By: Shayne Benowitz
Sunny Isles Beach is considered Florida’s Riviera for good reason. With towering, opulent condominium resorts lining two miles of pristine, white sandy beaches, it’s easy to feel you’re living la bonne vie during your stay here. Whether it’s lounging poolside in a luxurious oceanfront cabana or sinking your toes in the sand, Sunny Isles Beach offers clean, un-crowded and relaxing beaches perfect for a family vacation or a romantic getaway.
Incorporated in 1997 as “The City of Sun and Sea,” the Atlantic Ocean laps against its eastern shores and the Intracoastal Waterway borders the western coast, marked with a series of residential finger islands lining the city’s southern perimeter. The Visitor’s Center is centrally located at 178th Street, along with the public library and the Pelican Community Park. Be sure to stop by to get an overview of the city, as well as insider advice from the friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Unless you’re staying in an oceanfront resort access to the beach may, at first, appear tricky. Collins Avenue/A1A runs parallel to the beach and parking is not immediately obvious, plus much of the street parking in Sunny Isles is reserved for residents. But there is a municipal parking lot behind the Walgreen’s at 174th St. that’s ideal for a day at the beach. Stock up on any beach supplies that you forgot—sunscreen, bottled water, towels, paddle ball, floats—and then head across the street. Another convenient municipal parking lot is located at Heritage Park at 193rd St. Cross Collins Avenue and there are beach access pathways every few blocks that lead you to endless aquamarine waters.
Newport Fishing Pier
Take a stroll on the newly rebuilt Newport Fishing Pier, which is located at Sunny Isles Boulevard and Collins Avenue. The pier is accessible through Pier Park at 16501 Collins Avenue where parking for a fee is available.
Newport Fishing Pier, a historic site that was originally built in 1982, has long been a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts and sightseers. The original pier was destroyed by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. The new pier is 776 feet, 610 of that over the water, and containing 11,593 square feet of usable space. The pier features a lifeguard observation area and will contain a restaurant and a fishing-concession shop.
It is the only public fishing pier in Miami-Dade County and the only designated area for fishing in Sunny Isles Beach. Fishing is not allowed on the beaches, or in the Intra coastal Waterway from land.
If you parked at 174th Street, enter the beach through Samson Oceanfront Park. There’s a lovely greenway with a sculpture of a family surrounded by a bed of flowers marking the entrance. The beautifully landscaped park often hosts concerts and family activities throughout the year. It has a playground for the little ones and a shaded picnic area, as well as public restrooms and vending refreshments. Once you get to the beach, the park is conveniently located by a lifeguard stand, so you don’t have to walk far to claim your plot of sand within safe range of the lifeguard. Better still, there’s a volleyball net nearby for an impromptu game of bump, set, spike! Just remember to bring your own volleyball.
The Resort Experience
A short walk up the beach from here will lead you to some of the most lavish resorts on Sunny Isles Beach, including the Doubletree Ocean Point Resort & Spa, Pinnacle, Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach and the Trump International Beach Resort. Seeing these high rises with your own eyes is reason enough to choose Sunny Isles Beach for your beach vacation.
Take Acqualina, for instance, which stands out with its Mediterranean Revival style. Forbes Travel Guide granted both the resort and its spa with the prestigious Five Star distinction. The beachfront pool patio spills onto a grassy lawn before the sand with palatial grandeur. There are cushy red couches, cabanas, hammocks and lounges just beckoning you to relax. Whether you’re a guest or not, you can still enjoy a beachfront lunch or cocktail at Costa Grill, so pull up one of those red cushioned chairs, grab some shade underneath an umbrella and indulge. Feel a hankering for ice cream? Walk across the pool deck into the lobby to Piazzetta Marketplace’s gelato stand and pick your favorite fresh flavors.
A few yards farther north, you’ll come across the Trump International Beach Resort and its swanky oceanfront restaurant Bella Beach. As you approach, you may notice shaded lounge chairs floating in the calm waters with people lounging on them or a Hobie catamaran beached on the sand waiting for someone to take her offshore. If you’re looking for more from your beach day than napping in the sand or reading a book, this is your spot. Here, you can rent jet skis, kayaks and snorkel gear to enjoy the pleasures of the ocean all the more.
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