Got that Will Smith song stuck in your head? Can’t stop watching Miami Vice reruns? You’ve got Magic City fever! This glamorous American hub is home to the East Coast’s best beach scene, and its list of seaside spots to hit is pretty abundant. One major reason to hit the beach is that all Miami beaches are public, so whether you’re headed to the water to just soak up the rays with some friends, class trip, or a family beach day, all we can say is Welcome to Miami. Now, without further ado…
To the east of the famed Ocean Drive, between 5th St and 15th St, Lummus Park is an energetic beach stretch you may recognize from the classic late-1980s TV show, Miami Vice. A promenade separates the grass and Miami’s Art Deco district from the beach, and restaurants line the boardwalk. People-watching, volleyball, and sunbathing are the favourite activities here, which after a redesign in the 1980s also includes pull-up bars and palm trees. While you’re sneaking in a workout, the kids can play on the jungle gym.
Sunny Isles Beach
North of Miami Beach, Sunny Isles Beach is more than a stretch of sand — it’s its own city. Bound to the west by South Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, this former low-rent beach community is now a luxury resort town. Groups head to Sunny Isles for its restaurants, theatres, nightclubs, museums, corporate conferences, and more. And, of course, they go to its two-mile stretch of beach for snorkelling, fishing, and spotting sea turtles.
Fort Lauderdale Beach
Roughly a half-hour drive north from Miami, Fort Lauderdale’s 7-mile beach is worth it for the people-watching alone. Formerly a college party beach, it’s transformed itself into a chic, destination hub. Luxury properties dot the coastline, as do tall coconut palms. You can watch the action pass you by, or you can be a part of it. Stroll the promenade, ducking in and out of shops and restaurants, or zoom by on wheels with the rest of the cyclists, roller skaters, and joggers.
Matheson Hammock Park
Within the Coral Gables community south of Miami, Matheson Hammock Park is another quiet, family-friendly option. Its biggest draw is a man-made circular atoll pool for swimming. Also enticing: the park’s palm trees, old oak trees, and a picturesque marina. You can get active here too — there are several nature trails for hiking, great kiteboarding and paddle boarding, and even a boating and sailing school for nautical beginners. When you’ve worked up an appetite, grab a bite at Red Fish Grill, nicely positioned at the water’s edge.
If you’re beach-hopping Miami in hopes of spotting celebs, cut right to the chase and head to South Beach. The glamorous neighbourhood is loaded with celebrity chef-run restos, trendy nightclubs, and iconic Art Deco architecture, and it’s a favourite hangout of the rich and famous. Its two-mile stretch of sand lines the east border of and sets the tone for the whole neighbourhood. It’s not nicknamed The Sun and Fun Capital of the World for nothing.
Looking for a beach town vibe? You’ll find it in a small oceanfront community at North Beach called Surfside. The less-than-a-mile-long beach regularly attracts locals that all seem to know each other, but visitors are welcome too. Surfside Community Center has a waterpark with a lap pool, slides, and a children’s activity pool. If your trip allows for it: on the first Friday of each month, the beach hosts a communal picnic with live music.
South Pointe Park Pier
If it’s views you seek, this is one of the most scenic spots you’ll find in Miami. South Pointe Park Pier is part of a 17-acre park with a playground, fishing pier, and picnic areas. It’s the southernmost point of Miami Beach with the pier feeding out right into the Atlantic Ocean. Make sure to head to the observation deck for views of the exclusive Fisher Island, which with residents like Oprah Winfrey and Andre Agassi, has the highest per capita income in the U.S. From South Pointe, you’ll also see plenty of cruise ships. After all, the Port of Miami is the Cruise Capital of the World, welcoming more ships than any other port.
Hollywood Beach is a long stretch nestled between Broward and Miami, a 35- or 40-minute drive from downtown. There, you’ll find a bit of an older crowd, many of whom may be guests of nearby Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort. Stroll the beach’s wide, walkable boardwalk before ducking into one of the delicious restaurants on North Ocean Drive, like The Le Tub Saloon, GG’s Waterfront, or Billy’s Stone Crab Hollywood.
21st—45th Street Beach
The 21st—45th Street Beach is in the Mid-Beach neighbourhood north of South Beach — and we don’t have to tell you which streets are its borders. Close to luxury hotels and other beach clubs, this one doesn’t get overcrowded with visitors. Use that to your advantage. Escape the South Beach chaos for a minute and mingle with the locals, or jog on one of the nearby trails. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon here, because once you leave, it’s back to the glamour of South Beach Miami.
Do you need a bus to get to these beaches?
Let’s put it this way: Miami is one of the most beautiful – but busiest – cities in North America, with festivals and large events bringing tons of people and cars to the streets year round. Who would want to drive through that? Let an expert driver take the wheel while you gaze out the bus window and take in the sights.
And if you’re traveling in a group, all the more reason to rent a bus. When everyone stays together, no one gets lost and plans run smoothly. Your local bus driver will know the best routes to these beaches too, so you’ll save time and worry on that front.
For large groups, either a school bus or coach bus are your best options. For maximum comfort, amenities, and storage space for luggage, opt for the coach. The school bus is suitable for local rides like a school field trip. For smaller groups, our minibus and mini coach buses are more intimate. The minibus is a no-frills, smaller version of the school bus, while the mini coach carries the amenities of the big coach in a smaller vehicle.