Miami is world-famous for its beaches. Whether you’re looking to let loose and party the night away, go outside your comfort zone and try some watersports, or just want a quiet place to soak up a tan and read a book, there’s a beach in Miami that’s perfect for you.
Here are 10 of the best beaches in the Miami area.
1. South Beach
No trip to Miami is complete without a visit to South Beach. Bustling with activity all day (and all night) long, South Beach is the place to be if you’re the party-going type. In fact, the South Beach district is considered the heart of Miami’s LGBTQ scene, hosting the incredible Miami Beach Pride Parade.
What can you do at South Beach? Laze around on the soft sand, take a stroll on the busy boardwalk (watch out for rollerbladers and skateboarders!), swim, go on a shopping spree, join a pickup game of beach volleyball, take a trip to Miami’s famed Art Deco Historic District, ride bicycles, and party like there’s no tomorrow.
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Palace Bar on 1052 Ocean Dr., which hosts its iconic drag brunch every Sunday. Call ahead to book a table – reservations run out days in advance!
2. 12th Street Beach
While you’re in the South Beach area, don’t miss out on 12th Street Beach, which is located right in the center of Lummus Park. Nightlife happens all day long at 12th Street Beach, which is known as one of the best party beaches in Miami. This is where you’ll find the famous Miami White Party and Winter Party Festival.
12th Street Beach is often considered as Miami’s best gay beach and is noted by Frommer’s as the place where you’ll find some of Miami’s “most beautiful gay population”.
3. North Beach
North Beach is like South Beach’s more low-key younger brother. Still, it’s just as beautiful as its southern counterpart, with long stretches of plush sand, glistening blue waters, and a lovely boardwalk for walking, running, dog-walking, and even people-watching.
If it’s too hot out to hit the beach, you can always head to North Beach Oceanside Park, a 28-acre park that offers plenty of shade for picnicking, self-powered workout stations, and lots of pet-friendly establishments for those who can’t leave home without their furry friends.
4. Bal Harbour
Want to rub shoulders with Miami’s rich and fabulous? Bal Harbour may not be the biggest beach in all of Miami, but it’s home to some of the glitziest hotels and residences with the most amazing beachfront views you can imagine.
If you’re looking for some retail therapy, check out the Bal Harbour Shops. Here, you can probably find every luxury brand imaginable.
5. Haulover Beach
One of the best gay beaches in Miami is, no surprise, also the only nude beach in Miami. Yes, that’s right – at Haulover Beach, it’s clothing-optional!
Just north of Bal Harbour, Haulover Beach is world-famous among gay “naturists” who prefer to bare it all. But if you’re wary about showing everything off to strangers, it’s no big deal. Haulover Beach’s locals are friendly and accepting of all body types and preferences. Clothes on or off, you’re sure to have a good time here.
6. Hobie Beach
Are you a big fan of watersports? Hobie Beach is an adventure junkie’s dream destination, with all sorts of activities from windsurfing to jet skiing to surfing. The beach is named after the Hobie catamaran, which you can rent and learn how to sail out on the water.
This beach is also known as one of the few dog-friendly beaches in Miami. This is because the beach itself is pretty shallow, making it an excellent place for pups to splash around. The beach isn’t the best for lazing around and sunbathing, however, as it doesn’t have the soft sand that other beaches on this list can boast.
7. Surfside Beach
Unlike some of the other choices on this list of Miami beaches, Surfside Beach is a laid-back beach town that’s more on the residential side. Here, you’re more likely to run into Miami’s locals, who prefer the beach for its peace and quiet.
If you find yourself visiting between June and August, make sure to head out to Surfside on a “Summer Friday” – a low-key gathering among residents where they have games, food, and music every first Friday of the month.
8. Crandon Park Beach
This three-mile stretch of sand is located in Key Biscayne. Another laid-back option, Crandon Park Beach draws in a mix of locals, families, and beach bums looking to enjoy a wide range of activities – whether on the soft sand or in the water.
From here, you can take a short hike through Bear Cut Preserve. Little kids can learn all about the importance of protecting our natural environment at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, and paddleboards and kiteboards are always available for rent at Crandon Park North.
9. South Pointe Park
If you’re looking for a lush, green spot away from the harsh sun, South Pointe Park is your best bet. Located at the southern tip of Miami, this park offers 17 acres of greenery, with picnic spots, walking trails, and benches galore. The 450-foot South Pointe Pier is a favorite among anglers. It’s also a great spot to just soak up an amazing vista of the Atlantic.
10. Virginia Key Beach Park
Entrance to this island getaway requires an admission fee, but it’s a small price to pay for what this place has to offer. This mile-long stretch is a scenic retreat that serves up nostalgia, with its antique carousel (which gives you stunning views of the ocean) and a miniature train that can take you around the area.
This historic beach park was also the first “colored-only” beach in Miami, making it an important part of the now diverse city’s history.
The Bottom Line
If you want to experience some of the best beaches in Miami, Florida, try out any one of the beaches listed here.
From clothing-optional spots to dog-friendly beaches, Miami has something for every type of beach-goer. If you’re looking for more information on beaches near Miami or nearby cities, we have plenty more travel guides on our site.
**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.