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Miami Beach
Photograph: Unsplash/Marc Fanelli-Isla

Your Miami Beach parking cheat sheet

Find a spot, stress-free, with our fool-proof guide to navigating Miami Beach parking

Falyn Wood
Written by
Ryan Pfeffer
&
Falyn Wood
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There’s a lot to contend with when it comes to parking in Miami Beach. From king tide flooding to shady tow companies, elusive residential zones and blockaded sections of pedestrian-only roadway, the obstacles we mortals face before dipping a toe into the sand of Miami’s famed beaches are numerous and daunting. There are a few obvious rules to follow, of course: Arrive as early as possible, avoid the congested streets immediately adjacent to the ocean and always triple check for tow-away signs.

Still, there are only so many spots to go around on this little strip of man-made heaven. Don’t spoil your relaxing visit to one of Miami’s best museums before you even get there. Finally scored that last-minute reservation at Carbone? You can’t afford to circle the block for three hours! First thing’s first: Get out your phone and download the ParkMe app (which helps you locate an open spot) and ParkMobile (which lets you pay remotely). Here’s our full guide to parking like a pro in Miami Beach.

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Miami Beach parking

Street parking
Photograph: Unsplash/Matt Alaniz

Street parking

Among your most plentiful options is street parking, though its convenience and availability vary based on where you are and the time or day of the week. A good rule to remember is the closer you are to the beach, the more difficult it’ll be to find a spot. The highest difficulty rating is Ocean Drive and A1A, where you will almost certainly get caught in traffic as you attempt to re-route. Work your way west and parking should get easier. Of course, parallel parking is unavoidable when it comes to street parking, so brush up on those skills. You can pay for these spots at a nearby meter or via the Miami Beach parking app, ParkMobile.

Residential parking
Photograph: Unsplash/Fredo Figaredo

Residential parking

When cruising for street parking, beware of residential areas. There are presently 19 residential parking permit zones reserved for locals who actually live there. Residential zones should be clearly marked with signs. Still can’t tell? Check the windshields of surrounding cars for residential parking stickers or visitor parking placards displayed on the dashboard. If they all have them, keep moving. You can also see a complete map of Miami Beach’s residential parking zones over on miamibeachfl.gov.

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Meter rates around Miami Beach
Photograph: Unsplash/Stanisław Gregor

Meter rates around Miami Beach

Where you park in Miami Beach can affect the rates and enforcement time of metered parking. Be mindful of the new Entertainment District Parking Zone, comprising all metered parking from Ocean Drive to Pennsylvania Avenue; and from 5 Street to 15 Street, including Washington Avenue. Here, on-street parking costs $4 per hour and off-street lots cost $2 per hour for non-residents, enforced 24/7. For everything else south of 23rd Street (South Beach Zone), expect $4 per hour for street parking and $2 per hour for lots with an enforcement time of 9am to 3am. From 23rd Street to 44th Street, between Collins Avenue and Indian Creek (East Middle Beach Zone), rates are $3 per hour for street parking and $2 per hour for lots with a 9am to 3am enforcement time. Everything outside of that zone and north of 23rd Street and south of 63rd Street will be $1 per hour for both street and metered parking with an enforcement time of 8am to 6pm. Still confused? Check out the breakdown over on miamibeachfl.gov.

Parking garages
Photograph: Unsplash/NeONBRAND

Parking garages

Parking garages tend to be pricier than public lots and street parking but come with nice perks like all-day shade and E.V. charging stations at select locations (check miamibeachfl.gov for an expanding list). An expensive (private) one could charge you $20 to $30 for a day at the beach. Others are more affordable public garages, such as the abundant 17th Street Garage, hovering around $2 per hour. Some are very conveniently located, such as the Time Out Market Miami parking garage located at 1618 Washington Avenue, where you can grab a bite to eat or sip a cocktail before moseying down to the water. There should be signs outside the garages notifying you of the cost. Just be sure to read the fine print to avoid a surprise bill (especially during special events) and, whatever you do, don’t lose your ticket (the going rate is $20 if you do).

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Towing
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Claudia Brauer

Towing

Miami Beach manages 66 public parking lots, 12 public garages and all that public street parking we mentioned. So do your best to park there. Lots belonging to private businesses can and will tow you. You can also get towed if you’ve incorrectly parked on the street. Don’t park at a McDonald’s and think they won’t notice. Make sure you are clearly within a legal parking zone. Even if you’re barely outside of it, you could get towed away. If you find your car missing and suspect it has been towed, call the Miami Beach parking enforcement hotline at 305-604-4785. They’ll let you know if you’ve been towed and how to get it back.

Parking tickets
Photograph: Unsplash/Josh Newton

Parking tickets

Tickets suck, huh? It’s better than getting towed but still not fun to come back to. If you do have a ticket, it’ll be tucked underneath your windshield wiper, so be sure to check before you drive away. Your average ticket for going over the time limit is $36. But citations can get more expensive. Illegally park in a handicap spot and you’re in for a $253 citation. You can easily pay a ticket online. Head to miami-dadeclerk.com and enter the citation number on your ticket. The ticket will also have payment instructions on it.

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Skip parking altogether
Photograph: Courtesy Citi Bike

Skip parking altogether

No doubt about it: Parking on Miami Beach can be a massive pain, especially during busy weekends and holidays. An alternative many opt for is using a ride-share app like Lyft or Uber to get to Miami Beach. Split it with a couple of friends and a trip from Downtown to South Beach shouldn’t cost you more than $10 (just keep an eye out for surge pricing, which happens during really busy times like Art Basel). Once on Miami Beach, use the free Trolley, the tip-based ride-share Freebee (currently only available to seniors) or the bike-sharing program with Citi Bike to get around for the cheap.

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