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South Beach: History and Culture of America’s Art Deco Playground

Program Number: 20393RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/9/2014 - 2/14/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Miami, Florida
Price starting at: $1,259.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture
Meals: 11; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 2 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

A vibrant neighborhood in the heart of Miami, South Beach has endured many transformations through the years, from hurricane-ravaged region to architectural wonderland to today’s beautifully preserved urban oasis and international playground. Delve into the amazing history of this world-famous Florida hotspot and enjoy behind-the-scenes access to South Beach venues like the New World Symphony and the Wolfsonian/FIU.


• Sample the local fare on a culinary adventure through South Beach while learning about its dramatic history and beautiful architectural sights.
• Take in the glitz and glamour of the 1920s on an exploration of South Beach's Art Deco Historic District.
• Visit The Jewish Museum of Florida, heralded as the "jewel of South Beach."

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles daily on city streets and sidewalks; some standing at museums.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.


One of America’s most dynamic, multicultural major cities, Miami attracts visitors from around the world to its cultural, recreational and historical attractions. Miami sits in the southeast corner of Florida amid the Miami River, Biscayne Bay, the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean.

Oceanfront Art Deco hotel with private access to beach, pool, and spa.
Meals and Lodgings
   South Seas Hotel
  Miami 5 nights
 South Seas Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Nestled in south beach, the oceanfront South Seas Hotel in Miami Beach is a boutique hideaway in an A-list location. The hotels décor is a mix of style and understatement blending mid-century Miami Beach modernism with an array of contemporary features. Tropical bougainvillea frame a sweeping entranceway and vintage photographs cataloguing Miami’s social history, are featured throughout the building. With the quaint boutique shops of Lincoln Road Mall and Ocean Drive, outdoor café’s, and top notch restaurants, the South Seas places you in the center of it all.
  Contact info: 1751 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139 USA
phone: 800-345-2678
  Room amenities: The rooms offer relaxing seating, a sizable work area, two full long beds, art deco inspired furnishings, 240 thread count duvet covers and linens, flat panel LCD TVs, I-pod docking station, digital clocks, E.O. Pure Essential Oil toiletries, waffle robes, in-room safes, iron & ironing boards, hairdryers, electronic voice mail complimentary wireless high-speed internet access
  Facility amenities: Only steps from the sand and surf of Miami Beach, the South Seas Hotel is one of the few South Beach hotels located directly on the beach – with oceanfront rooms and suites offering uninterrupted views of the ocean, pool or South Beach skyline.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Special Rate May Apply Please contact the South Seas Hotel directly from 9 am - 5 pm EST at 1-800-345-2678 for pre or post program nights. Please tell them you are with the Road Scholar group. Depending on availability a special rate may be available
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Special Rate May Apply Please contact the South Seas Hotel directly from 9 am - 5 pm EST at 1-800-345-2678 for pre or post program nights. Please tell them you are with the Road Scholar group. Depending on availability a special rate may be available
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 pm You will be staying at South Seas Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
12:00 pm You will be staying at South Seas Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Valet parking at $29.00 per day Other options: (Municipal Garages) 21st St and Collins Ave. $15.00 per day, 17th St Garage $20.00 per day, 18th St & Meridian Ave. $15.00 per day
To Start of Program
  Location:  Miami
  Nearest airport:  Miami International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Miami
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

From Miami International Airport(MIA) to South Seas Hotel


From Airport




Public Transportation


Bus #150 from airport. Bus stop Collins Ave @ 18th St in front of the hotel


Miami International Airport (MIA) to South Seas Hotel


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Super shuttle
phone: 305-871-2000
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$20.00-$23.00 pp
Prices are subject to change.


Miami International Airport (MIA) to South Seas Hotel





Yellow Cab
phone: 786-777-7777


Per Person/One Way:


Approx. $32.00
Prices are subject to change.


Taxis are readily available to transport you from the Key West airport to the hotel. The pick up location is outside baggage claim. A reservation is not required.

Driving Directions
  From Miami International Airport to South Seas Hotel North on 42nd St to Fl-112. Head West toward Miami Beach on Fl-112. Continue onto W 41st St. Turn right onto Indian Creek Drive, turn right onto Collins Ave. Hotel is on your right. Distance approx. 12 miles, travel time approx. 20 minutes depending on traffic
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and Hotel Check-in, Program Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
(Sunday, February 9)
 Arrive To: Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00pm.
 Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to register with the program staff, pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag and up-to-date schedule, and other important information. (If you arrive late, please pick up your packet at the hotel front desk.)
 Dinner: Enjoy a plated three-course dinner at the hotel's Pilikia, a poolside Polynesian-style café featuring casual American fare with international influences. There will be a choice of entrée (one of which will be vegetarian), side dishes, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverages.
 Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome, introduce everyone, and provide key contact information. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Take the rest of the evening to settle in and get a good night's sleep for the day ahead.

Accommodations: South Seas Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Early Miami Beach Natural History, South of 5th Street
(Monday, February 10)
 Breakfast: At the hotel, enjoy a buffet with hot and cold items including cereals, fruit, coffee and tea.
 Morning: Early Miami Beach Natural History. We will gather outdoors (in good weather) to learn about the natural history of early Miami Beach.
 Lunch: We will dine at a restaurant to enjoy the local fare!
 Afternoon: South of 5th Street. Today we walk along the shoreline of the southern tip of South Beach. Learn about the entrepreneurial vision that created the Miami Beach Marina; listen to the dramatic story of the Government Cut and how it transformed Miami and the Biscayne Bay. Explore beautiful South Pointe Park, taking time to walk out on the jetties. Walk to the Browns Hotel, the first hotel built in South Beach, then circle back around to Joe's Stone Crab, one of South Florida's landmark eateries. Finally, we will move up mid-district to see Miami Beach's recently restored historic City Hall.
 Dinner: Dinner this evening is on your own to enjoy the local fare of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: South Seas Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Art Deco District, Wolfsonian, Free Evening
(Tuesday, February 11)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: First listen to an expert on Art Deco and then enjoy a leisurely guided walk around the famous Art Deco District, the first 20th Century neighborhood to be recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, with 800 structures of historical significance, mostly built between 1923 and 1943. Your guide, a historian and preservationist, will point out many of the bright pastel buildings with sleek curves, shiny chrome, and relief ornamentation featuring whimsical flora, fauna, and ocean-liner motifs.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant, Puerto Sagua.
 Afternoon: Explore Wolfsonian Museum. View Mitchell "Micky” Wolfson’s master collection of Decorative and Propaganda Arts in a fortress-like building once used as a hurricane-proof storage facility. The vast assemblage includes furniture, paintings, books, prints, industrial and decorative art objects, and ephemera. In 1997 it became a division of Florida International University (FIU).
 Dinner: Dinner this evening is on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
 Evening: Free Evening: Take in more of what this amazing city has to offer on your own. You might want to catch a show from current offerings, watch the passing parade that animates South Beach nightlife, or simply spend time with new Road Scholar friends.
Accommodations: South Seas Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Miami Beach in World War II, Lincoln Road, Holocaust Memorial, Miami Beach Botanical Garden
(Wednesday, February 12)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Our expert will discuss Miami Beach's Contributions to World War II. From 1942-1945, Miami Beach played a significant role in the war effort. Nearly 500,000 men, including movie idol Clark Gable, took over 300 hotels and buildings for housing and training headquarters, calling it "the most beautiful boot camp in America."
Lincoln Road. Discover cultural and historic treasures while walking down Lincoln Road.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at local restaurant, Van Dyke.
 Afternoon: With private access inside, look upon architectural gems such as the Frank Gehry-designed New World Symphony building.
Then, led by our Group Leader who is also a naturalist, enjoy some sweet serenity at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. MB Garden today is a public-private partnership: owned by the city and operated by the non-profit Miami Beach Garden Conservancy.The botanical collections range from bromeliads to cycads (prehistoric plants), flowering trees, orchids, palms, vines, a Japanese Garden, and much more.
Holocaust Memorial. We will have a guided exploration of this poignant and moving memorial to victims of the Holocaust, the first to be built in America.
 Dinner: Dine out on your own this evening to enjoy the cuisine of your choice.
 Evening: Free Evening. Personal independent exploration or rest and relaxation, the evening is at your leisure and pleasure.
Accommodations: South Seas Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Cuban-American Heritage, South Beach Cultural District Walk, Jewish Museum, Farewell Dinner
(Thursday, February 13)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a lecture with expert Seth Bramson titled "L'Chaim! The History of the Jewish Community of Greater Miami
 Lunch: At local restaurant, Jerry's Famous Deli.
 Afternoon: Jewish Museum of Florida. The award-winning Jewish Museum is a partnership between the museum and Florida International University. The museum’s exhibits illustrate the richness and diversity of Jewish life and the unique ways in which Florida Jews influence and are influenced by the historic and cultural dynamics of the state, the nation, and the world.
Walk the streets of South Beach’s cultural district and see the Bass Museum of Art with a docent, a building ripe with architectural significance and history
 Dinner: For our farewell meal together, enjoy a traditional Cuban-American dinner in the “tiki” themed area poolside area.
 Evening: Continue your conversations with new Road Scholar friends and prepare for departure tomorrow morning.
Accommodations: South Seas Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Wrap-Up, Program Concludes
(Friday, February 14)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: The Group Leader will discuss many of the recent changes in South Beach. The program concludes with this final session.

Please remember that hotel check-out is by 11:00am.

We hope you have enjoyed this encounter with the history and culture of America’s art deco playground, South Beach, and will join us for other rewarding Road Scholar programs in the future. Please stay in touch and share your memories, pictures, and comments via the Road Scholar Social Network. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Miami Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is one of the world's preeminent botanic gardens, with extensive collections of rare tropical plants including palms, cycads, flowering trees, tropical fruit trees, vines, and succulents. Opened in 1938, the 83-acre garden is among the region's most popular visitor attractions and offers tours along with a variety of programs in environmental education, conservation and horticulture. An international leader in tropical plant conservation, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden plays an important part in preserving the biodiversity of the tropical environment. For additional information, visit
  History Miami Museum
Accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM) in 1979, The History Miami Museum is one of the largest private, regional history museums in the state. It offers exhibitions that appeal to a wide audience interested in the South Florida and the Caribbean community, while at the same time engaging residents and tourists alike. For additional information, visit
  Miami Art Museum
Miami Art Museum, a modern and contemporary art museum located in downtown Miami, FL, is dedicated to collecting and exhibiting international art of the 20th and 21st centuries with an emphasis on the cultures of the Atlantic Rim—the Americas, Europe and Africa—from which the vast majority of Miami residents hail. Miami Art Museum (MAM) serves one of the most diverse and fast-growing regions of the country, where a confluence of North and Latin American cultures adds vibrancy and texture to the civic landscape. MAM embraces its role as a cultural anchor and touchstone in a city that welcomes countless ethnic and age groups, lifestyles and ideas For additional information, visit
  Miami Museum of Science
The Miami Museum of Science features exhibits relating to science and technology, as well as a wonderful planetarium and wildlife center. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

South Beach Deco: Step By Step

Author: Iris Chase

Description: An expansive and in-depth guide to the Art Deco architecture of South Beach, Florida. This book also explores the culture of daily and nightly life in South Beach.

Saving South Beach (Florida History and Culture)

Author: M. Barron Stofik

L’chaim! The History of the Jewish Community of Greater Miami

Author: Seth Bramson

Description: Beginning with the arrival of Miami’s first Jewish settler, Isidor Cohen, in 1896, Bramson’s exciting story takes us through Miami’s early days to the present. Bramson takes a historic look at the people and places that have made the Jewish impact on the area such an important part of the fabric of the community.

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