Find Which Miami Beach is Perfect for You

By: Lauren Tjaden

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Miami is where the Atlantic Ocean merges with the Caribbean Sea, where the sands turn soft and white and the waters lap the shore in shades of light blue to nearly-clear aqua. The area offers more than a dozen beaches, all with their own vibe. Find out which one is just right for you.

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Beaches and parks are listed geographically from north to south.

Sunny Isles Beach (Collins Ave. - 157th St. to 193rd St., Sunny Isles Beach, 305/947-0606)

It's no wonder Sunny Isles is popular. It features a two-mile long beach with several access points, and its clear waters are perfect for snorkeling, diving and other water sports. You can take a stroll on the Newport Fishing Pier, or try your luck with the hungry underwater population.  

Nearby Samson Oceanfront Park hosts outdoor concerts, and younger members of your gang will love its children's play area.  

After playing in the sun, refuel at one of the many small cafes and restaurants with a tropical concoction and a snack.

Oleta River State Park  (3400 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach, 305/919-1846)

Peter Cross

Oleta River State Park is Florida's largest urban park, encompassing 1,043 acres. Nestled against the Oleta River on Biscayne Bay, this Park offers boasts a 1,200 foot sandy beach where you can swim. Explore the clear, placid waters via canoe or kayak; you can rent all the gear you need.

Peter Cross

Miles of off-road bicycle trails, from novice to challenging, will please nature lovers. You can even stay the night: the park has rustic, air-conditioned cabins and a youth campground for organized groups.

Haulover Beach (10800 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305/944-3040)

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This 1.5 mile beach is snuggled between the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean, a sprawling wonder of blue water, soft sand and picnic areas. The Park regularly hosts kite-making workshops and sells kites, which are perfect to fly in the grassy area overlooking Biscayne Bay. The tennis center, golf course and dog park ensure your whole posse will never be bored.

Haulover Beach is home to a stretch of clothing optional beach, so those who are inclined can avoid tan lines.

North Shore Open Space Park (Collins Ave. from 78th St. to 87th Terr., Miami Beach, FL 33141, 305/861-3616)

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If you’re looking for a place to unplug and relax, this Park has your flip-flops written all over it. Revel in its green spaces; explore its walking trails; or kick back on the beach—all without fighting the crowds. Your dog is allowed on leash in the park, but not on the beach.

North Miami Beach (Collins Ave. - 46th St. to 78th St., Miami Beach, 305/673-7714)

Sidewalk cafes, a community center, and the North Beach Bandshell, a popular Miami Beach music venue, define this relatively quiet Park. The beach is generous and laden with soft sand, and concessions and showers ensure your visit will be comfortable.

After you catch some rays, wander across the street to grab some refreshments.

Check out all of the possibilities for things to do in this list of 100 things to do in Miami Beach.

Bal Harbour (Collins Ave. - 96th St. to Haulover Inlet, Bal Harbour, 305/866-4633)

This laid-back stretch of sand is fringed with luxury condominiums and five-star hotels. The jogging path winds around the mile-long beach, shaded by palms. Fishermen will love the jetty at north end of beach.

You’ll find limited metered parking beneath Haulover Bridge. The tiny cafes in the nearby Town of Surfside or the elegant bistros in Bal Harbour Shops guarantee to keep you refreshed.

Miami Beach CVB

There are no lifeguards or showers.

Surfside Beach (9301 Collins Ave., Surfside, FL 33154, 305/864-0722)

This beach boasts a mile-long reach of sand unfettered by anything commercial—hotels, shops, or restaurants—all the way from 88th to 96th Street. If you love the outdoors and pristine beauty, this beach, and its walking and biking paths, is for you.


Miami Beach (Collins Ave. - 21st St. to 46th St., Miami Beach, 305/673-7714)

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The elevated boardwalk along Miami Beach's central section is ideal for strolling, jogging and skating. A little less crowded and quieter than South Beach, this beach is close to the sidewalk cafes, bars, and concession stands that define classic Miami Beach, as well as historic sites like the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel.



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South Beach (Ocean Drive & 5th Street to Collins Avenue & 21st Street, Miami Beach, 305/673-7714)

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At the southern tip of Miami Beach you’ll discover legendary South Beach: party central, beloved by models, celebrities and wanna-bes.

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Take a stroll to admire the Art Deco buildings, watch cruise ships glide out to sea, and take a selfie with the iconic multi-colored lifeguard stands.

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The cafés lining Ocean Drive will be waiting to refresh you when you’ve had enough beach time. Several public parking lots are located nearby.

South Pointe Park (1 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139, 305/673-7730)

The 360 degree ocean views at this Park are a pleasure for the eyes, but it has a lot more to brag about: foot paths, a food stand, a lovely grassy area and a miniature water park. Nearby, you’ll find a dog park and a tot lot.

When you consider South Pointe’s beauty, its art sculptures, and the romance of cruise ships heading out to sea, it’s no wonder it’s a favorite for film shoots.



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Virginia Key Beach (4020 Virginia Beach Drive, Virginia Key, FL 33149, 305/960-4600)

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The north side of this historic beach is located at 3701 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, just past the Rickenbacker Causeway across from Miami Seaquarium. A big wooden sign will declare when you’ve arrived. There's a five-dollar admission fee for cars or two dollars for pedestrians.

Rent windsurfing equipment or enjoy an ultra light seaplane ride with Brickell Avenue and the downtown Miami skyline providing a spectacular backdrop.

Hobie Beach/Windsurfer Beach (South end, north side of Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne,
305/361-2833)

Windsurfing rules at Hobie Beach, located just off of the Rickenbacker Causeway en route to Key Biscayne. The beach has been home to a locally run windsurfing rental concession for more than 20 years. You can watch the hotshots or take a lesson and try it yourself.

Hobie Beach is also Miami's favorite dog friendly beach. Your best friend will love romping on the sand, digging in it, and splashing in the shallow, calm surf.

The skyline view, concession stands and free parking only add to this Park’s allure.

Crandon Park Beach (6747 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne, FL 33149, 305/361-5421)

More than a beach, Crandon Beach offers a sprawling treasure of amenities: a Family Amusement Center, a Nature Center and even a place to rent cabanas.

Yet the beach is still the shining star of this Park. You can enjoy a game of beach volleyball. Or bring your whole family for a picnic; the Park offers on-site grills.

Nature lovers can discover a hotbed of ecosystems at Crandon, including dunes, mangroves, a coastal hammock and sea grass beds. The Nature Center showcases exotic plants, rare fish and wildlife, and Bear Cut Preserve, a natural Environment Study Area. For a deeper understanding, take a tour with a naturalist .

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park (1200 S. Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne, 305/361-5811)

Florida Park Service

Situated on the tip of Key Biscayne, this relaxing, scenic beach is heralded as one of the nation’s best by Dr. Beach, and consistently receives accolades from other noted travel publications as well.

A historic lighthouse, the oldest standing building in Miami-Dade County,  towers above the beach, and offers scheduled tours.

Florida Park Service

While it’s peaceful, it’s anything but boring: it boasts walking and bicycle trails, fishing, and two onsite restaurants, the Lighthouse Café which faces the beach, and Boaters Grill, located on a quiet lagoon.   Amenities include restrooms, picnic tables, food concessions and shower facilities.

Matheson Hammock Park (9610 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables, FL 33156, 305/665-5475)

This beautiful, palm-shaded Park is home to a marina, where you can admire the boats or take a sailing lesson. The atoll pool, a saltwater pond fed by the tidal movement of the Biscayne Bay, is perfect for kids.  If you’re looking for a quiet escape, this unique park is for you.

Homestead Bayfront Park (9698 SW 328th St., Homestead, FL 33030, 305/230-3034)
Fringed by palms, this Park is nestled beside Biscayne Bay in South Miami-Dade County, adjoining Biscayne National Park. It offers scenic views, an abundance of places to grab a bite and souvenir shops.


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