Famous for its heritage-listed Art Deco architecture, high energy and steamy nightlife, Miami Beach is one of the coolest beaches in the world and the perfect place for a beach honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Rub shoulders with celebrities and super models, be pampered in luxurious accommodation, enjoy fine dining, shop at high-end boutiques and mix with the über-hip crowd at sleek space-age nightclubs on the so-called American Riviera – the place to see and be seen among the world’s bon vivants.
Visit the historic neighbourhood of Plaza de España and Little Havana, see the oldest building in the US at the Spanish Monastery Cloisters (photo) and ponder the works of Albrecht Dürer and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec at the Bass Museum of Art.
Stroll the promenade to admire the pastel-coloured Art Deco buildings along Ocean Drive – the largest concentration of Art Deco architecture in the world.
Pick a spot to sunbathe on the soft white sand and people-watch as the frenetic, ever-changing parade of quirky individuals makes the beach such an entertaining spectacle.
Swim in the calm Caribbean-like waters, rollerblade the palm-fringed boardwalk or score points in a beach volleyball game with the locals.
Go shopping amid the fountains and palm trees of the exclusive Bal Harbour Shops, where you can browse shops such as Cartier, Hermes, Prada, Tiffany, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Neimann Marcus.
See animal shows and get wet on the water slides at Parrot Jungle Island or see wild animals roam in cageless habitats at the Miami Metrozoo.
Watch huge cruise ships arrive and leave the Port of Miami from South Pointe Park or check out the reef in Biscayne National Park from a glass bottom boat.
After dark, choose from an international culinary smorgasbord of fine dining restaurants then dance the night away at South Beach’s choice of über-chic nightclubs including Mynt, the multi-level Opium Garden and the Shore Club, with its themed pool-side rooms and legendary Skybar – the best place to spot hot supermodels. Or choose from three state-of-the-art dance arenas at Crobar.
Hire a convertible and join the locals cruising up and down Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive, bathed in the warm glow of neon lights.
Surrounded by water, Miami is ideal for pleasure cruising, sailing, kayaking, fishing, surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving.
Further afield, explore South Florida's Gold Coast and Florida Keys by hire car or tour the Everglades swamps on an airboat, looking out for alligators, crocodiles and a variety of birdlife as you cruise.
A guide to must-see attractions on Miami Beach…
Miami Beach is a 56km-long stretch of white sand stretching north from South Pointe Park Beach to John U. Lloyd Beach Park, just south of Fort Lauderdale.
The beach is divided into several sections, each with its own character, for families, sunbathing glitterati and gay beachgoers (around the 12th Street stretch).
Although lined with hotels and condos for much of its length, the beach is easily accessed.
From South Pointe Park, a wooden beachside boardwalk merges into a wide, palm-fringed paved promenade at Lummus Park (5th Street).
This continues north along South Miami Beach to 21st Street before again narrowing into a wooden boardwalk leading to Indian Beach Park at 46th Street – just perfect for jogging, biking and rollerblading.
Less-crowded areas to the north include Surfside Beach (between 88th and 96th streets), fashionable Bal Harbour (96th Street) and the wide Sunny Isles Beach (from 157th to 193rd streets).
Beach facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, showers, toilets and lifeguards who operate from the many colourful stands.
To the south lie the islands of Virginia Key and Key Biscayne.
This less-crowded white-sand beach is ideal for watching the huge cruise ships depart and enter the Port of Miami.
Facilities include deck chairs and umbrellas for hire, toilets, showers, changing facilities, picnic tables and lifeguards. A wooden boardwalk leads to South Beach.
South Point Park Beach flanks the inlet to the south of Miami Beach, with access from Washington Avenue and Inlet Boulevard.
Commonly known as SoBe, South Beach is located at the southern tip of Miami Beach, flanking Ocean Drive from 5th Street to 23rd Street.
The 3km-long, 50m-wide, white-sand beach is edged by a palm-fringed promenade and Lummus Park (between 5th and 15th streets) and is lined with restored Art Deco buildings, shops, restaurants, cafés, bars, nightclubs and boutique hotels.
Read more about South Miami Beach…
Also known as Glitter Beach, this is the best beach to soak up a tan and do a spot of people watching.
The wide white-sand beach is separated from Ocean Drive by palm-fringed Lummus Park. It is common here to see sun-worshippers and supermodels sunbathing topless to avoid tan lines while pop stars shoot music videos.
Facilities include toilets, showers, changing facilities and lifeguards. Beachside concession stands offer food and drink, while a choice of restaurants and bars are just a short stroll away on Ocean Drive.
The extreme ends of the beach are popular with locals and families. Lummus Park Beach runs from 5th to 15th streets along South Beach.
Unwind on the clean white sand of this wide beach flanking Collins Avenue from 46th Street to 78th Street.
Sunbathe on the beach or relax in the palm-shaded grassy area fringing the beach, with an old-fashioned bandstand at the northern end.
Facilities include toilets, showers, changing facilities and lifeguards. Beachside concession stands offer food and drink, with a choice of restaurants and bars just a short stroll away on Collins Avenue.
Escape the crowds on this white-sand beach – one of the few stretches without condos or hotels overlooking sunbathers. Facilities include toilets, showers and lifeguards.
Relax on this less-crowded white-sand beach, with food concessions at the beachside Community Centre.
Facilities include deck chairs and umbrellas for hire, showers, toilets, picnic tables, volleyball and lifeguards.
Surfside Beach is located on Collins Avenue between 88th Street and 96th Street.
Unwind on the white sands of this 1.6km-long beach flanked by a palm-fringed jogging path.
Sunbathe on the clean sand, swim in the turquoise waters or bring a line and fish from the jetty at the northern end of the beach.
There are no lifeguards or showers here and you’ll need to take your own food and drink. However, you can indulge at the beachfront St Regis Bal Harbour.
Bal Harbour Beach is located on Collins Avenue, from 96th Street to Haulover Inlet.
Avoid tan lines at this clothing-optional beach, which also receives Miami's biggest swells, making it popular with surfers.
Facilities include changing rooms, showers, toilets, barbecue grills, lifeguards, tennis, volleyball courts and a nine-hole golf course.
Haulover Beach is located just north of Bal Harbour, around 13km north of Miami Beach.
Unwind on the less-crowded white sands of this 3km-long beach, with food concessions and a landmark fishing pier at the southern end.
Facilities include deck chairs and umbrellas for hire, showers, toilets, picnic tables, volleyball and lifeguards.
Sunny Isles Beach is located on Collins Avenue between 157th Street and 193rd Street.
(Key Biscayne) – Pick your own spot to sunbathe on the soft white sand of this 4.5km-long beach that sits between a grassy palm-fringed park and the shallow turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
To the south, the beach merges with the sands surrounding Bill Baggs Cape State Park.
You can expect lots of music from competing stereos on this very popular family beach. Water sports include kayaking and snorkelling.
Facilities include toilets, showers, changing facilities, lifeguards, barbecue grills, picnic tables, 200ha of parkland, soccer, volleyball and softball fields, a tennis centre and a public 18-hole championship golf course.
Crandon Park Beach is 14km south of Miami Beach.
(Key Biscayne) – Escape the crowds at this 2km-long white-sand beach that fringes the state park. Unwind on the beach, go swimming, snorkelling and kayaking.
Visit the historic lighthouse that was built in 1825 then stroll nature trails through native bushland and forest.
Facilities include bicycles, beach chairs and umbrellas for hire, as well as toilets, changing rooms, showers, picnic tables and food concession kiosks.
The beach is located at the southern tip of Key Biscayne.
(Key Biscayne) – Although not technically a beach, this inlet is Miami’s best spot for windsurfing, with (generally) predictable winds.
Facilities include windsurfers for hire, toilets and showers, as well as food concession stands. There are also hiking and biking trails.
Hobie Beach is located on the north side of the Rickenbacker Causeway leading to Key Biscayne, around 5km from South Beach.
Miami Beach offers newlyweds an excellent choice of accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets, including the following 5-star hotels…
The Setai, Miami Beach
Location: 2001 Collins Avenue, South Beach, Miami
Ave nightly price: AUD921 per room
Description: Located directly on the beach in Miami’s famous Art Deco district, this resort offers yoga and tai-chi classes. Suites are furnished in Asian-style décor. Free WiFi and an iPod docking station are provided in every spacious suite at The Setai, Miami Beach. Rooms are equipped with espresso and coffee facilities along with a minibar. Miami Beach Setai features 3 infinity swimming pools and a business centre. The on-site spa offers a number of massages and treatments, including a 60-minute Nepalese Body Polish. Concierges are available to provide recommendations. Guests can dine at 4 on-site restaurants including The Setai Grill, an American steakhouse serving Asian-inspired dishes. The Bar & Courtyard offers nightly drinks and snacks. Bayshore Golf Course is 1.6 kilometres from the resort. The Setai, Miami Beach is 1.6 kilometres from Lummus Park and 320 metres from Bass Museum of Art.
1 Hotel South Beach
Location: 2341 Collins Avenue, South Beach, Miami
Ave nightly price: AUD630 per room
Description: This historic oceanfront hotel features a private beach area and an on-site restaurant. There are 4 swimming pools, including a rooftop pool, available at 1 Hotel South Beach. A tablet with daily digital newspapers comes standard in every room, as do a 55-inch smart flat-screen TV and Bluetooth speakers. A mini bar, in-room water filtration system, and espresso machine with organic coffee are included. 1 Hotel South Beach guests can access the on-site fitness centre and spa and wellness centre. Guests looking for adventure can enjoy watersports activities while kids can explore the children's club activities. Beach Craft restaurant by Chef Tom Colicchio offers seasonal farm-to-table Mediterranean fare. Four on-site snack and beverage bars, as well as 24-hour in-room dining, are available. Shopping at Lincoln Road Mall is 1.2 km away from this hotel. Guests will be 5 minutes’ drive from the nightlife and dining of South Beach city centre.
Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Location: 3201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
Ave nightly price: AUD798 per room
Description: The oceanfront Faena Hotel is situated in Miami Beach, Florida and features an outdoor pool and a South American-inspired spa with massage, nail care, and salon services. The fitness centre with an ocean view offers daily indoor and outdoor classes. A relaxed meal or cocktail can be enjoyed at Veranda, which boasts views of the pool and ocean. Pao serves Asian cuisine with international influences, including original rice dishes and fresh meats and fish. The restaurant, Los Fuegos, boasts an open-fire kitchen and dishes made with local ingredients. Guests can retreat to the late-Deco styled rooms with free WiFi, a flat-screen TV, and a safety deposit box. Each Carrara marble-tiled bathroom has bathrobes, slippers, and complimentary toiletries. Nearby, the Miami Beach Convention Center is 2.5 km away, and golfing is 2.9 km away at Bayshore Municipal Golf Course. Premium shopping at the Lincoln Road Mall is 8 minutes' drive from the Miami Beach Faena Hotel, while the Art Deco District is 9 minutes' drive away from the hotel.
The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach
Location: One Lincoln Road, South Beach, Miami
Ave nightly price: AUD631 per room
Description: On the beach in the city’s Art Deco district, this 5-star hotel features a full-service spa and on-site dining with Mediterranean and North African cuisine. Rooms have a minibar. The guest rooms at Ritz-Carlton South Beach include dark cherry furniture and blackout curtains. Guests can watch cable TV or listen to music with the iPod docking station. A work desk and laptop safe are also provided. The outdoor pool overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by day beds. This Miami Beach hotel also has a 24-hour fitness center and a business center. An extensive wine list is available at the Lobby Bar. Other dining choices include local seafood, steaks and specialty drinks at the contemporary Bistro One LR. The beachfront DiLido Beach Club serves Mediterranean cuisine. The Ritz-Carlton South Beach is 2.4 km from the Bayshore Golf Course, and the Miami Beach Convention Center is less than 1.6 km away. Miami International Airport is 19.3 km from the hotel.
COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach
Location: 2445 Collins Avenue, South Beach, Miami
Ave nightly price: AUD442 per room
Description: This beachfront Miami Beach hotel boasts a full-service spa, rooftop pool, and on-site restaurant. WiFi access is available in every room. Traymore restaurant pares Floridian seafood with American dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guests can enjoy juices, appetizers, and entrees at COMO Shambhala Juice Bar while Traymore Gin Bar crafts over 30 gins. COMO Shambhala Urban Escape features Asian-inspired therapies that include deep tissue massages, restorative skincare, and facials. Nail care and waxing services are also available. Yoga and meditation are offered at the on-site fitness centre. Each guestroom features a 42-inch flat-screen cable TV, minibar, and an iPod docking station. Tea and coffee-making facilities are provided in each vintage-inspired Metropolitan by Como, Miami Beach. The hotel is 2.8 kilometres’ drive from South Beach and 15 kilometres’ drive from the Miami International Airport. The Art Deco District and luxury shopping at Lincoln Road Mall are each 6 minutes’ drive.
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The best time to visit Miami is from November to May, when you can expect clear, sunny skies and temperatures averaging 24°C (75°F) (rising to 30°C (86°F) in May).
From June to September the temperatures average 28°C (82°F) but can climb to 31°C (87°F). August is hot and humid and September has the highest rainfall with the chance of hurricanes.
For more climate info: Miami Weather Guide…
The most convenient route to Miami Beach is by air to Miami International Airport (MIA), also known simply as MIA, located 13km (8mi) northwest of downtown metropolitan Miami.
Alternatively, nearby Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) , located in Broward County 5km (3mi) southwest of downtown Fort Lauderdale, and 34km (21mi) north of Miami offers numerous international and domestic flights.
Miami Beach is the largest of a series of flat barrier islands separating the Atlantic Ocean from Biscayne Bay and the city of Miami, which lies to the west. To the south lies the Florida Keys.
Long considered the gateway to Latin America, the Port of Miami is the largest cruise port in the world and the starting point for cruising adventures to the Caribbean and South and Central America.
Hiring a car is the best way to get around greater Miami. Taxis and ride-sharing services such as Lyft or Uber are also great for getting around if you don't want to drive.
Miami-Dade Transit (www.miamidade.gov) provides useful public transport options, including Metrorail, Metrobus and Metromover.
The Metrorail, a high-speed commuter train operates between downtown Miami and the southern suburbs. Buses are also available, although slow for long journeys.
Bike-sharing networks in both Miami and Miami Beach are a good alternative to walking or taking a taxi.
More about how to get around Miami…
Latest update: Best Beaches in Miami: 14 July, 2020
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