exudes a unique allure. Celebrated for their inventive, ever-evolving cocktail list, the Broken Shaker serves up handcrafted cocktails featuring fresh, often home-grown ingredients and global flavors. From tropical tiki drinks to custom-made concoctions, their talented bartenders cater to every patron's whim. 

Over Under: Tucked away in Downtown Miami, Over Under Bar is a vibrant oasis, brought to life by Broken Shaker veterans. This tropical hideaway celebrates Florida's spirit with locally-inspired dishes and innovative cocktails. Their eclectic menu features offerings like smoked fish dip with fried saltines and a flavorful Jamaican jackfruit patty veggie burger. Complementing these food offerings are the refreshing Paloma slushie and a plethora of cleverly named cocktails. Over Under is a laid-back atmosphere that combines flair, innovation, and Florida charm in every aspect.

Lagniappe: A cozy beer-and-wine nook in Miami, Lagniappe emanates an inviting, casual charm with its live jazz, warmly lit bistro ambiance, and an assortment of distinctive furnishings. Its split spaces cater to various needs: an intimate indoor area, home to live music and a well-stocked booze fridge, and a spacious, eclectic backyard for larger gatherings. It's almost like attending a backyard bash at a friend's place, complete with an array of small-production wines to select from and enjoy under the strung-up bistro lights.

Gramps Bar:  A unique local spot in the art district, Gramps Bar is a refreshing antidote to Miami's glitz, with its unpretentious vibe and eclectic roster of events. With a reputation for serving the city's best Moscow Mule, this Wynwood dive unites diverse crowds, hosting everything from flamboyant drag shows and lively karaoke nights to brain-teasing trivia sessions. Keep an eye on their Instagram for updates on touring bands, flea markets, comedy shows, and more. 

Champagne Bar: Nestled within the Four Seasons in Surfside, the Champagne Bar is a gem that personifies luxury, boasting a mesmerizing emerald-green decor and a refined array of expertly mixed cocktails. The bar celebrates the art of indulgence, featuring gilded bellini carts and a superb selection of Champagnes, touted as Miami's largest. Every component, from juices and syrups to bitters and tinctures, is meticulously crafted in-house, adding a touch of bespoke charm. While the Champagne Bar's opulence may demand some budget-balancing later, the experience mirrors the allure of the good old times, making it worth every dime. Frequented by luminaries and celebrities in its heyday, this sophisticated spot still captures that golden aura. So, raise a glass and toast to the good life at this spectacular Miami establishment.

Miami’s Can’t-Miss Attractions

South Beach: Stretching along the pristine waters of the Atlantic, South Beach stands as an iconic testament to Miami's allure. Framed by white sands that shine like powdered sugar under the bright Florida sun, South Beach pulsates with a palpable energy, exuding an air of glitz and glamour that lures visitors from around the world. Every corner of South Beach seems to weave a tale of indulgence and opulence. At the heart of South Beach, the pedestrian-friendly Ocean Drive stands as a testament to Miami's cultural charm, teeming with sidewalk cafes, colorful street art, and live music. At night, South Beach ignites with life as famed nightclubs and bars along Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive open for the night.  A visit to South Beach is a journey through the postcard-perfect depiction of Miami – vivacious, scenic, and effortlessly cool.

Art Deco District: Brimming with the nostalgic charm of the 1930s and 40s, Miami Beach's Art Deco Historic District is a vibrant symphony of pastel-hued architecture, marking a distinctive chapter in the city's history. Nestled primarily within the South Beach neighborhood, these architectural masterpieces, awash with large neon signs, were meticulously restored after a 1926 hurricane. Whether it's hotels or eateries, the Art Deco buildings, lining Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue, provide a spectacular backdrop for shaded alfresco dining. For travelers keen to immerse themselves in the era's aesthetic, daily walking tours hosted by the Miami Design Preservation League come highly recommended. 

Wynwood Walls:  As if a portal to a vibrant alternate reality, the Wynwood Walls offer an explosion of color and creativity in Miami's warehouse district. This unique art project, brought to life by Tony Goldman in 2009, has metamorphosed the plain warehouse exteriors into a vast canvas for street artists worldwide. With over 80,000 square feet graced by distinctive murals from acclaimed artists like Shepard Fairey, Ryan McGuinness, and Kenny Scharf, the Walls have given a fresh, colorful pulse to the area. This outdoor gallery encompasses 35 vividly painted walls, boutique shops, and galleries, all housed within a gated museum complex. For a deeper dive into the stories behind the murals, guided tours offer insightful narratives. Alternatively, you can lose yourself in the whimsical labyrinth of art independently, experiencing the Walls' creative energy at your own pace. The Wynwood Walls is more than an art display; it's a testament to the transformative power of creativity.

Discover Miami's Cultural Treasures

Little Havana & Calle Ocho: Exploding culture is lLittle Havana, the vibrant heart of Miami's Cuban heritage. This colorful neighborhood is centered around Calle Ocho, a lively street humming with the rhythms of Latin music and lined with traditional Cuban restaurants, cafes, art galleries, and cigar shops. Here, locals gather at Máximo Gómez Park, colloquially known as Domino Park, to engage in animated games of dominoes and impassioned political debates. Murals depicting iconic Cuban figures and symbols adorn the walls, adding a dynamic visual element to the district. The delicious aroma of Cuban coffee and the tantalizing flavors of Cuban cuisine, from savory sandwiches to sweet pastelitos, are inescapable. Each March, Little Havana comes alive with the Calle Ocho Music Festival, a vibrant celebration of Cuban culture and Latin American music. Whether it's the colorful art scene, the unique food culture, or the pulsating music, Little Havana provides a compelling journey into Miami's Cuban heart.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens: A captivating portal into the past, Vizcaya Museum and Gardensa is a Italian Renaissance-style villa ensconced in the heart of Miami. Constructed between 1914 and 1916, the estate served as a winter retreat for the industrialist James Deering, his passion for European culture vividly reflected in the property's design and decor. More than 1,100 workers and artisans, many imported from Europe, meticulously shaped this extravagant masterpiece. Inside the 34-room mansion, a stunning collection of European furniture and decorative arts from the 15th to 19th centuries creates a timeless tapestry of opulence. The grounds, an intricate maze of French and Italian-inspired fountains, pools, and sculptures, stretch out to a decorative breakwater on the Biscayne Bay, marked by a beautifully carved barge. As much a national historic landmark as it is a living gallery, Vizcaya remains a testament to the splendor of a bygone era.

Freedom Tower: Emerging from Miami's skyline, the Freedom Tower stands tall as an architectural wonder and symbol of hope. Built in 1925 and famed for its unique "wedding-cake" style, this skyscraper, one of the oldest in the southeastern United States, once served as the headquarters of the Miami Daily News. The Tower adopted its name and historical significance in the 1960s, when it functioned as a immigration-processing center for Cuban refugees. It now stands proudly as a tribute to Cuban immigration and as a cultural hub, housing Miami Dade College’s National Historic Landmark, Museum of Art and Design, and Special Collections. With its deep roots in Miami's history and vibrant cultural offerings, the Freedom Tower has cemented its place as a must-visit landmark in Miami's urban landscape.

Outdoor Adventures Around the Magic City

Everglades National Park: Covering a sprawling 1.5 million acres, Everglades National Park is a diverse ecosystem teeming with unique wildlife, including alligators, crocodiles, snakes, and various bird species. Known for its natural splendor, the park offers an array of activities from informative visitor centers, wildlife observation decks, and accessible walking trails, like the Anhinga Trail, and canoeing or kayaking. To explore deeper into the park, visitors often opt for high-speed airboat tours, weaving through the winding marshes and streams, promising close encounters with alligators and other locals. 

Venetian Pool:  A testament to the creativity of 1920s architecture, the Venetian Pool is a freshwater oasis in the heart of Coral Gables, a stone's throw away from Miami. Once a coral rock quarry, it was artfully transformed into a swimming venue, its European flair accentuated by bridges, towers, plazas, caves, and even waterfalls. Each day, the pool, with a capacity of 820,000 gallons, is drained and replenished by an underground spring, ensuring a crystal-clear and refreshing swim. Its rich history includes a time of orchestras, gondolas, and visits by Hollywood celebrities, contributing to the pool's timeless charm. Available for public enjoyment between February and November, the Venetian Pool is a unique and enchanting alternative to the usual beachside fun.

Biscayne Bay National Park: A natural jewel set against Miami's bustling backdrop, Biscayne Bay offers an emerald-green oasis of diverse wildlife, rich history, and enticing waters. Occupying a sprawling area of nearly 173,000 acres, the bay's aquatic realm is a treasured trove of coral reefs, shimmering with a rainbow of fish species, and home to a miscellany of sea creatures, such as yellow stingrays and loggerhead turtles. Choose from many ways to explore this ecological wonderland- from canoeing and kayaking to venturing into the waters on a guided snorkeling tour. 

Dive Into Miami's Magic with Trusted

Post-shift, you’ll be ready to trade scrub caps for sun hats and hospital hallways for vibrant Miami streets! Miami’s diverse culinary scene, vibrant nightlife, and soothing beaches await your arrival. Fall in love with the Magic City while you make an impact on a community that truly values your skills.

Let our Care Team guide you to an assignment that perfectly complements your professional goals and personal passions. Reach out to our team today, sign up with Trusted, and let's turn your dreams of a fulfilling career under the Miami sun into reality! 

Audrey McCollough, RN, BSN

Audrey McCollough, RN, BSN, is a pediatric critical care nurse who traded her scrubs for a laptop to come work internally at Trusted two years ago. With eight years of critical care experience and four years of travel nursing under her belt, Audrey now uses her experience and expertise to support others in the healthcare industry, particularly her fellow nurses. When she's not at work, Audrey loves to explore the great outdoors! Hiking, skiing, or just soaking up nature's beauty - Audrey is all about it.

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