Miami is a beautiful place when it comes to beaches; picture the ultimate mix of busy public beaches with art deco architecture and water sports and quiet stretches of white sand beaches. You can have luxury hotels and party culture or natural beauty and wildlife. It is easy to see why having a beach day is one of the best things to do in Miami.
And these best beaches in Miami are also some of the best spots in Florida and beyond. After visiting Miami several times we always tell people to keep their expectations high because these beaches are well worth venturing out of Downtown Miami for. Whether you want to go snorkeling with a manatee or a game of beach volleyball amongst new friends, there’s a Miami beach for you.
In this guide, we will introduce you to the best beaches in Miami that we have been lucky enough to visit. It is no secret that Miami’s beach scene is special; you can venture out to nearby cities and barrier island getaways to experience even more incredible spots. These are the most beautiful beaches in Miami so, take advantage of this.
1. Virginia Key Beach Park
Virginia Key Beach Park is a beautiful barrier island park spanning 82.5 acres. The park isn’t just a beach; it spans a network of walking and biking trails, plus picnic tables where you can sit and enjoy refreshments while admiring the scenery. Historic Virginia Key Beach Park feels like it should be one of the best weekend breaks from Miami.
However, it is just a 12-minute drive from Downtown Miami or 50 minutes on the bus. Virginia Key Beach Park has this beautiful, removed appeal, with shallow waters and coastal flora that is ideal to explore by kayak or paddleboard. It is an oasis of natural beauty with all the convenience of being just a short distance from Downtown Miami. And for this reason, we just had to add it to this guide.
The main beach in Virginia Key Beach Park is Virginia Beach, a peaceful white sand beach with gorgeous views over Miami’s skyline and the Atlantic Ocean. Quiet and scenic, this is easily one of the best Miami beaches for travelers who want to get off the so-called beaten track. It also has a dog park on one of its beaches – a massive hit amongst locals.
2. Hobie Island Beach Park
Hobie Island Beach Park is next up. Also lesser known to tourists, this shallow, watered slither of white sand beach is tucked away next to the Rickenbacker Causeway – deceptively close to Downtown Miami and easily accessed by car or bus. You rent a car and drive to Hobie Island Beach Park in 10 minutes – a dreamily convenient arrangement. For this reason, Hobie Island Beach Park is one of the most popular local beaches in Miami. And with a sizeable dog-friendly area, it is a massive hit amongst local Miami dog owners.
For tourists, a visit to Hobie Island Beach Park is ideal as it is quieter than the major beaches in Miami. It also has stunning views of the Downtown Miami skyline and water sports equipment rentals if you want to make the most of shallow waters. The waters at Hobie Island are perfect for trying stand-up paddle boarding. The mixture of skyline views and local crowds make it an excellent recommendation as a peaceful spot.
3. Cape Florida Beach
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is a beautiful state park at the southern tip of Key Biscayne. The park is surrounded by walking trails and abundant native vegetation. However, it is also famous for something up your street – serene beaches. Its best beach is Cape Florida Beach, which sits in a sheltered arc under the shadow of the spectacular bright-white lighthouse.
This historic and scenic element of Cape Florida Beach pairs really nicely. You can visit the lighthouse on your beach day and soak up the relaxing atmosphere. Cape Florida Beach is another beach that has managed to avoid celebrity status and, as such, the obnoxiously loud crowds.
To get to Cape Florida Beach, it is just a 30-minute drive from Miami’s Downtown. Alternatively, you can catch a bus and reach the beach in approximately an hour and 20 minutes.
4. Sandy Beach at Oleta River State Park
Sandy Beach at Oleta River State Park is a beautiful section of shoreline with hardly any waves. It is situated in the boundaries of Oleta River State Park’s stunning 1043 acres and on the Intracoastal Waterway, shielded from waves and winds by the barrier islands off Miami’s coastline. The beach is popular amongst families and local people in Miami, and it quickly gets busy at peak times and during holidays. Sandy Beach is perfect if you want a beach that isn’t located on the barrier islands.
Oleta River State Park is the largest urban park in Florida and a great place to explore and combine with a morning on the beach. The park has miles of walking and biking trails, plus access to the 1,515-mile Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. The best way to reach the park is by car, and you can drive there from Miami’s Downtown in just over 30 minutes.
5. Surfside Beach
Surfside Beach is a pretty white sand beach to the north of central Miami in the city’s uptown region. The neighborhood of Surfside is just a mile long, and it is renowned for its Jewish cuisine and small-town culture and atmosphere – a sharp contrast to South Beach and busy Downtown Miami. Its beach is much the same, with a quiet, community vibe ideal for travelers wanting to experience a less intense version of Miami.
There’s plenty of nearby green space, including North Beach Oceanside Park. And there’s the Surfside Walking Path, a beautiful walk to appreciate the quiet scenery and water views. It is easy to see why Surfside Beach made our list. It is a little community haven of a beach.
To reach Surfside, it is an approximate 30-minute drive from Miami or just over an hour on public transport. It is more convenient to stay near Miami Beach, taking just 20 minutes by car or 30 minutes on a single bus.
6. Mid Beach
Mid Beach is one of the top beaches in Miami and is located on the famous Miami Beach chain of sought-after beach sections. Likely because of this, it has a ton of luxury condos and stylish bars and restaurants. So, if you want a beach with a luxurious backdrop, Mid Beach is your one. The soft sand is the perfect place to sunbathe before heading out for a nice meal or cocktail. And, of course, there’s access to the Miami Beach Boardwalk.
Mid Beach is a breeze to reach if you are staying on the barrier island, and even if you are on the mainland, it is just a 30-minute drive. Its luxury personality made it stand out, and it is an excellent option for anyone choosing luxury Miami condos.
7. Dr Von D Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park
Dr. Von D Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park is technically too north to be considered one of the best beaches in Miami. However, it has earned its spot on this list as one of the honorary Miami beaches thanks to its pristine waters and coastal reserve. It is approximately a 40-minute drive from central Miami, and it is located just under Fort Lauderdale.
However, it is one of the greatest nearby beaches to visit. Dr. Von D Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park is home to sea turtles and even manatees in its neighboring canal. If you want a beach experience with reserve-style wildlife, it is the place to go from Miami.
8. South Pointe Beach
The sandy shores of South Pointe Beach make up one of the best beaches in Miami. Situated dramatically at the end of the Miami beach strip, South Pointe Beach has stunning views of the outstretched high-rises. It is a popular spot for scenic sunrise seekers. It also has an excellent security and lifeguard presence, making it a hit amongst families and solo travelers wanting peace and quiet with some safety in numbers.
It is just a 20-minute drive or 35-minute public transport journey to reach South Pointe Beach from central Miami. But if you stay in the Miami Beach region, you can just walk there.
9. Bal Harbour Beach
Bal Harbour Beach is super scenic. It is a mix of stunning white sand – a classic feature amongst Miami beaches – and a backdrop of skyscrapers and palm trees. Bal Harbour Beach stretches up to the Haulover Inlet and Haulover Inlet Bridge, and there’s a beautiful fishing pier at the end for anyone wanting to catch a catch. Clean and relatively quiet, this more out-the-way beach day spot is just a 45-minute drive from central Miami or 20 minutes from Miami Beach. Bal Harbour Beach stands out for its quiet fishing culture and inlet-side location. It is definitely a rewarding spot.
10. Hollywood Beach
Forget flashy LA Hollywood; Florida Hollywood is different. This area is nicknamed ‘Old Florida’ and has a beautiful boardwalk, classic resorts, and a few golf course options. It has an old-world allure, and this action centers around its vast stretch of sandy shoreline. Hollywood Beach is where to connect with coastal Florida differently, making it one of the best Miami beaches.
To reach Hollywood Beach, it is around a 40-minute drive from Miami. It is located between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, making it more of a day trip-style beach since you’ll be traveling to get there. If you drive from Miami Beach, it is a stunning route, though, and you can stop off at other beaches like Bal Harbour and Sunny Isles along the way.
11. Matheson Hammock Park
Matheson Hammock Park is a beautiful beach park that pumps water around a man-made atoll pool to allow swimmers to enjoy fresher ocean water. Technically, it is a city park. However, it has a stunning section of secluded sandy shoreline, making it an ideal place for a quick dip or a sneaky beach day. There are distant views of the Miami skyline, shady palm trees, and scenic flora. Honestly, what’s not to love? If you want a quiet spot for a beach day, Matheson Hammock Park is somewhere you might not initially think of but should absolutely jot down.
It is only 40 minutes from Miami’s Downtown by car. We’d definitely vote that it justifies renting a car, and you can combine it with a visit to the nearby gardens, including Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
12. Hallandale Beach
Hallandale Beach is a neighborhood in northern Miami with a pristine stretch of white sand and an almost always buzzing community atmosphere. It is one of the most classic ‘residential beach’ choices and has a laid-back but fun vibe. You can rent a beach chair and umbrella and easily kick back on Hallandale Beach for a few hours. And it has that quintessential backdrop of glitzy high-rises famous along Miami beaches.
Hallandale Beach is best reached from Miami Beach and takes just under 40 minutes when driving. You’ll take the scenic stretch of road, heading straight up the coastline and past Miami’s best beaches, including Bal Harbour Beach and Haulover Beach. This means you can quickly turn a visit to Hallandale Beach into a road trip or beach hopping experience.
13. Crandon Park Beach
Crandon Park Beach is beautiful – as in seriously beautiful. This white sand beach is one of the most quiet stretches of shoreline you can find in Miami. This quality makes it one of the best beaches in Miami and an easy addition to this guide. The mixture of soft sand and a peaceful location on Key Biscayne make Crandon Beach a paradise on Earth, let alone just Florida. It has a sought-after residential appeal and is also less known amongst tourists, making it a quiet option that only gets busier in peak seasons.
Crandon Beach is closest to Miami’s Downtown and is just under 20 minutes away by car or an hour by bus. You’ll be crossing the William M Powell Bridge and passing beautiful viewpoints of the Miami skyline and the beautiful Virginia Key – so take your time and allow a whole day to enjoy Crandon Beach despite its convenient location.
14. Samson Oceanfront Park
If you are traveling with kids, note Samson Oceanfront Park as one of the best beaches in Miami. While it is not technically just a beach in its own right, this 2.1-acre park has a shaded playground with direct beach access, making it perfect for families visiting Miami. Children can enjoy the playground, a scenic boardwalk suitable for trying out scooters and balance bikes, and vending machines when it’s time for a quick snack. Samson Oceanfront Park even has charging stations and WiFi for parents.
Samson Oceanfront Park is closest to Miami Beach and is located further north on the chain of barrier islands. You can reach the park by bus in 40 minutes or drive there in 30 minutes; either way, you’ll take the scenic coastal route.
15. Haulover Beach
Haulover Beach is a love-or-hate-it addition to our best beaches in Miami. Officially home to a clothing-optional beach section, Haulover Beach has clearly marked sections where beachgoers can opt between clothing or no clothing. If you want to embrace the nudist lifestyle, Haulover Beach is the best beach in Miami. If you are more conservative, we’d suggest paying close attention to the signposts. Haulover Beach is a classic white sand stretch with plenty of space to find a quiet sunbathing spot, even at peak times.
Haulover Beach is closest to Miami Beach and is located on the barrier island chain off central Miami and the mainland. From Miami Beach, it is just over a 20-minute drive, while it takes around 40 minutes on the bus.
16. Sunny Isles Beach
Sunny Isles Beach is a beautiful spot with a long stretch of pristine white sand and plenty of infrastructure for beachgoers. It is a reliable choice amongst the best beaches in Miami and in terms of getting there, just a 30-minute drive or 50-minute bus trip from Miami Beach. Located on a barrier island just north of Miami, it is an easy and convenient beach day destination with all the classic features of Miami’s beaches.
The Newport Fishing Pier along Collins Avenue is something to note if you like fishing. It is a great spot to test your skills and practice ocean fishing.
17. South Beach
South Beach is the famous beach in Miami, backed by the beautiful Lummus Park and Ocean Drive. It is easily one of the most popular beaches in the world – let alone just in Miami. South Beach is frequently rated as one of the best beaches in the world. It attracts millions of tourists a year, meaning we can confidently claim it as one of the best beaches in Miami. The stunning white sand art deco architecture and beach chair facilities make it an eye-catching spot for a beach day, and has a thriving beach culture.
If you stay near Miami Beach on the barrier island, it is an easy walk to South Beach. South Beach is the hub of Miami’s beach scene and an absolute must-visit.
18. North Beach
North Beach is easy to love. Better described as mellow than lively like South Beach, North Beach is further up the coastline of the infamous Miami Beach’s chain of shoreline spots. The significant difference is that North Beach is more residential, with green spaces and lowkey parks rather than bursting art deco colors and architecture. If you want South Beach without the intensity and crowds, it is a meeker option while boasting a prime location.
You can easily walk to North Beach while staying centrally on the Miami Barrier Island. It is an accessible beach with a beautiful atmosphere that justifies a place on this list.
Best Beaches in Miami: FAQs
Whether you choose a beach resort-style spot or a remote paradise with manatees and turtles, nothing quite hits like a Miami beach. Hopefully, you now have a few contenders for beach day spots in your itinerary. Before you head off with a beach towel in hand, though, check out these common FAQs. These quick answers should hone your search and really ensure you find the beach for you.
What is the nicest beach in Miami?
Virginia Key Beach Park is the nicest beach in Miami if you want natural beauty. The 82.5-acre park is full of walking trails and picnic tables, and it has both beaches with city views and a scenic boardwalk over marshlands.
What is the cleanest beach in Miami?
Crandon Park Beach has by far the cleanest waters out of all the beaches in Miami. These crystal-clear waters are where to head if you want a clean beach experience.
Which part of Miami Beach is best?
South Beach is impossible not to love. It is by far the best part of Miami Beach if you want that classic experience with art deco architecture and beach chair arrangements. This is the beach that most people think of when they think of Miami.
What is the best beach in Miami for locals?
Hobie Island Beach Park is the best Miami beach for locals. This shallow snippet of the beach is located just off the Rickenbacker Causeway. It is a dog-friendly beach with water sports rentals. It is scenic and easygoing and avoids the throngs of tourists that other Miami beaches attract.
Miami isn’t just busy South Beach; it is also pristine white sand and fresh seafood. Whether you head over the Intracoastal Waterway to South Beach or south to Virginia Key Beach Park, you’ll find an incredible variety of Miami beaches. Picking the suitable Miami beach for you is vital to having the best time in the famous South Florida city.
Are you looking for more inspiration? Check out our guides on where to stay in Miami and how to enjoy the Miami to Key West Drive. Hotels and day trips are two things that can make all the difference when you visit Miami. Do your research and reap the rewards.