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Biscayne Bay’s million-dollar mansions


America’s rich and famous have been coming to Miami for years, hiding away within ostentatious palm-smothered mansions on the cays that lie between the city and Miami Beach; the only way to get a good look is to take a boat tour from Bayside Marketplace. These are unashamedly touristy, but provide fabulous views of the city, and include a narrated jaunt around some of the most exclusive areas. Guides will point out the opulent mansions of Shaquille O’Neal, Sean Combs (aka P Diddy or Puff Daddy) and Oprah Winfrey, among numerous others.

Operators include Island Queen Cruises (t 305/379-5119, w, which runs daily 1.5hr tours (10.30am–7pm, on the hour) for $26. You can also tour the same islands by kayak, though it pays to take the boat tour first so you know which celebrity backyard you’re paddling past. Try South Beach Kayak (Wed–Sat 10.30am–sunset, Sun & Mon 11am–sunset; $25/2hr, $70/day; t 305/332-2853, w, 1771 Purdy Ave, Miami Beach, near the Venetian Causeway.

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