Top Beaches and Beach Activities in Miami

Miami Florida is known for its beaches, South Beach in particular, where the sand is powder soft, the surf is turquoise and azure blue and the beautiful people are sometimes topless.  Miami’s beaches are so popular they attract people and celebrities from all around the world, so keep your eyes open for celebrity sightings.

Virginia Key Beach

Virginia Key Beach was originally created as a “colored beach” in 1945 during the era of racial segregation and was the only beach at that time in the country available to African Americans. Now the beach is not only accessible to everyone, it’s one of the most popular for locals because of its super convenient location. This is also the only beach in the area that allows leashed dogs. Virginia Key Beach is great for a picnic with more picnic tables and outdoor grills and a couple large awnings to provide respite from the sun. The playground is fun and modern, giving kids something to do if the beach loses its appeal. There is also the Biscayne Virginia Rickenbacker Central miniature railroad to investigate. Virginia Key is good for swimming, especially with newly installed floating boundaries and lifeguards on duty. This is a family friendly beach with no pretenses so you’re probably not going to find a celebrity wandering around topless but you can have a great day with your family here.

Haulover Beach

Haulover Beach in Miami is a beautiful beach stretched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercoastal Waterway. Haulover is a place for sightseeing as it’s the only official clothing optional beach in Miami. Not the entire beach is clothing optional, just a small portion but most of the visitors flock to that portion. As far as the clothing optional crowd goes, Haulover is consistently one of their highest rated beaches, drawing 7,000 people each day. Its estimated that about three fourths of the guests at the beach use the nude beach area but nude sunbathing isn’t all Haulover has to offer, across from the beach is Haulover Park with a full service marina, restaurant, tennis courts, nine hole golf course that’s perfect for novices and children, and a few shops. So although you may initially think Haulover is not a family friendly place you’d be wrong. Just stay out of the clothing optional areas and you’ll have nothing to explain to your gawking children (or spouse).

South Beach

South Beach, Miami, Florida-wadester16776Creative Commons License Photo credit: wadester16

South Beach, Miami, Florida

South Beach in Miami is probably one of the best known beaches in the United States if not the whole world. South Beach really gained its notoriety with Miami Vice in the 1980s and soon became a key location for film, fashion and television, making it very recognizable to people who have never even been to Florida. South Beach is bordered by the ocean on one side and Ocean Drive on the other. Take the time to visit one of the many restaurants along Ocean Drive and have a meal outside where you can observe all the action on the sand. A trip to South Beach almost always provides vintage cars, rollerbladers, a model or actress, and a few topless sunbathers.  South Beach is the perfect place to people watch and relax with a cocktail or two on Ocean Drive.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park was voted one of the top 10 beaches in the U.S. and really deserves this title. In addition to the mile of pristine beach along the Atlantic Bill Baggs Cape offers a lot more to visitors. Bikes, beach chairs and umbrellas are available for renting. Grills are located in the pavilions and you can create your own beach picnic along the sea. If you are interested you can even catch your own dinner along by fishing from the seawall along Biscayne Bay. If you have a boat you can camp overnight at the No Name Harbor. And the highlight of Bill Baggs Cape is the historic lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1825 and reconstructed in 1846 and is the oldest standing structure in the Miami Dad County. Lighthouse tours are free and take place Thursday through Monday from 9am to 5pm with guided tours at 10am and 1pm. If you’re looking for some incredible food without having to catch or prepare it yourself, try the Lighthouse Café for authentic Cuban cuisine or Boater’s Grill for more traditional Floridian fare.

Homestead Bayfront Park and Marina

Homestead Bayfront Park and Marina is a gateway to the keys set on the shores of Biscayne Bay. This park is located in the far southern part of the county and is a great place for getting away from the crowds or other tourists. The full service marina makes it favored among those trolling the Atlantic around the Miami area but the relatively empty beach makes it popular for people looking to sunbathe, swim, picnic, fish and explore the area. Located next to the fabulous coral reefs of Biscayne National Park and the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary there is a lot to see and do in this region. The Biscayne National Park offers several hiking trails that are exciting and interesting but the majority of the park is actually underwater and the coral reef makes it perfect for snorkeling. The reefs are alive with colorful tropical fish and the shallow water makes it warm and accessible. At the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary the natural beauty is immediately evident in the living coral reef, the only one in North America and the third longest barrier reef in the world. The Sanctuary is beautiful and provides guests with an in-depth look at the native flora and fauna of Florida and a greater appreciation for the importance of preserving natural habitats.

The top beaches of Miami provide an interesting range of options from lazing around gazing at semi or completely naked sun bathers, to activities that keep everyone moving throughout the day to educational activities that give guests a deeper respect for the natural beauty that exists in Miami.
Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Flickr/Corey Ann

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