Here's how we budgeted $999 for our family weekend in Miami and still managed to have $150.70 (yep, that's right) left over.

LODGING: $223.74
The Essex House Hotel & Suites
, (800) 553-7739 or (305) 534-2700,
Rooms from $89 (June to September), $125 (October to December), $159 (January to March).

DINING: $259.24
Big Pink
, (305) 532-4700,
Ample service and selections, from a bucket of fries ($4.25) to baked meatball hero ($9.25).

David's Cafe II, (305) 672-8707,
Cuban sandwiches and coffee to chicken fingers, from $5.50.

11th Street Diner, (305) 534-6373.
Chocolate shakes to Greek omelets and sandwiches from $4.95.

Joe's Stone Crab Take-Away, (305) 673-4611,
Fresh seafood and key lime pie from $4.25.

News Cafe, (305) 538-6397,
Fantastic yogurt, fruits, nuts, and specialty omelets, from $4.50.

Shorty's BAR-B-Q, (305) 670-7732,
Sandwiches from $4.99; killer coleslaw, $1.19. Coupons available on website.

We're tempted to linger, but a downtown museum that we're curious about opens its doors for free on Sundays.

The nine-year-old Miami Art Museum (MAM) and the adjacent Historical Museum of Southern Florida are part of downtown Miami's startling rebirth. Thanks to a massive five-year initiative aimed at redeveloping Miami's core, it has evolved in the past few years from an urban wasteland into a blossoming family excursion spot (as well as a thriving nightlife alternative to South Beach).

D'Vine Lounge,  (305) 534-1414,
$3/hour to hook up on your own computer; $5/hour to use theirs. Free with some food or drink purchases.

Lincoln Road Antiques & Collectibles Market.
Between Lenox and Washington avenues, $35.50 for goods.

Lowe Art Museum, (305) 284-3535,
Adults $5, students and seniors $3.

Miami Art Museum, (305) 375-3000,­
Free admission on Sunday, and the second Saturday of every month is free for families.

Miami Beach Bicycle Center, (305) 674-0150,
$8/hour or $20/day.

Parrot Jungle Island, (305) 258-6453,
$24.95 for adults, $22.95 for students and members of the military, and $19.95 for children three to 10. $6 for parking.

Venetian Pool, (305) 460-5356. Adults $9, children three to 12, $5.

The Wolfsonian Florida International University, (305) 531-1001,
Free admission from six to nine p.m. Fridays.

 Rental Car, (800) 654-3131,
Weekend rental rate, gasoline purchased.

Local phone charges:
Parking: $33 (two days in a garage and three hours on the meter)
Tips for hotel personnel: $12