A monthly column from Martin Crossland

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Records of the month:
Miami-Dade County ranks No. 1 in the nation for hotel room occupancy during the first four months of 2008
at 80.5%, up +1.6% over the same time frame in 2007. Also, the Average Daily Room Rate (ADR) of US$196.61 ranked Greater Miami and the Beaches #2 among the Top 25 Hotel Markets in the U.S. as reported by Smith Travel Research. Top of the heap pricewise is New York at an average of US$ 250.19 a night.

Key Biscayne's Cape Florida (Bill Baggs) State Park is listed among North America's top ten beaches. Coastal expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman, known as “Dr. Beach,” has just released his Top 10 U.S. Beaches list for 2008. The list includes Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne, known for its historic 1825 lighthouse, ranked ninth on Leatherman’s highly anticipated list. Leatherman, who is the director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, has made a Memorial Day Weekend tradition of unveiling his list of America’s finest strands of sand and surf. In addition to Bill Baggs State Park, Miami Beach boasts many excellent beaches, parks and green spaces along its 84 miles of coastline.

South Beach, Miami, makes Trip Advisor's top ten attractions list.
“South Beach, Miami” has been listed among the nation’s Top 10 Most Popular Attractions that TripAdvisor® members are planning to visit this month. South Beach comes in at #7. That darn mouse Mickey came in before us as usual! TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel community, attracts nearly 25 million monthly visitors.

Not such a good record: It's a distinction of sorts for Miami International Airport. In the latest monthly tally, MIA has the flight with the worst on-time performance in the nation. An American Airlines flight from Miami recorded the worst on-time performance of any flight in the nation in April, according to government data released Wednesday. The 8:05 p.m. flight to San Juan was more than 15 minutes late 96.7 percent of the time, according to the report.

Weekend Cruises from Miami
If you have the time, a great option during your stay is a weekend cruise from Miami. Three-night cruises leave Friday afternoon, returning early Monday, and usually sail to the Bahamas or a private island. Four-night cruises leave Monday afternoon, returning early Friday, and usually sail to Mexico and Key West. Most weekend cruises can be purchased for about $100 per person per day; sometimes even cheaper deals are available.
Carnival Cruise Lines, three- and four-night weekend cruises from Miami. Some five-night sailings leave Saturday and return Wednesday.

Royal Caribbean, four-night weekend cruises from Fort Lauderdale and three- and- four-night cruises from Miami. Some five-night sailings leave Saturday and return Wednesday.

Norwegian Cruise Line's three- and four-night cruises from Miami begin July 14.

Discovery Cruise Line offers daily roundtrip cruises from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport, Bahamas, that can be combined with hotel stays on the island.

Imperial Majesty Cruise Line, two-night cruises from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau, with alternating Friday and Saturday departures.

Information thanks to Jane Wooldridge at the Miami Herald Travel Section.

Miami Beach July 4th. Celebration to take place at 8th. Street and Ocean Drive. with music, fireworks and fun for all.
Celebrate America’s birthday in the heart of sizzling South Beach. The City of Miami Beach proudly presents its annual Fourth of July patriotic celebration of music and fireworks, with music by DJ Irie. The event is free and open to the public. Everyone is encouraged to arrive early, bring beach chairs and towels. No coolers or bottles will be permitted on the beach. The celebration takes place July 4, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. at 8th Street and Ocean Drive on Miami Beach.

Through 6/22/08 Summer Shorts Festival 2008

Through 6/29/08 Mainly Mozart Festival 2008

6/1/08 – 9/1/08 Shakespeare & Friends Festival

6/2/08 – 6/9/08 Coral Gables Restaurant Week

6/7/08 Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival 2008

6/10/08 – 6/12/08 Florida Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies

6/11/08 – 6/21/08 Florida Dance Festival

6/12/08 – 6/22/08 Shorts 4 Kids: A Festival of Fun for Kids of all Ages

6/13/08 – 6/16/08 South Florida Boat Show

6/21/08 – 6/22/08 Redland Summer Fruit Festival

6/28/08 – 11/2/08 Excavating Egypt: Great Discoveries from the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology



Watch out for the new layout with the July edition at the end of June.