Miami has long been known as a city to soak up the sun on sandy white beaches with warm water all four seasons. Here’s a guide to help you pick which one is right for you:
If you’re visiting with family there are two beaches that cater to a family friendly ambiance above others: Crandon Park on Key Biscayne and Matheson Hammock a bit south on the mainland. Matheson Hammock is more a lagoon with a killer view of the bay than a beach, but that makes it rip-current free and the entrance fee to the park gives you access to walking paths and a day of watching all kinds of boats and yachts come in and out of their marina. Crandon Park is three miles long and has 13 lifeguard towers keeping an eye out on your little ones. There’s a playground area, picnic tables, shower facilities, beach volleyball court, restrooms and shelters, but come with a few bucks in your pocket for a parking fee.
Another beautiful beach on Key Biscayne is the quiet Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, marked by a historic white lighthouse at the tip of the island. Bill Baggs is an ideal spot to watch the sunset. There are two restaurants here open for breakfast and lunch, but you can always pack your own picnic. On a day you expect the beaches to be jam packed, this isolated beach, where you can rent a four-person bike, is a great option.
World Famous South Beach
The best beach for people watching is world-famous South Beach, the historic Miami Beach of postcards and television fame. This is also a popular beach for surfers, who head out on their boards between 1st and 5th Streets. Grab something to eat at the sidewalk cafes that line the area and head over to the open water for a visit to Miami’s wildest beach.
A short walk north up Miami Beach at 12th Street and Ocean Drive you’ll find the gay beach. If that’s what you’re looking for, you may want to check out the clothing-optional beach at Haulover, another popular LGBT spot.
Further north at 79th Street and Collins Avenue, you’ll find the largest state park beach, North Shore Open Space Park, a free resource that’s just a short walk from restaurants and cafes. There are free concerts held at the historic North Beach Bandshell, and this beach has long been voted the best beach in Miami for its greenery and open spaces.
Head higher up on Collins and you’ll find the Sunny Isles Beach and Pier, built in 1936, the only traditional pier in the area for fishing and walking. It’s quieter up here and equally as picturesque.
On South Beach, you can rent a lounge chair, cabana or umbrella at many of the public beaches through Boucher Brothers, who also provide water sport rentals like kayaks and waverunners. If you’re staying at a hotel on the beachfront they almost always have services for chair rentals. Additionally, Boucher Brothers can provide ADA beach wheelchairs for handicapped beach-goers.
A few tips for the beachgoer:
- • Wear sunscreen. It gets really hot and bright here and even the most seasoned tanner might burn after a long day of sun sans SPF.
- • Don’t leave your valuables (passport, large sums of money, jewelry, etc.) in your bag if you’re planning on leaving it to go in the water.
- • When packing your beach bag don't forget to throw a couple of water bottles or a beverage in there to keep you hydrated. Sure, you're surrounded by water, but a day in the sun will leave your body thirsty and tired, so pack some fresh water to sip on while you're soaking it up to avoid dehydration and exhaustion because those are never fun.
- • Miami has dog friendly beaches, but only a few.
Enjoy sunny Miami, wear sunscreen, and explore the beaches that sound right for you -- there are certainly enough to choose from!