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12th Street Beach
The 12th Street Beach—together with the nearby Palace bar, a focal point for the Ocean Drive LGBT scene

Miami beaches: Information, rules and safety tips

Information on rules and conventions, and on how to stay safe and healthy on Miami's beaches

Written by
Time Out Miami editors

Umbrellas and loungers are available at many beaches; if you don't see an attendant, claim a chair and one will soon show up to collect the fee. Topless sunbathing is permitted on Miami Beach, and there are a few places that allow nude sunbathing. Sun here is subtropical, and you can get burned even on overcast days. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 (30 for children) year round, and take a hat.

Pay attention to official warnings about beach conditions. A green warning flag means it's safe to swim. "No swimming" (red) means just that. "Caution" (yellow) means hazardous conditions such as riptides—ask the lifeguard what dangers lurk. A purple flag means "dangerous marine life," usually referring to Portuguese men-of-war—jellyfish that look like blue bubbles floating in the water, and whose tentacles pack a mean sting (if you get stung, head for the lifeguard, who'll treat you). 

Sea lice are more annoying than dangerous. They latch on to your swimsuit and cause itching. To relieve itching, shower with soap and water. For information on conditions, call Miami Beach Patrol (305-673-7714).
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