Okay, I'm talking about off-season travel bargains in Miami. But apply this logic to other areas of the country. Try Disney in the winter; go to a ski resort in the summer. You'd be surprised about the discounts offered by seasonal resorts seeking to lure in year-round traffic.
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My first summer in Miami was a shock. After a flight from Manhattan, we arrived at Miami International Airport on an August evening about 10 years ago. Holding suitcases and a toddler, we stepped into a blast of hot, humid air. Within minutes of arrival, I was ready to return to the Northeast region of the country, where the summer nights are relatively cool.
But we've stuck it out and I'm glad.
There's nothing like summer in South Florida, especially with the palm trees, the ocean and the wide range of affordable activities during the seasonal meltdown. Many businesses, restaurants and attractions offer summer perks and discounts to increase traffic during the off-season.
For example, during a recent stroll down the 41st Street shopping district in Miami Beach, I spotted a summer dinner sale at Dougie's Bar-B-Que & Grill. On Wednesday nights, children 12 and younger eat free with an adult who orders a minimum of $15.95. Tuesday nights, the restaurant, a popular kosher deli franchise, markets an all-you-can eat buffet.
Other local restaurants will offer dining discounts during the month of August as part of the Campo Viejo Wines Presents Miami Spice. For more details, check out: www.miamirestaurantmonth.com.
BOWLING ALLEYS & OTHER FUN
Meanwhile, hot-ticket discounts include reduced rates or special programs at hotels, parks and bowling alleys. To boost summer revenue, bowling alleys, such as Strike Miami at the Dolphin Mall, are also promoting warm-weather specials. As part of a ''Summer Cool Down,'' Strike Miami is offering group discounts of 30 percent off during the day and 20 percent off at night. Groups must book through the event office; 305-594-0200, ext. 406. For all customers, a Monday night special, beginning at 9 p.m., features shoe rentals and unlimited bowling for $14.95, according to Strike Miami's Amy Arcara.
Likewise, during July, the Miami Metrozoo will hold a buy-one-get-one free ticket sale, according to Cindy Castelblanco, the Zoological Society of Florida's public relations manager.
Luxury spas and resorts also have summer deals. Those promotions include free mojitas and a $65 rate (down from $102) for a mini-massage at the Shore Club on South Beach, and 20 percent discounts for locals at The Setai (Miami Beach) and the Harbor Beach Marriott (Fort Lauderdale).
And as weather heats up, area motels and hotels are always likely to offer deals. And remember, not all specials are advertised or promoted. Therefore, it pays to ask for summer or regional discounts.