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Crandon Park, Wildlife and attractions, Miami
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The 15 best beaches in Miami for a good time in the sun

Into swimming? lounging? All the above? Whatever your vibe is, one of these glittering Miami beaches is right for you.

Ashley Brozic
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Ashley Brozic
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In Miami, there’s a beach for everyone, even Fido (hello, dog-friendly beaches!). Folks travel from all over to visit them, especially during Spring Break. Why? They’re beautiful! (And a delicious frozen beverage is never too far away at the best Miami beaches.) There is no stretch of sand in the world more iconic than South Beach, with its Art Deco resorts, legendary Miami clubs and crystal blue waters, but Miami also boasts a number of serene beaches where you can just kick back under your own umbrella and enjoy a sunny, no-frills day. Here are a few of our favorites.

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Best Miami beaches

South Pointe Park Pier
Photograph: Shutterstock

1. South Pointe Park Pier

Locals and tourists alike love South Point Beach; it’s got the right energy, a diverse crowd and has plenty to eat and do when your skin starts turning a tad too pink. To the south, you’ve got South Pointe Park, which includes picnic areas, a playground, and the famous South Pointe Park Pier, where you can drop a line for fish while watching the cruise ships pass by. During stone crab season, you’ll find plenty of locals hoisting bags of claws and other goodies from nearby Joe’s Take Away for beachside picnics, and if you want to feel a little glamorous, a day bed at Nikki Beach is only steps away.

Go on an Art Deco bike tour of Miami.

This is the Miami Beach you’ve seen in movies and TV, and it looks, feels and sounds exactly like what you expected. It’s not a laid-back beach day, however, it is a neon-hued blast with all the 90s nostalgia you need. If you’re looking to party, sip massive two-for-one daiquiris, meet people and just say you were in Miami B****, there is no better place to be. Oh, and if you need something to wear, here’s where to get your South Beach shopping on.

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Mid-Beach (21st–45th Street)
Photograph: Fintrvlr

3. Mid-Beach (21st–45th Street)

You want the ocean, but you’re not trying to do Ocean. Locals know to head to Mid-Beach between 21st to 45th streets. Here, you can take a romantic stroll down the Miami Beach boardwalk, a perfect place to people watch and peek into all the fancy resort and condo pool decks. You could also pop into any of the resorts for a bite, including the Miami Beach EDITION and the Faena Hotel.

46th–63rd Street (Mid-)Beach
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/mamichan

4. 46th–63rd Street (Mid-)Beach

The beach between 46th and 63rd Street is pleasant, not too crowded and very family-oriented. Sure, there’s a soulless backdrop of bland condos, with a few hotels from Miami Beach’s golden era in-between, but if you’re coming to this side of the beach, you’re not really coming to see and be seen. Most people will stick around Indian Key Beach where there’s a public lot and playground, though there are other kids' play areas and parking around 53rd Street.

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North Beach (63rd–87th Street)
Photograph: Courtesy Taquiza North Beach

5. North Beach (63rd–87th Street)

It’s all chill times and good vibes in North Beach, another one of Miami's locally loved stretches of sand with so much to offer. To walk around the area is to glimpse the beach in its sleepier days, with plenty of small art deco buildings, mom-and-pop restaurants and small touristy shops. North Beach Oceanside Park is the star of the show here with its expansive green space, dog beach and laid-back feel, though the best time to come out is during full moons for its legendary full moon party at 80th Street and Collins Avenue. Ocean Terrace Beach on 74th is also a nice little section, with a beachfront Taquiza and the North Beach Bandshell nearby, as is Allison Park with its turtle sculptures and play area.

A sleepy residential enclave that’s less than a mile long, Surfside exudes a small beach town vibe because everyone knows each other. Summer Fridays are a real thing here, as residents gather on the sand to listen to music, feast and participate in kid-friendly activities on the first Friday of every month from June through August.

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Haulover Beach
Photograph: Flickr cc/Roger Smith

7. Haulover Beach

Miles of perfect sand and surf make Haulover a great family beach. It’s one of South Florida’s best places to fly a kite (which you can rent at Skyward Kites) and it boasts a state-of-the-art skate park and pump track. There’s also a bark park and designated dog beach between lifeguard stations #2 and #3.
But maybe what’s most notable about Haulover Beach is what you can’t see: clothing! Between lifeguard towers #12 and #16 you’ll find one of the most well-known nude beaches in the world. Rent a chair, grab some concessions and enjoy the show.

There are said to be more millionaires per capita in Bal Harbour than in any other city in the U.S., which explains why the beaches are so impeccable, exclusive and pristine. It’s mostly metered parking here, though you could valet at one of the resorts (i.e. the St. Regis Bal Harbour) to upgrade your entire experience. Spend an afternoon seeing how the other half lives, and maybe duck into the famous Bal Harbour Shops for a different kind of therapy.

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Sunny Isles Beach
Photograph: Courtesy CC/FlickrJaxStrong

9. Sunny Isles Beach

Architectural kitsch and older tourists once defined Sunny Isles, but the past two decades have brought a luxury beachside condo boom to this two-mile-long town. Dubbed Little Moscow for its large concentration of Russian expats, this is where you go when you’re craving calm but feeling luxurious. There are plenty of fine dining establishments and a few worthy resorts, though you could also keep it low-key by strolling down the classic Newport Fishing Pier or taking the kiddos to Samson Oceanfront Park.

Hobie Beach
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/osseous

10. Hobie Beach

Want to hit the beach quickly, without a long trek to the sand? Hobie Beach is your answer. This slim, narrow, and teeny tiny beach is a paradise for local windsurfers, and rentals for these as well as jet skis and sailboats are all available onsite. It’s also one of Miami’s few dog-friendly beaches, so expect lots of canines splashing around in the shallow waters.

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  • Key Biscayne

Crandon Park is a classy beach with postcard views of Key Biscayne. This is 100-percent a locals' park, a family favorite for sandy barbecues and reunions. But there is SO much to do here, especially for nature enthusiasts. Enjoy kid-friendly, hands-on learning at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, explore the ecosystem with a light hike through Bear Cut Preserve or walk the ruins of the abandoned Crandon Park Zoo.
You could rent kiteboards or paddleboards in Crandon Park North, or circle around the skatepark or carousel at Crandon Park South. But, if vegging out all day is more your speed, Crandon has umbrella, chair and oceanside cabana rentals as well as two delicious beachside restaurants where you can get a plate of paella delivered to you on the sand.

You can head to Virginia Key for more than festivals and special events. Once Miami’s “Colored Only” beach, it holds a special place in this city’s history. Reopened in 2008, Virginia Key boasts serene ocean views plus some other fun features, like a mini train through wetlands, biking trails, kayaking, paddleboarding and adorable beachside cabins you can rent in all the colorful hues of the Caribbean.

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  • Key Biscayne

A short drive over the Key Biscayne bridge feels like a world (and century) away from modern-day Miami. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is anchored by Miami-Dade’s oldest structure: the historic Cape Florida Lighthouse. Climb all 109 steps of this 1825 structure to get a panoramic view of Biscayne Bay and tour the lighthouse keeper’s cottage to revisit Florida’s past. Fishing, kayaking, windsurfing and cycling are all encouraged at this active beach. Be sure to stick around for sunset at The Cleat, a chill beachside grill where you can enjoy a fresh catch with your toes in the sand.

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Tucked behind the lush mangroves and banyan trees of Old Cutler is a man-made atoll pool flushed by the tidal action of Biscayne Bay. This peaceful, circular swimming area is great for those who don’t have the energy or ability to trudge through beach surf, and when you get hungry as the sun sets, make your way over to the (finally!) reopened Red Fish Grill for fresh seafood, great wine and the kind of ambiance that will solidify your love for this city.

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This is the beach to take your rum-loving uncle. He’ll love this pretty beach and boardwalk, catering to an older crowd. Sandwiched between Broward and Miami, Hollywood Beach has always been famous for its wide, walkable broadwalk. More recently, it’s known as the home of Jimmy Buffett’s humongous Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort. Stop by for a few rum runners after the beach or—better yet—grab the best burger in town over at the famous Le Tub Saloon.

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