South Beach and 6 other wonderful beaches to visit in Miami
Alex Korolkovas, Todd Eberle, cc_Jeffrey Montes, Divulgação, Shutterstock
Though best known for its shopping options and, more recently, its contemporary art scene, Miami displays its greatest treasures at beaches that boast touches of the Caribbean
The Ocean Drive promenade is the summation of sunny Miami with hardbodies and endless drinks. Lined with Art Deco buildings and photogenic lifeguard stations, the stretch of sand at Lummus Park is the best place to see and be seen. There's plenty of activity on the beach all day – from Yoga on 3rd Street, which is free to the public, to volleyball games played at the various nets scattered across the sand. After, join one of the famous pool parties at the Surfcomber Hotel, just steps from the beach. Farther south, Nikki Beach has a lounge with sofas and outdoor cabanas – on the way there, stroll through beautiful South Pointe Park, where you can take a seat on the low wall and admire the ocean. Keeping with the beach-bum vibe, Joe’s Stone Crab, one of the most beloved restaurants in town, serves irresistible crabs with “secret” sauce.
Officially located in between 23rd and 63rd streets, this area has been experiencing a boom in mega hotels, which now dominate the landscape, since 2008. The good news is that you don't necessarily need to stay overnight to enjoy them: you can purchase a daily pool pass at the luxurious Fontainebleau, enjoy treatments at the spa at 1 Hotel, see an exhibition at the brand-new Faena Forum and wrap things up with a drink at the bar Tropicale at the Miami Beach Edition. Families bask in the peaceful atmosphere and enjoy the large playground on 53rd Street.
North Beach and Surfside
Exit the realm of excitement and dive into the laid-back atmosphere that resembles that of a small seaside town. Locals frequent such hangouts as the Sandbar Lounge, an unassuming bar with colorful tables and a sandy floor, and the Atlantic Way, a delightful path for walking or riding bikes. Preceded by a park, the beach at 85th Street has soft sand and is one of the few in the city where you can relax with no buildings behind you. In March, the Surfside region is receiving a big-name new addition: the luxurious Four Seasons at The Surf Club, which will have pools open for day use.
Bal Harbour Beach
They say that there are more millionaires in Bal Harbour than anywhere else in the U.S., but you don't have to be one of them to enjoy the beach, which has plenty of tiny shells, a lane that's great for jogging and lots of shade from the trees. Heading north across the bridge, you'll come to Haulover Park, home to semi-deserted stretches of beach (some areas are designated for nudists) and the best swells for surfing in Miami. The park in front hosts a festival of food trucks every Tuesday.
This island south of Miami Beach has scenic views of the city skyline, starting on the Rickenbacker Causeway, the roadway suspended over the water which leads to it. The best beach is inside Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, a natural reservation home to a lighthouse that dates from 1825. Amidst the abundant flora, there are various trails and colorful fish that are visible in the crystal-clear water – in the summer, you can also spot sea turtles, known to nest there. Pack a sandwich and make use of the picnic tables or grab a seat at the Lighthouse Café, right by the beach.
Matheson Hammock Park Beach
A special little place that's lesser known: it's a park scattered with palm trees and home to an artificial circular atoll (a kind of pool), supplied by the saltwater of Biscayne Bay and replenished with the movement of the tides. It's popular among families with young kids thanks to the peaceful waters and surrounding sands where they can play. People also go there for stand-up paddling and kitesurfing. Try the excellent seafood at the Red Fish Grill before watching the sun go down at one of the most stunning sunset spots in Miami.
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