Touted as one of the country's great tropical paradises, Miami Beach is justifiably famed for its fabulous palm-studded shoreline, eccentric architecture and colorful local residents. The city, a separate community from Miami, occupies a narrow barrier island about 2.5 miles off the mainland, along with 16 islets scattered in Biscayne Bay. Built on dreams and speculation, this is an island in perpetual transition, where the atmosphere can shift from shabby to chic in a single block. The atmosphere here is hotter than hot, with sizzling nightlife and celebrity-studded cafes, clubs and beaches. To see the famed Art Teco District take MacArthur Causeway, which offers great views of the enormous cruise ships that dock at the Port of Miami.