Top 5 Best Beaches In Miami

Miami is famous for its beautiful beaches” with options ranging from action-packed South Beach to quiet and secluded hideaways. With so many beaches to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to spend your day soaking up the Florida sunshine. Here’s an overview of some of the best beaches in Miami to help you plan your beach escape.

South Beach

No list of Miami’s top beaches is complete without the iconic South Beach. Located in the lively South Beach neighborhood, this stretch of sand is the most popular beach in Miami. It’s great for people-watching and taking in the Art Deco architecture of the area. South Beach is always buzzing with activity, from volleyball games to outdoor workouts and pick-up basketball games. The water is generally calm, making it a good spot for swimming and stand-up paddleboarding. Just be aware that finding parking can be a challenge. Walk, take public transportation, or ride a bike here to avoid the headache.

Top 5 Best Beaches In Miami

South Beach is one of the best beaches in Miami for experiencing the city’s vibrant culture. You’ll likely spot models and celebrities, especially during events like Art Basel Miami Beach. Stop at one of the many oceanfront bars and restaurants for tropical cocktails and fresh seafood. South Beach is definitely not the quietest beach, but its energetic atmosphere creates an only-in-Miami experience.

Haulover Beach

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Haulover Beach offers a peaceful and secluded beach experience just north of the major hotels and crowds of South Beach. Haulover Beach is part of Haulover Park, operated by Miami-Dade County. It has over a mile of sandy shoreline for lounging in the sun, making it one of the best beaches in Miami for avoiding crowds. The northern section of Haulover Beach is clothing optional, so heads up if you venture that way.

The main appeal of Haulover Beach is its tranquility. The beach has gentle surf that rarely gets too rowdy for swimming. There are volleyball nets and a kite rental stand for activities. Food trucks often park in the vicinity too. But most people come to Haulover Beach simply to unwind on the soft sand without disturbances. The beach has picnic tables and shade structures if you need a break from the sun. Parking is abundant at Haulover Beach, and the lack of nearby high-rise hotels keeps things relatively quiet.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

For a peaceful beach setting away from the city, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is one of the best beaches in Miami. Located on the southern tip of Key Biscayne, this barrier island beach has over a mile of sandy shoreline dotted with palm trees. The clear, shallow waters are ideal for swimming, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking. Boating and fishing are also popular activities, thanks to the island’s location where Biscayne Bay meets the Atlantic. Seashelling is excellent along the shore.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park offers more than just beachfront, though. It has over a mile of bike trails through the island’s natural habitats of dune vegetation, mangroves and hardwood hammocks. The historic Cape Florida Lighthouse provides panoramic views of the surrounding waters. Guided tours are available to climb the 109 steps to the top of the lighthouse. For a small fee, you can camp overnight on platforms at the beach to experience the park after the crowds leave.

With fewer crowds than Miami’s mainland beaches, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park provides a peaceful natural escape without sacrificing beautiful sandy shoreline. It requires some effort to access via the Rickenbacker Causeway, but that helps limit crowds. Park amenities like bike rentals, a café and tour guides make it one of the best beaches in Miami for outdoor recreation.

Matheson Hammock Park and Beach

Top 5 Best Beaches In Miami

On the north side of Coral Gables, Matheson Hammock Park offers a picturesque man-made atoll beach surrounded by tropical vegetation. The beach lies in the center of the park’s sheltered lagoon, created in the 1930s as a marina to promote trade and tourism. Today, it’s a stunning natural oasis with turquoise waters, powdery sand and swaying palm trees. The calm waters make it excellent for swimming for all ages and abilities, as well as kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

Matheson Hammock Beach has shallow waters and full amenities. There are refreshments and beach gear rentals available. The park has nature trails through mangrove forests, as well as picnic pavilions and scenic boardwalks. Out on the western tip of the atoll, there are views across the marina to downtown Miami’s skyline. Access to Matheson Hammock requires an entry fee per vehicle, but that helps limit crowds.

Combining a man-made lagoon with natural tropical vegetation, Matheson Hammock offers a beautiful beach setting away from the busy city. The amenities, calm waters and stunning scenery make it a favorite for families and nature-lovers.

Virginia Key Beach

For an under-the-radar beach, check out Virginia Key Beach in Key Biscayne. The beach was originally the “Colored Only Beach” during the era of segregation. Today, the historic beach park welcomes people of all backgrounds to enjoy its unspoiled shoreline. Shoreline oaks provide shade, and there are restroom facilities on site. The beach has a relaxed, community vibe and somewhat rough natural terrain.

Swimming is not recommended at Virginia Key due to strong currents and uneven shorelines with rocks. But the beach is great for picnics, strolls, kite-flying and admiring nature. Dolphin sightings are common! It provides beautiful, unobstructed views across the bay. There are also trails for biking, rollerblading and jogging.

Virginia Key makes an ideal outing for barbecue picnics and family gatherings. Plus, you can explore the rich cultural history of the beach through preserved memorabilia and plaques. With an entry fee per vehicle, the crowds stay manageable. For a low-key beach experience immersed in nature, Virginia Key is one of the best beaches in Miami.

Key FAQs About Miami Beaches

Here are quick answers to some frequently asked questions about the beaches in Miami:

What is the most famous beach in Miami?

South Beach is by far the most iconic and famous beach in Miami. With its vibrant culture, beautiful Art Deco architecture, and bustling energy, South Beach sums up Miami’s tropical appeal.

Which Miami beach is best for families?

Matheson Hammock Beach is one of the best Miami beaches for families thanks to its calm, shallow waters and full amenities within the park. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is also an excellent family beach option on Key Biscayne.

Where do celebrities go to the beach in Miami?

Celebrities are frequently spotted at South Beach since most stay at the hotels lining Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue while in town. They like being seen at the chic beachside bars and restaurants on South Beach too.

What is the quietest beach in Miami?

For peaceful and secluded beaches, Haulover Beach, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, and Virginia Key Beach are good options with fewer crowds than more popular beaches. Early mornings on South Beach can also be relatively quiet before crowds arrive.

Which Miami beaches allow alcohol?

Drinking alcohol is allowed on most Miami beaches, including popular beaches like South Beach and Surfside Beach. Some parks and nature areas, like Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, prohibit alcohol. Enjoy responsibly and clean up trash.


With miles of coastline filled with stunning beaches, Miami really does have superb options when you’re looking for that perfect stretch of sand. The flavorful culture of South Beach, the peaceful nature of Bill Baggs Cape Florida, and the chilled-out vibes of Matheson Hammock Beach or Virginia Key showcase Miami’s diversity. Whether you want to party, unwind or play in the ocean, Miami’s world-class beaches have something for everyone to enjoy year-round. Soak up that Florida sunshine and make some unforgettable memories on Miami’s beautiful beaches.

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