Miami, at Florida’s southeastern tip, is a vibrant city whose Cuban influence is reflected in the cafes and cigar shops that line Calle Ocho in Little Havana. Miami Beach, on barrier islands across the turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay, is home to glamorous South Beach, famed for its colorful art deco buildings, white sand, surfside hotels and trendsetting nightclubs.
Considering Miami as an ideal summer vacation spot? Well, then Put on your swimsuit, don’t forget the sunscreen and get your camera ready (or buy a waterproof one for underwater pictures with the fish!) and visit Miami’s famous beaches. Visit South Beach, head to Key Biscayne for an immersion into tropical life or explore one of the hidden beaches tucked away in this sunny paradise.
WHEN TO VISIT MIAMI
Miami is an exceptional getaway any time of year. The beaches are as welcoming in December as they are in July, and the weekend nightlife rocks year-round.
The question of when to go is really based on the type of vacation you desire. You can choose the energy of peak season with its throngs of revelers and usually perfect winter weather, or you can choose low season for the cheapest fares and emptier beaches.
Typically, when more northerly U.S. states get cold, Miami tourism heats up. The season, as locals refer to Miami’s peak tourism months, runs from January through April. June through September is, relatively speaking, the quietest months, but Miami still gets many travelers during the summer.
Come to Miami during the season, and you’ll find the town is packed to the gills. If your travel plans must be for these months, be sure to book well ahead of time and expect sky-rocketing hotel costs, long waits, and crowded beaches. Weekdays are always less busy than weekends, no matter what the season.
High season: January to April
Low season: June to September
Shoulder season: May, October to December.
If you’re thinking about a family-friendly vacation to Miami, we have some tips for you that will make your planning easier. For starters, we’ll show you a number of Miami Beaches that can give you and your kids all beach fun that drives you crazy, then we’ll travel around the city to check out hot spots your kids will surely love and moving on we list the hotels that will be cheap as well best suited for whole of your family this summer vacation.
Must visit beaches in Miami
Miami’s beaches are all they’re built up to be – sandy and gorgeous, clean, sunny and best of all warm all year around.
BAL HARBOUR BEACH, MIAMI
A bit north of Miami Beach’s main beach stretch, Bal Harbour Beach is a quiet stretch of sand sharing space with luxury condominiums and five-star hotels. The water here is a clear turquoise, the sand a pristine white that stretches on and on. A palm-shaded jogging path curves around mile-long beach and there’s a jetty (with fishing permitted) at north end of beach. If you’ve rented a car, there is a limited metered parking lot available beneath Haulover Bridge. If you need a quick bite after a day at the beach, head for one of the small cafes in the nearby Town of Surfside or dine at one of Bal Harbour Shops’ elegant bistros.
BILL BAGGS CAPE FLORIDA STATE, MIAMI
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Beach, located on the tip of Key Biscayne, is a relaxing and scenic alternative to some of Miami’s more popular beaches. It is also home to an historic lighthouse, the oldest standing building in Miami-Dade County, which offers scheduled tours. Bill Baggs is a regular A-lister on Dr. Beach lists and constantly receives kudos from other noted travel publications.
This beach doesn’t lack in beauty or scenery and also offers plenty of activities. There are walking and bicycle trails winding through native vegetation. Amenities include restrooms, picnic tables, food concessions and shower facilities. Fishing enthusiasts or families looking to cast a line can grab some bait and tackle and fish from the seawall along Biscayne Bay.
There are two onsite restaurants, the Lighthouse Café which faces the beach, and Boaters Grill, located on a quiet lagoon. Both restaurants offer delicious Cuban food, sandwiches and cold drinks. If you prefer to pack a picnic, this is a great beach for some sandwiches beneath a reserved pavilion. A relaxing beach day on beautiful Key Biscayne is a favorite Miami pastime.
CRANDON BEACH, MIAMI
Crandon Beach is one of Miami’s greatest park treasures. A beautiful, sprawling campus of beaches and amenities, Crandon Park is more than a beach. At Crandon Park Beach on Key Biscayne, there’s a Family Amusement Center, a Nature Center and even a place to rent cabanas.
The beach remains the main attraction at the luscious and family-friendly Crandon Park. Gear up for a friendly game of beach volleyball or unpack your picnic and bring some supplies for the on-site grills. There’s almost always a birthday party or event taking place somewhere at this site. At the south end of Crandon Park Beach, there are cabanas for rent. Cabanas have showers and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Cabana renters are assigned a parking space and exclusive picnic tables on the beach.
It’s fun to explore the various ecosystems at Crandon Park, including dunes, mangroves, coastal hammock and sea grass beds. The Crandon Park Nature Center is home to exotic plants, rare fish and wildlife, and Bear Cut Preserve, a natural Environment Study Area. Take a tour with a naturalist and explore all that this nature hotbed has to offer.
HAULOVER BEACH PARK, MIAMI
This 1.5 mile beach is located north of Miami Beach, between the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean. Haulover Beach Park is noted for blue waters, soft sand and plenty of picnic areas. The park regularly hosts kite-making workshops and sells kites to fly in a big grassy area facing Biscayne Bay. There’s a tennis center, golf course and dog park, too.
Haulover Beach is also the host of a stretch of clothing optional beach. So, if you forgot to pack a suit- no problem! Or, if you’re looking to get some sun without any tan lines, well, this is the place for you. There are beach wheelchairs for rent at Haulover Beach Park. Pedestrian tunnels link to the park and marina on Biscayne Bay. Nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, kite flying area and kite shop.
HOBIE BEACH, MIAMI
Just off of the Rickenbacker Causeway, en route to the serene natural paradise of Key Biscayne, is the preeminent place for windsurfing in Miami. Hobie Beach (also called Windsurfer Beach) has earned its nickname by playing host to a locally run windsurfing rental concession for more than twenty years. Experienced vets and adventurous vacationers alike can spend the day experiencing this exhilarating activity. Sign up for a two-hour lesson or an all-day group lesson and become a pro in no time.
Hobie Beach is also notable for being Miami’s favorite dog friendly beach. Bring your doggie pal here for a nice romp on the sand. The water is shallow, so dogs can play in the surf a bit without any worries about strong currents.
Hobie Beach/Windsurfer Beach is located right in between Brickell, Downtown Miami and Key Biscayne, so beach goers will enjoy amazing skyline views from this calm off-road beach with concession stands and free parking.
MIAMI BEACH – CENTRAL
Miami Beach’s central stretch, from 21st Street to 78th Street, is a popular area for strolling, jogging and skating thanks to the elevated boardwalk which runs from 21st Street to 46th Street. Rent an umbrella or beach chair and enjoy the day in the heart of Miami Beach. Soak up the sun, the turquoise waters, and the white sand and stroll down the beach to sights like the historic Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel.
Miami Beach – Central is close to the sidewalk cafes, bars, and concession stands that make Miami Beach a world famous tourist destination. This beach tends to be quieter and less crowded than South Beach.
MIAMI BEACH – NORTH
This northern stretch of Miami Beach includes an old fashioned band shell, a community center and an adjoining park at the north end. Frequented by locals as well as visitors, it’s quieter than beaches to the south, but just as beautiful. The beach is wide and sandy, with concessions and showers.
Concerts are held at the North Beach Bandshell, which is a popular Miami Beach music venue. Miami Beach – North is located near fast food restaurants and sidewalk cafes. It’s easy to walk across the street to find something to eat or drink after a long day of soaking up some rays, playing beach volleyball at the nets on the beach and enjoying the ocean views.
MIAMI BEACH/SOUTH BEACH
Enter South Beach, America’s Party Beach, at 1 Washington Avenue and stroll through the party that runs until around 21st Street. This beach at the southern tip of Miami Beach is the South Beach that you’ve seen on TV, read about in magazines and seen in postcards.
South Beach attracts a lively crowd of people who enjoy the energy of the place. Grab some shade under a palm tree at lovely Lummus Park while enjoying the view of the ocean.
Take a walk in the area and see the Art Deco buildings of South Beach (the Art Deco Welcome Center is located at 10th Street and Ocean Drive). Or, you can stroll along the beach and watch the cruise ships heading out to sea. Be sure to take a photo of the famous multi-colored South Beach lifeguard stands. After you get your fill of sun, head for a café or restaurant along famous Ocean Drive. There are several public parking lots located nearby.
SUNNY ISLES BEACH, MIAMI
Sunny Isles Beach boasts a two-mile long white sand beach. Beach goers here enjoy the wide sandy beach and clear waters popular for snorkeling, diving and other water sports. Sunny Isles Beach is also known for its classic pier, the Newport Fishing Pier. Locals and visitors try their luck fishing from this popular local landmark.
Nearby Samson Oceanfront Park has a children’s play area and is also the location for outdoor concerts. Beach access is available at several different places along Sunny Isles Beach.
There are many small cafes and restaurants in Sunny Isles Beach where you can enjoy a quick meal or cool drink after spending the day in the sun.
SURFSIDE BEACH, MIAMI
Long walks on the beach were practically invented in Surfside, which offers a mile-long stretch of sand uninterrupted by any commercial intrusion stretching from 88th to 96th Street. You will find an escape from the busyness of life in this waterfront haven set just south of Bal Harbour and north of Miami Beach. Favorite local features of the beach include Surfside’s walking and biking paths, where you can go for a nice stroll, run or bike ride. What makes the beach in Surfside stand out from the rest is the sheer cleanliness, natural scenery and dedication to making every visit simply amazing.
HISTORIC VIRGINIA KEY BEACH, MIAMI
Virginia Key Beach – North is located at 3701 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne. A big wooden sign marks this historic beach, which is located just past the Rickenbacker Causeway across from Miami Seaquarium. There’s a five-dollar admission fee for cars or two dollars for pedestrians.
Virginia Key Beach – North was the location of the famed – but now closed – Jimbo’s, a former movie-set-turned-hangout for some of Miami’s eccentric local characters. Windsurfing and ultra light seaplane rental are available here. Enjoy great views of Brickell Avenue and downtown Miami skyline.