An azure sky, beautiful white sand beaches and clear waters with turquoise reflections... no wonder that Miami has become one of the top tourist destinations in the United States. Here is our TOP 5 of its beaches.
1. South Beach : to see and be seen
South Beach, SoBe for those in the know, is Miami’s most popular beach. Its white sand lapped by blue-green water stretches from 1st to 24th Street to the south of Miami Beach along the aptly named Ocean Drive. Lined with hotels, cafes and restaurants, each of which is the epitome of hip, cool and fashionable, Ocean Drive is young, joyful, brash, almost carnivalesque. It is not the place for the shy – here the aim is to admire and be admired! Well-oiled muscles and bikini clad beachgoers greet you wherever you look on the beach – proudly strutting and flaunting their vital statistics. Tourists and locals, together with the occasional top model and celebrity, rub shoulders beneath the Florida sunshine. Colorful lifeguards’ towers built after Hurricane Andrew fly flags that indicate the conditions of the sea. Lummus Park, between 5th and 15th Street, is a popular beach volley venue and at South Pointe Park (1 Washington Avenue) water games await kids with an observation lookout point for the curious. A stroll or a bicycle ride down the boardwalk ending at South Pointe is another popular activity.
2. Cape Florida (Key Biscayne) : for unspoiled beauty
A 15min-drive from the heart of Miami, take Interstate 95 to Rickenbacker Causeway, cross through Virginia Key, then to Key Biscayne as far as the southernmost tip of the peninsula. The Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is riddled with hiking paths and home to a historic lighthouse dating from 1846. An unspoiled landscape free of buildings where visitors can breathe, sunbathe, picnic and swim along almost 1mi/1.5km of sandy beach. Ranked several times by Stephen Leatherman, aka Doctor Beach, among his Top 10 US beaches, Cape Florida is a popular kayaking site and a favorite with anglers. Bicycles, deckchairs and parasols available for rent. Photographers will enjoy the diverse wildlife (iguana, muskrats and egrets).
3. Matheson Hammock Park Beach : ideal for young children
Matheson Beach is ideal for families with young children, those who don’t feel up to braving strong seas or anyone who simply wants to quietly enjoy the sunset with friends. South of Miami (Dade County) and Coral Gables, Old Cutler Road lined by banyan trees leads to the track to Matheson Hammock. At the end is the Round Beach seawater swimming pool protected from the wind and waves and commanding a matchless view of Key Biscayne and the downtown Miami skyline : perfect for swimmers in search of peaceful waters.
4. Oleta State Recreation Area : for kayak aficionados
The huge Oleta River State Park overlooks Biscayne Bay. With mile upon mile of bicycling tracks and path, it has something for everyone. In the northern section of the park along River Oleta, the mangrove forest is home to protected wildlife and plants, characteristic of southern Florida and much appreciated by canoe and kayak enthusiasts. Swimmers and anglers enjoy the white sandy beach.
5. North Shore Open Space : for peace and quiet
On the northern edge of Miami Beach, North Shore Open Space is blissfully free of the high-rise concrete constructions that characterize most of the coast. The turquoise sea is lined by a park that offers a genuine open space of greenery. It is one of the most beautiful and probably one of the quietest beaches of Miami. Few tourists and no deckchairs or parasols for rent depict the low-key, family-friendly ambience.