Enjoy Miami On The Water

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Water Activities in Miami

Miami is a city defined by water as much as it is by land. With the barrier islands of Key Biscayne and Miami Beach serving as buffers between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, it will feel like there’s water all around you.

Miami is also home to two unique national parks whose ecosystems are largely dependent on water. Biscayne National Park features 172,000 acres, 95% of which are underwater, comprising the largest marine park in the national system. Everglades National Park encompasses 1.5 million acres of subtropical wetlands known as the “River of Grass.”

In fact, there’s no shortage of opportunities in Miami to get on the water, soak up the sun and marvel at natural beauty. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

See unique sights such as Stiltsville in Biscayne National Park.

Boating & Sailing

If seeing the water from shore simply isn’t enough, hop aboard a charter cruise or boat tour for an up-close view. For a classic tour of Miami’s dazzling downtown skyline and million-dollar homes on Star Island, book with Island Queen Cruises to enjoy a 140-passenger boat with air-conditioned cabins and outdoor viewing decks.

For a more thrilling ride, Ocean Force Adventures sets out from the Miami Beach Marina on six-passenger, high-speed Zodiacs to the historic Stiltsville homes offshore in Biscayne Bay. Or hop aboard with Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures to zoom around PortMiami, Star Island, Monument Island, Fisher Island and South Beach at speeds up to 50 mph!

If you’d rather take the helm yourself, charter a power boat or sailboat from companies like Y Charter Miami, Tropicalboat Luxury Yacht Charters & Rentals, Yolo Boat Rentals and Shake-A-Leg Miami.

Kayaking in Oleta River State Park
Go kayaking in Oleta River State Park.

Kayaking & Canoeing

Miami’s waterways are tranquil all year long, making them perfect for kayaking, canoeing and standup paddleboarding.

Everything you need to discover Key Biscayne and Virginia Key by kayak or paddleboard is available at Virginia Key Outdoor Center, including rentals. Guided outings for sunrise, sunset or full-moon kayak and paddleboard adventures are offered, along with a manatee photo safari. For water lovers with disabilities, Shake-A-Leg Miami’s kayaks and boats accommodate special needs. Eco Adventures services Matheson Hammock Park, while South Beach Kayak in Sunset Harbour is a family-owned establishment offering rentals and sunset tours.

Underwater in Biscayne National Park
Discover Miami's reefs in Biscayne National Park.

Snorkeling & Diving

Why just settle for “on” the water when you can go “under” it?

Miami’s waters are connected to the third-largest barrier reef in the world, the Florida Straits, presenting spectacular opportunities to snorkel and dive both natural and artificial reef sites just offshore. Outfitters like Tarpoon Lagoon, South Beach Divers, Grove Scuba and Diver’s Paradise offer SCUBA certification courses and arrange dive and snorkel trips.

Emerald Reef and Long Reef are both excellent natural reefs for beginning divers and snorkelers, with average depths between 15-30 feet. At Long Reef just off Elliott Key, you’ll find the Alicia shipwreck from 1905.
Neptune Memorial Reef is a manmade reef east of Key Biscayne built to resemble the Lost City of Atlantis, with an average depth of 35 feet, while The Jose Cuervo is an artificial reef accessible by shore off South Beach, roughly 150 yards southeast of the Second Street lifeguard station.

For more advanced dives to greater depths, Sheri-Lyn, DEMA Trader and Almirante are all popular wreck dives. Sheri-Lyn is a 235-foot-long steel passenger freight that was sunk as an artificial reef in June 1987; DEMA Trader is a 165-foot freighter sunk 3.5 miles off Key Biscayne in October 2003; Almirante is a 200-foot steel freighter sunk off Elliot Key in 1974.

Enjoy a day of fishing from land or sea.


From the shallow flats of Biscayne Bay to deep-sea fishing on the Atlantic (not to mention easy access to bountiful waters of the Florida Keys and Bahamas) Miami makes is a superb launch for a fishing trip, big or small. For that reason, there are plenty of expert fishing guides to choose from, including Mack’s Fish Camp, Top Gun Fishing Charters, Miss Britt Charters, Outcast Sportfishing and Bouncer's Dusky 33.

For party boat charters, where you’ll fish with a larger group at a lower cost while receiving helpful instruction, seek out Reward Fleet or the Kelley Fleet. You can also fish from land at South Pointe Park Pier, Haulover Inlet Jetty, Newport Fishing Pier in Sunny Isles Beach, Pelican Harbor Marina and Oleta River State Park.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Enjoy a quiet retreat at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

The Beaches & the Bay

And last but not least, the beach itself!

Miami is famous for miles of beautiful shoreline, so the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean are an obvious place to start when it comes to enjoying the water. You can head straight to the heart of South Beach, with its festive atmosphere along Ocean Drive and Lummus Park, or find a quiet refuge at the tip of Key Biscayne at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and Beach. There’s so much beauty to soak up, with mesmerizing aquamarine water lapping against the shoreline and bright sun shimmering through the palm trees.

From Sunny Isles Beach to Surfside and Oleta River State Park to Matheson Hammock Park, Miami has everything from luxury service at a seaside resort to rustic nature preserves. Biscayne Bay also presents striking vistas from South Beach to Downtown and Coconut Grove, where bayfront parks, museums and marinas are dotted along the coast.

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