Is the cold weather getting to you? Try a GPS tour of South Beach, Miami
Cruising the palm-tree lined strip of south beach miami
Puttering around in this lemon yellow mobile, I took in the sites, from the famous Miami Beach hotels along Collins Ave. to quaint Espanola way, a strip of restaurants in historic 1920s buildings. Against a backdrop of pastel-colored Art Deco edifices, I drove around the celebrity playground of restaurants, bars, salsa clubs and Miami vices. I traveled from the Botanical Gardens to the Holocaust Museum, from the Venetian Causeway to downtown Miami.
"Go left onto 15th street," the computerized female voice commanded. I touched the scooter-like hand-breaks and slowed down to turn. "Continue straight" the voice told me. Beyond the directional duties of a typical GPS, the GoCar technology also provides restaurant recommendations and facts about local attractions (in both English and Spanish).
While crawling along Ocean Drive, the voice told me that “The Carlyle Hotel can be seen in many famous films, including: Miami Vice, the Bird Cage, Bad Boys 2.” Well thank you, GPS car.
GoCar Tours, offered across San Diego, San Francisco, Lisbon and Miami, boasts the world’s first computer guided tour. Unlike sightseeing bus tours, the GoCar franchise aims to empower tourists with the freedom and flexibility to come and go as they please, (stopping to shop, sightsee or indulge in a little gelato) all the while, learning about the destination. They call it “the cure for the common tour.”
Glimmering Lambos and Porsches revved their way along the Drive, but, surprisingly, it was my 50 cc, rented GoCar that sparked the most attention. Tourists snapped photos and pointed as I drove past. Entertaining for some… mortifying for me. In a city of high-end luxury and flashy displays of wealth, my wheels weren’t doing much in the way of showcasing my social status.
From the Art Deco district, I followed directions to Lincoln Road, a main hub with some seven blocks of pedestrian friendly shops, sidewalk cafes and art galleries. This is prime people watching territory, so I parked the car to gawk at the beautiful people. Before I hopped out, the GoCar suggested I check out Icebox Cafe, for a cake Oprah called the “best in America.”
Who needs Hasslehoff’s artificially intelligent supercar when you can fight crime (I mean…explore Miami) by GoCar.
A few tips: The car’s hard plastic seats aren’t the most comfortable, especially on such bumpy city roads, so be sure to bring your own cushion. There’s also room for your own MP3 player/iPod to crank your tunes if you get sick of listening to GPS directions. For more info visit: www.gocartours.com
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