Sharing a name with the neighborhood it’s found in, South Beach is one of Florida’s top attractions and among the most popular beaches in the United States. Skin, sand, sun and surf are found here in abundance year-round, drawing everyone from European tourists to college kids on spring break.
Over half of the beach is actually part of Lummus Park, which extends inland past the sand itself to include a wavy walkway known as the Promenade and a beautiful palm grove. If you want to take a seaside stroll this is the perfect place to do it—or you can relax on the grassy lawn beneath the palm trees and enjoy the shade and the ocean view. Rollerblading, biking and Segwaying are also popular activities. Head down to the beach to catch some rays or enjoy the waves. The park and beach are among the best-cared-for around, with immaculate grass and sparkling white sand, graded and cleaned each morning by the city of Miami Beach. Here you can play some volleyball on the courts or work out with the pull-up bars and other equipment installed on the beach. And topless sunbathing is A-ok at South Beach—no tan-lines required. If architecture’s more your thing, look in the other direction at the classic Art Deco buildings that line the park, or check out the colorful lifeguard stands, each one unique, designed by architect William Lane.
The beach and the park are completely free to access, but if you feel like spending money there’s plenty of opportunities to do so. Finding parking space can be very difficult in the area, so be prepared to either walk several blocks or pay top dollar. The parking conundrum may be South Beach’s biggest drawback—no matter how much you’re willing to spend, it can be almost impossible to find a place to leave your car nearby on the busiest days. The spending opportunities once you’re on the beach are much more enjoyable. Concession stands abound, and you can rent almost anything you want—beach chairs, umbrellas, bikes, Segways, and even parasailing equipment. Different vendors supply different stretches of beaches, so if you’re price-conscious, shop around. Umbrella and chair rentals are all-day (until 5pm), so arrive early to get your money’s worth. And note that club and party promoters tend to cruise the beach for tourists—whether you consider that your ticket to Miami Beach nightlife or a vacation annoyance, it’s something to be aware of.
The beach can be found between 5th and 21st Streets, Miami Beach, FL 33139.