Miami may be more than just jaw-dropping views of the Atlantic, but the city’s beaches are definitely one of its top draws. Dog beaches, nude beaches, prime surf spots and glitzy beachfront resorts: Florida’s coastal city really does offer something for everyone. These are the best beaches to visit in and around the Magic City as soon as lockdown lifts.
The buzzing nightlife and white sand beaches of South Beach are synonymous with Miami. This iconic beach stretches from the southern tip of Miami Beach to 23rd Street, and is fringed with the top-end bars, Art Deco buildings and boutiques for which Ocean Drive is famous. After a day in the sea, sit at one of the many beachfront restaurants selling oversized margaritas, and gaze out at the sparkling waters until the sun goes down.
Once the go-to spot for older tourists, Sunny Isles Beach has recently seen a rise in the luxury condos that now line this two-mile stretch. The clean and uncrowded beaches here are an antidote to those who need a quieter vibe than South Beach provides. Grab a ball and make use of the volleyball nets, relax in one of 10 public parks in the area, or just lounge on a deckchair at one of the many upscale resorts.
Although located just minutes away from Miami Beach over the Key Biscayne bridge, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park Beach has a completely different feel from other beaches in Miami. The beach is overlooked by one of the city’s oldest buildings – a historic lighthouse built in the 1820s. The waters here are tranquil, and a labyrinth of nature trails awaits those who want to spend the day hiking. After a day of activity, relax at one of the shaded picnic tables with a packed lunch, or head to the Boater’s Grill or the Lighthouse Café for some Cuban food.
North Beach is the ideal spot for those looking for a chilled out afternoon in the sun. The beach has a beautiful oceanfront park adjacent to it, where you can go on walks or bike rides; or make use of the outdoor grills and have a picnic. The park is dog-friendly, and you can even take your pet to the beach as long as they’re on a leash. Stunning views of the Atlantic, historic Art Deco architecture and lush greenery make this a classic Miami day out.
Forgotten your swimsuit? No problem. Haulover Beach, just North of Bal Harbour, is home to Miami’s only nudist beach. As Florida’s best-known nude beach, it regularly makes it onto roundups of the top nudist beaches in the world. If baring what your mama gave you doesn’t entice, Haulover Beach is also popular with surfers, and the oceanfront park nearby with outdoor grills is perfect for a picnic. This is also one of Miami’s best dog beaches, with plenty of places for your pup to run off leash.
Tucked away between North Beach and Bal Harbour, Surfside is a small beachside town with just 6,000 residents. This is a great beach for those looking to get away from the hectic shores of South Beach, for a more tranquil experience akin to being on a private beach. Surfside is especially popular with families and fitness enthusiasts, who come here to run or bike on the oceanfront paths. Other activities include paddle boarding and kite surfing.
For those who want to drive away from Miami and explore the Western shores of Florida instead, Naples Beach is a breezy bet. A part of Florida’s Paradise Coast, which also includes Marco Island and the Everglades, Naples is home to some of the state’s most breathtaking natural beauty. Vanderbilt Beach is one of the most popular here: it’s open to the public, and offers direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. The host of amenities, including restrooms and showers and handicap access, make this a comfortable place to spend the day before hitting a north Naples restaurant for an evening of wine and seafood.