Awesome little known facts about this sub-tropical paradise we call Miami Beach.


Miami was named for the Mayaimis, a Native American tribe who lived in the area until the late 17th century. The Mayaimis took their name from Lake Okeechobee, which was called ‘Mayaimis’ or “big water.”

Miami is home to 150+ ethnicities and 60+ languages.

Approximately 14.5 million people visited Miami in 2014. Based on occupancy rates, it's the fourth-best hotel market in the country after Oahu, San Francisco, and New York

The Port of Miami is known as the Cruise Capital of the World, serving almost five million passengers annually.

In addition to having the largest amount of Cubans living outside of Cuba, areas in Miami-Dade also have the highest concentrations of Bahamian, Haitian, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan-Americans outside their homelands. 

Miami's first recorded name was Chequescha. That's what Juan Ponce de Leon wrote down when he sailed into Biscayne Bay in 1513.

 The suburb of Sweetwater was founded by a troupe of traveling Russian circus dwarves who wanted to retire. 

Miami has the most citizens born outside the country of any city in the world. 



In the 1940s, Benjamin Green—a pharmacist who served as an airman in WWII—developed one of the world's first sunscreens. Back home, he perfected his formula, adding cocoa butter and coconut oil. His recipe eventually became Coppertone.

Miami is the only major city in the US to be founded by a woman (Julia Tuttle, dubbed the “Mother of Miami”). Tuttle convinced Standard Oil co-founder Henry Flagler to extend his railroad from central Florida to Miami, build a luxury hotel, and lay out a new town. She did so by sending him perfect Miami orange blossoms during a crop freeze north of Miami. The railroad arrived in 1896. The City of Miami was incorporated on July 28 that same year.

The first Burger King opened in Miami in 1954. Three years later, the restaurant introduced its now-iconic burger: the Whopper, which sold for a not-so-whopping 37 cents.

The Metromover is the largest and most used public people mover in the United States. (In fact, Walt Disney World's private monorail is the only larger comparable system in America.)

Speaking of Monorails, the Seaquarium Spacerail was the first hanging monorail in America when it was constructed in 1963. It was constructed solely for entertainment purposes and was demolished in 1991 once people stopped thinking that the simple act of riding in a monorail was fun.

The Miami Marlins are the only MLB team to have never lost a postseason series — which just means the only two times they made it into the playoffs, they somehow won the World Series. 

During a short period during the land boom of the 1920s, the Miami Herald was the biggest paper by ad sales in the entire world. 

More tropical vegetables are grown here than any other county in America, which, who knew? 

Miami is also the live-flower import capital of America. 

Born in 1948 at the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Co., Snooty the Manatee is believed to be the first manatee born in captivity. At 67, he's also the oldest manatee in captivity and perhaps the oldest in the world and now lives at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton

Things Miami is second at: the second-largest concentration of medical and research facilities (in the civic center), the second-largest American city with a Spanish-speaking majority, the airport with the second most international arrivals, and the second-largest performing arts center in America. 


Land and Sea:

Miami Beach was a mangrove swamp before its development started in the 1920s.

The only Everglades eco-system in the world is in Miami.

Miami was a popular place for pirates to visit and bury their treasure. Famous pirates such as Gasparilla, Blackbeard and Lafitte were regular visitors and caches of gold, silver, and treasure have been uncovered on and off land in the Miami area

Miami has more than 800 parks and is the only city in the United States that is bordered by two separate National Parks – Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park. Both parks offer a wide array of activities for visitors to partake in including wildlife watching and canoeing.

Across the Biscayne Bay from Miami proper is Miami Beach, which was incorporated in 1915. The land on which Miami Beach was founded wasn't much more than a big sandbar; deeper water channels were dug around it and soil was added to the surrounding area in order to create livable land.

Because Miami Beach is largely man-made, its beaches frequently have to be replenished with new sand (a resource some experts say is running out). A diminished shoreline means residents are more vulnerable when big storms hit the region.

Miami has more than 800 parks in total and is the only U.S. city surrounded by two national ones: Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park.

Though it's best known for its gorgeous white sand beaches, you can find one of the country's biggest (snow) skiing clubs in Miami Beach.

Miami is a diver's paradise: dubbed the “Wreckreational Diving Capital of the World," its waters boast 50 different underwater wreck sites for SCUBA enthusiasts to explore.

Miami is one of the three vertices of the Bermuda Triangle. 

The City:

Miami Beach’s Art Deco district is home to the world’s largest collection of Art Deco Architecture – 800+ buildings and counting!

In 2008, Miami was ranked #1 Cleanest City in America by Forbes Magazine.

Miami has the largest cruise ship port in the world.

In 2008, South Beach was rated #1 Beach in America by the Travel Channel.

The city's downtown has the largest concentration of international banks of anywhere in the country.

The City of Miami proper is the smallest city by area to anchor a major American metropolis. 

Though it's often said that Miami's temperature has never reached 100 degrees, the National Weather Service did uncover records that showed Miami hit the 100 mark for one day back in July 1942.

As of last count in 2014, Miami had the least amount of residential toilets per capita of any city in America.

Hollywood and the Rich and Famous:

Miami Beach was dubbed the Sun and Fun Capital by Jackie Gleason when he broadcast his show here in the 1960s. Today Miami Beach is known as America’s Riviera and the Latin Hollywood.

Miami has long been a vacation destination for the famous and infamous alike. In 1929, Al Capone bought a home on the area's Palm Island against the wishes of the isle's residents. The mayor at the time, J. Newton Lummus, leapt to Capone's defense once it was revealed that the residence the crime boss purchased had been his.

Miami has been the setting of scenes in three James Bond movies: Goldfinger, Thunderball, and Casino Royal. That's the most of any U.S. city. Indeed, Thunderball centers on a villain's nefarious plan to blow up Miami Beach. Oddly, the actor playing James Bond has never actually filmed a scene here

The idea for The Golden Girls started as a Miami Vice parody. In a 1984 TV special to promote its upcoming season and the premiere of Miami Vice, NBC asked Selma Diamond and Doris Roberts to appear in a sketch called "Miami Nice" to poke fun of Miami's reputation as a retirement destination. Executives liked the idea so much that they actually asked Susan Harris to produce a pilot script for the idea. The name was eventually changed, but the location remained in Miami. 

Don Johnson originally resisted the now-iconic fashions he wore on Miami Vice and imagined Sonny Crocket wearing more denim and cowboy boots.

The director of Scarface, Brian De Palma, refuses to reveal which substance they used as a stand-in for cocaine in the movie. 

With a worldwide gross of $516,642,939, Meet the Fockers is the most successful movie ever set primarily in Miami. 

The Godfather Part II is the only movie with scenes set in Miami to win the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture. Though the 1969 winner, Midnight Cowboy, ends right before the main character arrives in Miami.


The Vizcaya Museum calls Miami Beach home. It has an exquisite orchid collection and has artwork displays that are over 2,000 years old. More than 170,000 visitors come to the Vizcaya Museum each year.


For decades, Miami and Tampa have been locked in a fierce battle over one of south Florida's most iconic dishes: the Cuban sandwich. While it's generally accepted (by historians, anyway) that the dish was invented in the luncheonettes that served cigar workers in Tampa's Ybor City neighborhood, Miami residents have deemed Tampa Cubans "less authentic" because of the addition of mayo and salami to the pork/Swiss/pickles/mustard combo. (Another source of controversy: To press or not to press?)

The City of West Miami was established after the City of Miami decided to cut back on drinking hours and gambling. 

Posted in Travel destinations on May 29, 2015

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