South Beach Visitors Guide

Some of the most beautiful white sand beaches and clean blue sparkling water can be found in the Miami area. There are dozens of beaches that bring in the tourists, but none quite like the ones located near Miami Beach. The most popular of course is South Beach. It runs from 1st to 22nd Streets parallel to Ocean Drive. This is the hottest spot in Miami in more ways then one.

In the day time you can frolic along the endless span of white sand and jump into the lightly rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean. You can look down to the sandbar at the sea floor even if your submerged up to your waist (the water is really that clear)!

miami south beach

The Miami heat is nothing compared to smoke pouring off of some of the hot bodies lying around the beach. This area is widely known for its large quantity of nearly naked sunbathers enjoying the rays from the all too willing Southern Florida sun.

This is not the beach that you want to take the kids to, although you will find tons of them running around anyway.

South Pointe Park

South Beach sightseers will want to start out at South Pointe Park for a close-up view of ships heading through the deep-water channel, known as “Government Cut”, to the Port of Miami. Across the channel are the Mediterranean-style buildings of the upscale and exclusive Fisher Island, accessible only by ferry.

Lummus Park

Next, check out Lummus Park, a public beach park along the Atlantic Ocean. Once there, note how the pastel pinks, bright Aquas and canary yellows of Ocean Drive ‘s hotels fight for space on the South Beach skyline. Flamingo Park is another great public park that offers recreational opportunities. Visitors can join a walking tour or check out South Beach ‘s other attractions, including the Wolfsonian/FIU collection, the Botanical Gardens, and the Holocaust Memorial and a dozen art galleries including Art Center South Florida, Bob Fitzgerald, Espanola Way Art Center, Pierre Marcel.

Casa Casuarina

A Miami visit must include a trip to the historical Casa Casuarina, a lavish Mediterranean style building. Located along Ocean Drive of South Beach, Miami Beach, Casa Casuarina is the former mansion of Gianni Versace and is one of the premier small hotels and visitor attractions in the Miami area. In fact, the Casa Casuarina/Versace Mansion is one of the most photographed homes in the United States. Tours at the exclusive Versace Mansion are available daily for a price of over $50.

This is also a key stop for shoppers with an eclectic mix of intriguing boutiques, bookstores, art galleries, and home design shops. Don’t miss the Spanish-style Espanola Way featuring stores that sell New Age and retro items.

Food is another big draw in South Beach with dozens of restaurants lining the streets creating a culinary Mecca of with a large variety of cuisines. And in a town that never sleeps, the restaurants are always busy until the early hours of the morning.

South Beach also stays alive late into the morning (5 and 6 a.m.) as visitors and locals dress up or down to hit South Beach’s trendy nightlife venues. As the sun rises on South Beach, many people finish an incredible night and are on their way back to hotels and homes. No matter your style, a visit to South Beach will redefine how you look at style and nightlife.

The Beach (SoBe)

Here’s what you have all been waiting for. No matter how good the other beaches are, this is what you came for. It’s bigger and better than all the other beaches, and it won’t let you down.

This small 2 mile piece of the Miami-Dade County waterfront is listed as one of the top ten beaches in the world. Most of the raves come from environmentalist that are impressed with the high quality of water that South Beach is famous for. The beach is also kept miraculously clean by the

The two and a half miles (four km.) from Collins Park at 22nd. Street down to South Pointe Park is considered as South Beach, though the 10 block stretch of beach facing Lummus Park is the heart. Collins Park is clearly the artistic corner of SoBe with the world renown Bass Museum of Art, the sparkling new Miami Beach Public Library and headquarters of the acclaimed Miami City Ballet. From here on down the swim wear gets skimpier and their contents more spectacular. Not to say that you won’t also see the flabby pallor of the U.S. mid west or northern Europe, but look on that as a contrast to all the beauty around you. Although nude sunbathing is not allowed on Miami Beach, it’s obvious that some visitors have not been advised of this fact. Though nudity is rare, toplessnes is not, and failing that, lithesome bodies will be covered by the minimum amount of clothing permitted by law. Keep this in mind if you are bringing younger family members.

South Beach beachwalk

The boardwalk ends at 21st. Street, and the new beachwalk commences. Strolling down from Collins Park, you will pass behind (depending if the oceanside is considered front or back) such august hotel properties as The Setai, Shelbourne, The Delano, The National, Ritz Carlton (DiLido), Loews, The Royal Palm and Shore Club. Though tempting, access from the beach is not allowed for non-residents. If you wish to use the bars and restaurants, you must enter from the Collins Avenue side.

At 15th. Street you reach Lummus Park. This is where fabled Ocean Drive commences. Named after the Lummus Brothers, one of the original developers of Miami Beach with Collins and Fisher, they were owners of the section from 14th. down to 6th. street. Their original idea was to extend Ocean Drive all the way up Miami Beach, but after the land slump of the ’20’s, more avaricious developers took over the reins, building properties directly on the beach at higher values. The only other part of the original plan that still survives is the isolated 2-block Ocean Terrace in North Shore. What a missed opportunity!

Here the Beachwalk is at its most active. Bikers and skaters surge up and down the walk, but are generally considerate of pedestrians. Across the street is the greatest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world. It’s an amazing sight, and even more amazing at night with the colored neon lights outlining the hotels, restaurants and bars along the street. The beach is wider here and at it’s most tranquil, with extensive play areas on the landside for sand games such as volleyball, frisbees, sand soccer, etc. Watch out for your feet on hot summer days, as the sand can get scorchingly hot by noon.

The gay beach is located at 12th Street and Ocean Drive. It is not too difficult to find, with the rainbow flags marking the territory between two chair rental spots. Mostly a hangout for men, lesbians and straights camp out here too on occasion. Rent a chair or umbrella from Boucher Brothers or lay a towel in the sand like the locals do.

At 5th street the unimpressive buildings return to hog the beach, but you can stroll on along the beach, past trendy beachside restaurants and two small beachside parks, to the far end at South Pointe Park, overshadowed by what many think are the ugliest high rises on the beach.

South Beach Miami Things to do

Everglades National Park
Check out to see some of the things that are offered and things to do
in the Everglades National Park. Just minutes from Miami.

Key West and the Florida Keys
Maybe a Day trip to the Florida Keys or a few days down in Key West.
A world apart from the Miami action.

Yoga at the Garden – Come Practice With Us!
Join us every Thursday at 9:00 AM for Yoga at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. Take advantage of the beautiful surroundings while you get in touch with your body.
All levels are welcome for our morning Hatha Yoga Class!

Miami Seaquarium
38 acres of marine-life entertainment and education. The Seaquarium is home to Lolita the killer whale, Salty the sea lion, and famous TV superstar Flipper.
4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne. Phone (305)361-5705

Having nearly 300 developed acres on a 740-acre parcel of land is the only zoo in the Continental U.S. located in a subtropical climate. It houses more than 700 wild animals in a cageless environment.
12400 SW 152 Street, Miami. Phone: (305) 251-0400

Monkey Jungle
Visitors stroll through enclosed paths, while the monkeys roam freely within large enclosures.
14805 S.W. 216th Street, Miami. Phone: (305) 235-1611

Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium
The Museum has over 150 hands-on exhibits and a natural history gallery. The Planetarium changes exhibits and features a laser and star show daily. The observatory opens Sat 8-10 (weather permitting) offering free telescopic viewing.
3280 S. Miami Avenue, Miami. Phone: (305) 854-4247/42

Parrot Jungle and Gardens
Features parrots, exotic birds, flamingos, among others in a subtropical jungle. Petting zoo.
S.W 57th Avenue and S.W. 112th Street, Miami. Phone: (305) 666-7834

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Italian Renaissance-style villa, built in 1916. The house has 34 rooms of the 15th-19th century antique furnishings and decorations. The grounds include 10 acres of formal gardens and fountains divided by hedges and walls.
3251 South Miami Avenue, Miami. Phone: (305) 250-9133

Fairchild Tropical Garden
Botanical garden established in 1938, an 83-acre tropical paradise offering an extensive collection of rare tropical plants.
10901 Old Cutler Road, Miami. Phone: (305) 667-1651

The American Police Hall of Fame and Museum
More than 10,000 items related to law enforcement are on display including specialty vehicles, a mock crime scene, etc.
3801 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami. Phone: (305) 573-0070

Bass Museum
Located in a relaxed park setting in the heart of South Beach Miami, the museum offers contemporary and historic art from throughout the world. Includes religious paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages.
2121 Park Avenue, Miami Beach. Phone: (305) 673-7530

Tropical Fun Center
Located in downtown picturesque Homestead on the route to the Florida Keys, featuring: go-carts, paintball, adventure mini-golf, arcade games, scuba diving tours and tours to the Everglades.
US-1 just north of Homestead. Phone: (305) 246-3731

Fruit and Spice Park
Established in 1944 on 32 acres of fertile farmland in the area known as the Redlands, this park offers more than 500 varieties of exotic and subtropical fruit, nut, spice and herb trees and shrubs. There are daily guided tours and naturalist workshops, plus a gourmet and fruit gift store.
24801 SW 187 Avenue, Homestead. Phone: (305) 247-5727

The Gold Coast Railroad Museum
Actual historic railroad cars are on display on a half-mile of real track, also on display authentic engines, Pullmans and dining cars. The museum features the FERDINAND MAGELLAN, one of America’s most luxurious private railroad cars, built in the 1930s for President Franklin Roosevelt. It is now a designated National Historic Landmark.
12450 SW 152 Street, Miami. Phone: (305) 253-0063

Pelican Harbor Seabird Station
A non-Profit organization dedicated to rehabilitating and releasing injured seabirds in the Biscayne Bay area. Tour the facility from dawn to dusk, no charge. Donations are greatly accepted.
1275 NE 79th Street Causeway, Miami. Phone: (305) 751-9840

Everglades Safari Park
Daily guided Airboat Rides deep into the heart of the Florida Everglades. It also features an educational, interactive Alligator and Wildlife Show, a Jungle Trail through the park, a Crocodile Exhibit and more. Open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.
26700 SW 8th Street, Miami. Phone: (305) 226-6923

Island Queen Cruises
One of the oldest sightseeing tour boat attractions is South Florida. Over 35 years of experience providing daily narrated sightseeing cruises and nightly dance cruises with entertainment by their professional DJs on Miami’s scenic Biscayne Bay. Large tour groups and convention groups are welcome.
401 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami (Located in the interior of Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami). Phone: (305) 379-5119