Miami vice? You can find it in South Beach

If you want to let it all hang out, come to South Beach. You certainly won't feel underdressed sporting a bikini as you stroll Ocean Boulevard. However, I applied the rule of it never hurts to overdress for the occasion.

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Described as an outdoor Las Vegas, we fully anticipated its party vibe. The Sin City crowd is definitely a target audience.

As we looked toward the surf, floating billboards and airplane banners crisscrossed the beach to promote Vegas' hottest nightclubs. At one point on a Saturday afternoon, six airplanes dangled their messages overhead as we walked along the beach.

We didn't stay up long enough to see the Saturday night Ocean Boulevard scene unfold. Based on the energy displayed by 5 p.m., I have no doubt it's a spectacle. Even at that time, pimped rides from reconditioned Bel Airs to souped-up Ferraris dragged the street with dueling beats of rap, rock and techno music pounding from their speakers.

Fortunately, the beach front is protected as a public park with a beautiful wending path filled with racks of bikes to share, volleyball courts and open-air gym areas – all for a fit and beautiful to entertain and be entertained.

First impressions are lasting ones. But the next few days revealed a side to South Beach and Miami that I hadn't anticipated. It's another reminder not to let your first impressions blind you to the deeper charms and beauties that lie within a place. 

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