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South Beach to Surfside: Miami's Best Beaches

From relaxed stretched of sands to beaches known for their party atmosphere, Miami has it all.

An aerial view of Miami beach and its bright waters
Hi, I'm Lydia!

Lydia Schrandt is a writer, editor, and award-winning photographer currently based in Houston. She’s a contributor for USA TODAY 10Best and serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in Draft, Time Out Beijing, Travel+, USA TODAY, San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

Home to more than a dozen beaches, Miami is a sun lover’s paradise with plenty of options for soaking up some vitamin D. Whether you’re looking for a lively stretch of sand to see and be seen or a tranquil sunny escape, these are some of your best options.

1. South Beach

South Beach and its colorful buildings and Miami palm trees in Florida.
South Beach and its palm trees and colorful buildings.Foto: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

No trip to Miami would be complete without a visit to iconic South Beach (particularly Lummus Park Beach). Visit the coastline made famous on postcards for its soft white sand and adventurous surfers catching waves. You’ll also find the Art Deco architecture of Ocean Drive.

2. Sunny Isles Beach

Swimmers on Sunny Isles Beach, lined by high rises in Miami, FL.
Swimmers at Sunny Isles Beach.Foto: B Cruz / Shutterstock

Sunny Isles, Miami’s northernmost beach, comprises a two-mile (3.2-kilometer) stretch of sand popular among families with kids. Go fishing off Newport Fishing Pier or go snorkeling just offshore.

3. Surfside Beach

An aerial view of Surfside Beach and its white sand beach in Miami.
A bird's eye view of Surfside Beach.Foto: Gabriel Medina / Shutterstock

Locals love the beach at Surfside for its waterfront walking and biking path and friendly beach town vibe. The pristine stretch of sand sits in front of a charming neighborhood dotted with historic buildings housing cafes and ice cream shops.

4. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

The lighthouse at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, and the sunny surrounding palm trees.
The lighthouse at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.Foto: Anna Abramskaya / Shutterstock

Located on Key Biscayne near Crandon Park Beach, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is known for its colorful sunsets, nature trails, a historic lighthouse, and untouched Atlantic shoreline. Enjoy its soft sand and azure waters, and also an array of outdoor experiences including hiking, cycling, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

5. Haulover Beach

Sunbathers in the sand at Haulover Beach in Miami, Florida.
Clear waters and bright sand at Haulover Beach.Foto: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock

Most famous as the city’s only legal clothing-optional beach, this stretch of Miami Beach also offers a more traditional sunbathing area as well. Additionally, surfers rank the waves here as some of the area’s best. 

6. Virginia Key Beach

Lots of yachts moored up at beautiful Virginia Key Beach in Miami, Florida.
Yachts explore the Virginia Key Beach area.Foto: ocudrone / Shutterstock

Tropical tiki huts provide shade at this popular beach, located just across from the Miami Seaquarium where the Miami River meets Biscayne Bay. If you’re looking for stellar views of the downtown Miami skyline from a sun lounger, this is your place.

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