Planning a seaside escape in South Florida? Don’t pass up lazing on the best beaches in Miami! With its beautiful stretches of sand along the Atlantic Ocean mixed with its Art Deco buildings, the Magic City is a fantastic coastal getaway at any time of the year. Whether you want to spend your days enjoying watersports on the turquoise waters or sipping cocktails by the shore, experience the perfect seaside vacation with this complete Miami beaches guide!
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When your mind thinks of Miami, images of the hot Florida sun beaming down on South Beach are among the first thoughts to pop up. Here, the blue Atlantic finally reaches land, crashing down on the delightful white sand that floats beneath your toes.
Not just a place of relaxation, South Beach is home to some of the top-rated things to do in Miami. Here, the party atmosphere just steps away on Ocean Drive spills onto the sand itself, lending an aura of revelry to the area.
Behind is a strand of roller-skaters winding by, backed by swaying palms, 23rd Street, Art Deco buildings, and luxury hotels. Throughout the day, the local restaurants transition from brunch perfection to hip-swinging dance clubs.
Heading north, Mid-Beach is a great alternative in Miami Beach for those that like a more chill vibe. The popular beach features the happening Collins Waterfront and the raised boardwalk running the length of Collins Avenue from 23rd Street to 46th Street.
While the vibe here is more relaxed, that doesn’t mean those who frequent Mid-Beach don’t know how to have fun. Beyond the beautiful sands and refreshing waters, essentially the same as South Beach’s, are an array of upscale beach clubs featuring a trendy lounge atmosphere from morning until the early hours.
The laid-back atmosphere around Mid-Beach suits those that prefer to kick back on their Miami Beach vacation. While for a little action away from the soft sands, you can find plenty of clubs along the picturesque boardwalk. You’ll also find a slew of great places to stay at lower prices than you’ll find further south.
Haulover Beach Park
A prime stretch of sand for those who’ve brought along their furry friends, Haulover Beach Park is as dog-friendly as it is easy on the eyes. The scenic beach is backed by a series of rolling dunes. Combined with the calm turquoise waters and never-ending Florida sun, Haulover Beach is also the most popular nude beach in Miami.
When the swell picks up, the shoreline also becomes popular with local surfers who depart the white sand in search of their next perfect ride. For those who choose to stay on land, Haulover Beach comes with ample picnic tables along with umbrellas and beach chair rentals. Behind is a lush park home to hiking trails and the much-loved Bark Park, a playground for dogs.
Sunny Isles Beach
On the barrier island between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Sunny Isles Beach lives up to its promising name. Featuring a stretch of sand covering two miles, the clean beach is often devoid of large crowds of rowdy beach bums.
With lifeguards on deck, sunbathe without a care in the world before jumping into the gorgeous turquoise water. Besides swimming and tucking into your next novel, kitesurfing and standup paddleboarding are popular activities here.
Behind Sunny Isles Beach is a row of high-rise buildings for the perfect beachfront vacation. Beneath them are highly-rated restaurants, quality souvenir shops, and even some popular museums.
As you walk towards the shoreline, you’ll pass through Samson Oceanfront Park. It’s a top spot for a shady picnic, enjoy free morning yoga sessions every Wednesday.
Lummus Park Beach
In the iconic Art Deco District, Lummus Park Beach is one of the best beaches in Miami. A popular spot to enjoy the emerald ocean and soft white sand, Lummus Park comes with picturesque views from wherever you choose to lie down your towel.
Lummus Park is located within the South Beach neighborhood, wedged between Ocean Drive and the Atlantic from 5th Street to 15th Street. It offers many similarities to the area’s namesake stretch of sand.
Beneath the palm trees swaying under the spotless sky, one of the best things to do in South Beach is to enjoy some of the best people-watching in town. The open park gyms are always crowded, featuring startling acrobatics while rollerbladers zoom by along the beachside path.
Along Ocean Drive, enjoy eclectic bars and tropical cocktails to round out your Miami itinerary before returning to the soft sand shores for some volleyball or to get your tan to local standards.
Crandon Park Beach
Along the stunning Key Biscayne, Crandon Park Beach offers visitors electric blue and shallow waters perfect for families with young ones in tow. Even more impressive is the sprawling 800 acres Crandon Beach calls home, allowing you to spread out in search of your own slice of paradise.
Enjoy a heavenly dip before settling in for a game of beach volleyball. When lunch rolls around, head to Crandon Park’s BBQs for a family feast with a view. Once you’ve had your fix of sand and ocean, explore the meandering boardwalk, or visit the on-site nature center alongside the family amusement center, with a carousel and horse riding.
North Beach Oceanside Park
Featuring the same soft sand and turquoise waters as its famous siblings in the South Beach area, North Shore Beach Park comes with plenty of space to relax with a more peaceful atmosphere. Along Collins Avenue between 78th Street and 87th Street, enjoy beachfront amenities from restaurants to bars serving cocktails to match the beautiful sunset.
Behind the stretch of sand, you’ll find North Beach Oceanside Park, with almost 30 acres of green space to discover. Grab a book or your favorite yard games and head beneath the soaring trees.
Also known as North Shore Open Space Park, the seaside park features restrooms, showers, and even the odd food truck placed throughout. After a beach BBQ lunch, roam the scenic boardwalk before the blue ocean draws you back in.
One of the best Miami beaches for watersports, Hobie Beach, is the perfect spot to enjoy both a swim and an action-packed day. Commonly known as Windsurfer Beach for its consistent winds and perfect conditions, you’ll also enjoy prime sailing opportunities.
Hobie Cats, a type of small recreational catamaran, can be rented from along the shoreline. With room for a decent group, a cruise around the bay will let you see why Hobie Beach is a popular spot for families.
Another reason families love to come to Hobie Beach is for the shallow water. Although not as clear and turquoise as the other famous beaches, the calm water is great for those with young kids.
Oleta River State Park
An urban oasis, seemingly far removed from the euphoria of Miami, Oleta River State Park is the place to go to step back and enjoy tranquility. Complementing the peaceful stretch of sand is over a thousand acres of nature, making it South Florida’s largest urban park.
You could spend all day at Oleta River State Park by the inviting water, trading the beach chair for some relaxing wading. But the real fun lies just beyond the shores.
When you’ve got the itch to roam, hit up the 15 miles of bike trails, or strap on your boots and hike through the mangrove preserve. For those who love to cast a reel, head to the pier for some quality fishing.
Matheson Hammock Park
Surrounding a man-made atoll pool Matheson Hammock Park is one of the most unique beach experiences in town. A coral reef covers one section of the pool, allowing the water to flow with the tide in and out from Biscayne Bay. The rest of the circular pool is enveloped by sugar sand and rising palm trees.
Rather than contending with the swell, enjoy a relaxing experience more in line with a spa. Float along the surface, basking in the warmth of Matheson Hammock Park Beach.
Such peaceful waters also bring families who are attracted by the safe swimming area. But those that come to Matheson Hammock Park Beach will also find plenty of amenities, from the walking trail to picnic spots with lifeguards stationed all around.
South Pointe Park
Offering a little bit of everything, South Pointe Park features everything you love about beaches in Miami. With the patented white sands of South Florida on full display, bask in the serenity with the constant temptation to dive into the crystal-clear Atlantic Ocean.
At the southern end of Miami Beach, the sands eventually reach the Malloy Channel, forming a sharp triangle. From there, you’ll discover the other part that makes South Pointe Beach so great. Walk along South Pointe Park Pier for 360-degree ocean views, including views of Fisher Island and Biscayne Bay.
Behind the fishing pier and sandy beach is a 17-acre park, complete with maintained walking trails through beautiful gardens. It’s the perfect place to revel in the evening sunset.
Bal Harbour Beach
South of Sunny Isles Beach and among the Miami elite is the enchanting Bal Harbour Beach. Backed by luxury high-rises and the upscale Bar Harbour Village, the public beach feels exclusive.
As you set up shop along the soft sandy shores, you’ll feel as if the Hamptons have moved south for the summer. Along the rolling dunes, you’ll spot ample waterfront pampering, with guests wearing the latest and greatest.
If you’re up for a stroll, enjoy the well-tended walking paths that meander through the lush greenery behind the beach. Continue on until the shoreline curves towards the Haulover Channel, where anglers set up for the day.
If you want to go where the locals go, head to the uptown beach town of Surfside Beach. Without the reveling crowd found further south along the coastline, enjoy a regular day with fellow Miamians.
As you venture to Surfside, stretching from 88th Street to 96th Street, the beautiful sands and views follow you. But one aspect of the beach that stands out is the pristine walking path that splits the lush greenery just behind the white sand.
Enjoy exquisite walks along the shoreline with ocean views and plenty of exit points to see the best of the walkable town just across the road.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
After crossing the bridge to Key Biscayne, you’ll find a rustic beach soaked in natural beauty. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is one of the biggest beaches on this list, with a bevy of nature trails showing off the stunning local environment.
If you’re looking to balance your time in South Beach, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park will be just the tonic. Lounge by the sand with the lush park hovering immediately behind you.
From your spot, you’ll be able to see the Cape Florida Lighthouse. You can tour the historic lighthouse, built in the 1820s. For lunch, enjoy the panoramic views at the Lighthouse Cafe.
85th Street Beach
Along Collins Avenue, 85th Street Beach is one of the quietest sections along Miami’s famous shoreline. One of the best spots for swimming in town, 85th Street Beach features no looming high-rises and hotels, providing the perfect escape without having to leave town.
Without the big crowds, claim a wide patch of sand and settle in for the day. Be sure to bring a large cooler and all the treats you want to truly embrace the peace.
85 Street Beach has few amenities aside from the bathrooms, but you’ll be happy to know lifeguards are on patrol during the summer season.
Homestead Bayfront Park
Bypass the party scene in Miami for something low-key by heading down to Homestead Bayfront Park and Marina. Just north of the Florida Keys, Homestead is a great place for travelers wishing to do their own thing.
Want to spend a day on the water on a kayak or windsurfing? Or do you prefer to settle under the shady trees with a cold beverage and watch the sun rise and fall? Have your choice of both and much more, with the opportunity to also zoom across to Elliott Key for some camping under the stars.
Fort Lauderdale Beach
With an exciting promenade that runs alongside the sprawling snow-white shores, Fort Lauderdale Beach is the perfect alternative to the fun at Lummus Park and South Beach. Starting with a slow beat and rising to an intense crescendo every day at Fort Lauderdale Beach is as fun as the last.
The chic destination is primed for people-watching and trading time between the sand, sea, and bars. Bask under the sun before floating off the coast. Hit up the beach volleyball or basketball courts for some friendly competition before celebrating (or commiserating) in the slew of beachfront bars.
Historic Virginia Key Beach Park
Searching for a little more serenity? Pack up the gang for fun in the sun at Historic Virginia Key Beach Park. With a mile-long stretch of sand draping over Biscayne Bay, the park is one of Miami’s most scenic seaside getaways.
After dipping your toes in the water at Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, grab the kids for a ride on the miniature train. They’ll also love riding the park’s antique carousel, delighting in the stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean.
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For a more adrenaline-packed visit, tackle the park’s popular biking trails. Ranging between novice and advanced, the trails offer thrills for everyone in the family, no matter the skill level. Or, if you’re less keen on staying on land, rent a kayak to paddle through one of Florida’s largest mangrove wetlands.