Miami’s rise as a premier beach destination traces back to the early 20th century when railroads first connected the area to the North. As hotels and resorts began popping up along the coastline to accommodate an influx of winter travelers, Miami quickly transformed from a sleepy Southern town to a sunny vacation paradise. Today, with year-round summer weather averaging 77°F and nearly 250 sunny days, Miami continues to lure beach lovers from all over the world seeking sun, surf, and nonstop fun.
Let's kick things off with the crown jewel of Miami's coastline—South Beach. Situated at the southern tip of Miami Beach, South Beach is the place to see and be seen, with its art deco architecture, glamorous atmosphere, and lively social scene.
By day, families will love the wide sandy beach and gentle surf, perfect for building sandcastles and swimming. As the day progresses, volleyball nets appear for friendly competition and DJs start spinning beachside beats. When sunset rolls around, SoBe takes on a lively energy, with restaurants and bars staying open late into the wee hours. At 1.5 miles long, it’s easy to find your own spot on this iconic beachfront. Early mornings are best for quiet relaxation before crowds arrive by noon. The lively atmosphere picks up later in the day.
South Beach offers easy access for cruisers, with ample moorings available. On shore, metered parking starts at $4 per hour, and the beach is easily accessible by the South Beach Local bus line. With convenient amenities and a vibrant culture, South Beach satisfies beachgoers of every variety.
Just north of South Beach, Sunny Isles Beach offers a more relaxed vibe in a peaceful bayside setting. Families will love the calm waters, perfect for trying out water sports like kayaking, parasailing or stand-up paddleboarding. For boaters, Sunny Isles is conveniently located between Haulover Cut and the Intracoastal Waterway, offering easy ocean access.
Sunny Isles is also a foodie destination, with a variety of restaurants serving up fresh seafood and international cuisine just steps from the beach. Metered parking is available for $3 per hour or less. For ultimate relaxation, luxurious beach cabanas complete with food and beverage service can also be rented by the day.
Boasting over two miles of coastline, Crandon Park Beach on Key Biscayne is a pristine paradise. With gentle surf, shallow sloping sands and plenty of parking, it's an ideal family beach getaway. Adventurous types can rent kayaks or paddleboards and explore the mangrove forests along Bear Cut or check out the offshore reefs.
The beach also offers cabanas, a splash playground, gardens and walking trails showcasing tropical vegetation. On weekends, Crandon Park Beach comes alive with concerts, cultural festivals and food vendors to enjoy. With protected green spaces and family amenities, Crandon Park Beach is a nature lover's oasis.
Cabanas and chair rentals are available, along with a splash park for kids. Parking for over 3,000 vehicles is offered.
Off the beaten path, North Beach Oceanside Park offers a serene, natural escape with ample amenities. Shaded picnic tables dot the beach, along with barbeque grills, a playground, and designated dog play area. Gentle surf with an offshore sandbar makes it family-friendly for swimming and wading.
Abundant parking, outdoor showers, and on-duty lifeguards add convenience. For an uncrowded beach experience away from tourist traffic, North Beach Oceanside Park fits the bill.
For those seeking a world-class marina alongside beach access, Haulover Beach Park is a top choice. The renowned marina accommodates vessels up to 60 feet in length and offers watersports rentals including kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and snorkel gear.
On land, Haulover features the largest public nudist beach in the U.S., plus spacious parking, a restaurant, kite-flying areas and a 9-hole golf course adjacent to the sand. Leashed dogs are welcome, and lifeguards keep watch over designated swimming areas. For versatility across land and sea, Haulover Beach Park checks all the boxes.
Parking is available with a $5-$7 fee and showers are available right on the beach.
So, you've found your perfect stretch of sand and are ready to kick back with a good book. That's great, but let's not forget that Miami is a playground for water sports enthusiasts too! Whether you're a seasoned pro or a complete newbie, there's something for everyone here.
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a fantastic way to explore Miami's calm bays and inlets. It's also a great workout! South Beach and Crandon Park Beach are popular spots to rent a board and get paddling. If you're new to the sport, many places offer beginner lessons to get you up and paddling in no time.
Feel the wind in your hair and the adrenaline in your veins as you catch some air kite surfing. This exhilarating sport combines elements of windsurfing, surfing, and paragliding into one high-octane activity. Sunny Isles Beach and Crandon Park Beach are among the top spots to kite surf, with rental shops and instructors readily available for those looking to learn.
If you prefer a more laid-back water activity, kayaking is a wonderful way to explore Miami's natural beauty. North Beach Oceanside Park and Haulover Beach Park offer kayak rentals, and their calm waters are perfect for a leisurely paddle. You can explore mangrove tunnels, observe local wildlife, or even join a guided eco-tour for a more educational experience.
Sailing captivates boaters with its combination of relaxation and technical skill. Cutting through turquoise waters powered only by wind offers a sense of tranquility. Miami's Biscayne Bay provides ideal conditions for smooth sailing, along with the Atlantic Ocean once you have experience. Marinas like Miami Beach Marina and Shake-A-Leg Miami offer charters and lessons for all levels. Feel the thrill of harnessing Mother Nature's breath firsthand with an introductory sailing trip.
Beneath the surface, Miami's waters come alive with tropical fish and coral reefs. Snorkeling allows you to glimpse this underwater world with minimal gear, while scuba diving provides an immersive experience. Key Biscayne is a top spot, where you may catch sight of sea turtles, stingrays and parrot fish. Scuba outfitters like South Beach Divers and Blue Moon Outdoor Center lead dive trips for all skill levels.
The party never stops on Miami's shores, with year-round events celebrating culture, music, food and more. From star-studded concerts to local craft fairs, you'll find endless ways to experience Miami's vibrant beachside atmosphere.
In March, Miami's Cuban heritage gets a spotlight at the nation's largest Latin street festival on Calle Ocho in Little Havana. Sway to the rhythms of salsa bands while enjoying mojitos, Cuban cuisine and carnival rides.
Each March, electronic music fans flock to Miami for this three-day extravaganza on South Beach. Past performers have included Tiesto, David Guetta, The Chainsmokers and other top DJs. With pyrotechnics, laser light shows and wild crowds, Ultra offers a feast for the senses.
Coinciding with Ultra, Miami Music Week brings a slew of other concerts and dance parties across over 100 venues. Beachside open airs, nightclubs and pools host world-class DJs spinning EDM, house, trance and more.
Miami's Mexican community vibrantly celebrates Cinco de Mayo with events spanning over two weeks. Festivities center around Domino Park in Little Havana with music, folkloric dancers, tequila tastings and Mexican bites.
This exciting three-day event comes to Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key each May. Cheer on 100+ teams racing 41-foot dragon boats with 20 paddlers each. Onshore enjoy Asian cuisine and cultural performances.
For two months, over 200 Miami restaurants offer prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus at reduced prices. With a huge range of participating eateries, it's the perfect chance to sample Miami's eclectic dining scene.
Each December, Miami's hottest cultural event arrives, bringing an influx of artists, collectors, celebrities and art enthusiasts for a week of cutting-edge exhibitions and events. With openings, installations and parties held beachside, it perfectly intermingles art and sand.
As one of the world's best places to ring in the new year, Miami explodes with glittering fireworks, live music and champagne toasts across its beaches. South Beach and Bayfront Park host major public festivities.
If you've never danced on the beach under a full moon, you're missing out on a quintessential Miami experience. These parties are especially popular at South Beach, where the moon's reflection on the ocean creates a magical atmosphere. Expect fire dancers, drum circles, and a whole lot of dancing.
It wouldn't be a Miami beach getaway without sampling the city's chef-driven cuisine and thirst-quenching cocktails. Luckily, the city's shores are dotted with restaurants, bars and beach shacks offering oceanfront views alongside delicious bites and libations.
As a travel destination synonymous with glitz and glamour, South Beach unsurprisingly lays claim to some of Miami's poshest restaurants. Make reservations at a celebrity chef hotspot like Prime 112 Steakhouse or rustic Italian favorite Casa Tua. More casual fare like tacos, burgers and seafood are also plentiful at bars and eateries along Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue.
Sunny Isles Beach also hosts upscale dining opportunities in waterfront settings. Mediterraneo Restaurant serves refined Italian cuisine while turning out picture-perfect dishes like seafood risotto and seared scallops. For Asian flair, Makoto brings innovative sushi and sake cocktails with a lounge vibe. More casual spots like Shuckers Bar and Grill also line the shores.
At Haulover Beach Park's concessions, grab a quick beachside bite like burgers, hot dogs and ice cream between dips in the ocean. The iconic Miami food truck Ms. Cheezious is now parked at Haulover on weekends too, serving up grilled cheese sandwiches that are anything but ordinary.
Crandon Park Beach on Key Biscayne offers fewer dining options, though the onsite Bear Bar serves up satisfying sandwiches, salads and smoothies poolside. For more substantial dining nearby, head to family-friendly Boater's Grill in the marina or upscale Cantina Beach next door.
Many of Miami's top beaches go beyond just sand and surf with convenient extras. Cabana rentals, playgrounds, parking, showers and more all enhance the beach going experience.
For hassle-free beachside luxury, private cabanas take relaxation to the next level. Chaise loungers, food and beverage service, ocean views...what more could you want? Rent a cabana to treat your family or gather a group. South Beach, Sunny Isles and the Fontainebleau Hotel offer high-end options.
Kids need a place to expend energy, and playgrounds give them just that. Crandon Park Beach and North Beach Oceanside Park both offer playgrounds close to the shoreline so parents can supervise easily. Monkey bars, swings, and play structures mean endless fun for little ones.
Nothing says family time like a good old-fashioned picnic. Pack some sandwiches, grab a blanket, and head to one of Miami's beaches with designated picnic areas. Crandon Park Beach has some fantastic picnic spots complete with barbecue grills, while North Beach Oceanside Park offers shaded picnic tables for a more comfortable dining experience.
No one wants to end a beach day covered in sand and salt. Luckily many beaches like Crandon Park and North Beach Oceanside Park offer shower stations to rinse off. There are also ample public restroom facilities, unlike more remote beaches.
With high seasonal demand, parking can be tough in Miami Beach. But beaches like Haulover, Crandon and South Beach have huge lots and garages so you can stay all day stress-free. Some also offer free or low-cost parking depending on time of year.
Miami's beaches allow leashed dogs, but having an off-leash area is a bonus. Both South Pointe Park and Haulover Beach Park include fenced sections for pets to play fetch and socialize. North Beach Oceanside Park also allows dogs.
As much as we all love a good beach day, safety should never take a backseat to fun. Miami's beaches are generally safe, but like any natural environment, they come with their own set of hazards. Here are some tips to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time.
Rip currents are narrow channels of fast-moving water that can pull swimmers away from the shore. They are one of the most common hazards on Miami's beaches. If you find yourself caught in a rip current, don't panic. Instead of trying to swim directly back to shore, swim parallel to the shoreline until you're out of the current, then make your way back.
Miami's sun can be relentless, so make sure you're well-protected. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30, and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and seeking shade during peak sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) can also help minimize sun exposure.
It's easy to get dehydrated when you're out in the sun, especially if you're active. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. While it might be tempting to indulge in beachside cocktails, try to limit alcohol consumption as it can contribute to dehydration.
Most Miami beaches use a flag system to indicate water conditions: green for low hazard, yellow for medium, red for high, and purple for dangerous marine life. Always pay attention to these flags and listen to lifeguard instructions.
While encounters with dangerous marine life are rare, it's always good to be cautious. Avoid swimming near fishing piers or in areas where people are fishing. If you do get stung by a jellyfish, rinse the area with vinegar and seek medical attention if symptoms persist.
With gentle surf, idyllic weather, and a buzzing social scene, Miami Beach delivers vibrant tropical flair. For families, couples, adventurers and mariners alike, few destinations offer such an enticing range of amenities across land and sea. From stand-up paddleboarding off South Beach to sailing on Biscayne Bay, Miami serves up endless opportunities to embrace beach bliss. So pack your sunscreen, grab your friends, and get ready for the beach vacation of a lifetime. The sun, sand and waters of Miami Beach await you!