There is no doubt that Miami is a popular place. In fact, in 2015, it registered a total of over 9.2 million arrivals (via the Miami International Airport), maintaining its ranking as one of the world’s most visited destinations. In addition to its mesmerizing sunshine-rich climate, this seaport city in south Florida’s main claim to fame are its incredible 35 miles of shorelines, which starts from the tip of South Beach north to Sunny Isles, then goes around Key Biscayne and a number of other pristine islands in the Atlantic.
Miami’s numerous beaches are as many and diverse as the city’s tourists: There are beaches for swimming, communing with nature, and socializing. There are also beaches specifically geared to families, seniors, and gay singles; some make you completely forget that you’re in the city, while others are flanked by towering condominiums and world-class hotels. If you can’t be satisfied with a short beach vacation in Miami, settling in a neighborhood might be your best course of action. Below, we’ve compiled the 12 best Miami neighborhoods near beaches. Take your pick and remember to pack all your swimsuits!
More commonly known as SoFi, South of Fifth is an exclusive neighborhood in South Beach that covers South Pointe Park north up to fifth street, going from east to west. Surrounded by pristine waters on three sides, SoFi is a peaceful oasis with convenient access to many of South Beach’s most prominent spots.
Many people don’t know that SoFi used to be an awful area where many criminals have settled, but – thanks to visionaries who took the risk and invested in this land, the area has become one of the most desirable neighborhoods for the wealthy of Miami. It is home to South Pointe Park, a 17-acre park and promenade that features a children’s area, wide lawns that are perfect for outings, walkways for running or jogging, and — of course — easy access to the gorgeous beach.
SoFi also has one of South Beach’s most historic restaurants: Smith & Wollensky. There are a number of other top-rated restaurants in this area, such as Prime 112, Joe’s Stone Crab, and Prime Italian. Because of this neighborhood’s amazing reputation, SoFi has become the site of some of Miami Beach’s most luxurious condo residences, such as Portofino Tower, Glass, Apogee South Beach, Murano Grande, Murano at Portofino, South Pointe Tower, Ocean House, and the Yacht Club At Portofino. Partyphiles would be pleased to know that SoFi also has South Beach’s biggest and toniest mega-nightclub: Story. It offers nearly 30,000 square feet of state-of-the-art party-all-night space.
An exclusive island enclave that is a popular residence of foreigners and retirees, Key Biscayne is dotted with modern condo communities as well as single-family homes. It is connected to Miami via the Rickenbacker Causeway, and is considered as the best Miami Metro suburb to raise a family at.
Despite high real estate prices, Key Biscayne continues to attract many families due to its free public schools, central location, and neighborhood safety. It has a large family-friendly public beach at Crandon Park, which also happens to be its largest and most popular beach. This park is open to the public 365 days a year, and offers volleyball courts, eco-adventure tours, self-guided nature tours, kayak rentals, and bird and butterfly walks.
Besides Crandon Park, other popular beaches in Key Biscayne include Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Virginia Key Beach, and Hobie Beach. A number of high-end condo residences have also mushroomed in this lovely neighborhood, one of which is the luxurious Oceana-Key Biscayne, which has 500 feet of spectacular beach front property. Other sought-after condos in the area include Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne Residences, Commodore Club, Towers of Key Biscayne, Key Colony, Mar Azul, Ocean Club Resort Villas, Sands of Key Biscayne, Casa del Mar, and Ocean Club Key Biscayne. The Grand Bay Residences, Ocean Club Lake Villa, and Grand Bay Tower also offer some of the most upmarket and fully furnished condo residences in Key Biscayne.
Bal Harbour is regarded as the safest neighborhood in the Miami Beach area. It is an increasingly popular residential neighborhood, thanks to its great lineup of schools and close proximity to beaches. It also has a number of shopping malls and many other amenities and spots that both Miami residents and tourists will appreciate. Its most upscale shopping mall is the open-air Bal Harbour Shops, which features more than 100 shops, including luxury department stores Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. The mall’s impressive line of designer boutiques include Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Chloe, Carolina Herrera, Balenciaga, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Jimmy Choo, Tod’s, and Giuseppe Zanotti. It is surrounded by palm trees, koi ponds, tropical flowers, and limestone and marble fountains.
Since it was developed in the 1950s, Bal Harbour has maintained its luxurious ambiance. It has several resort beaches, such as the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, ONE Bal Harbour Resort & Spa, and the Sea View Hotel. Meanwhile, Haulover Beach Park offers several picnic areas, a marina, and a couple of tennis courts. And do note that Miami Beach is officially a hot spot, offering 95 percent of free wi-fi coverage outdoors (and 70 percent indoors) throughout the city – even on the sand.
Some of the most talked-about bars and restaurants in the Bal Harbour neighborhood are the Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort’s Fresco Beach Bar & Grill and The St. Regis Bar & Sushi Lounge, Sandbar Lounge, SkyBar, and Venezia Lounge.
A barrier island in between the Atlantic and Intracoastal Waterway, Sunny Isles Beach projects a casual vibe that invites anyone in. The neighborhood, which used to be lined with motels built in the 1950s, has been giving way to a string of high-rise and mid-rise luxury condo buildings and hotels in the recent decades.
Frequently referred to as Florida’s Riviera, Sunny Isles is a Miami seaside community with an assembly of international residents. They can enjoy many types of adventures at the neighborhood’s decades-old Newport Fishing Pier, the Intracoastal Waterway at Haulover Beach Park, as well as the Oleta River State Park. The Dezer Collection in Sunny Isles Beach is a one-of-a-kind automobile museum that boasts over 1,200 vehicles, including a Batmobile and several cars from James Bond movies. The neighborhood’s main street, Collins Avenue, has a wide assortment of stores and world-famous restaurants, as well.
Some of the neighborhood’s most upscale condos are the 400 Sunny Isles, Mansions at Acqualina, Jade Beach, Jade Ocean, Ocean One/Two/Three/Four, Oceania I/II/III/IV/V, Pinnacle, Trump Palace, Trump Royale, and Turnberry Ocean Colony North. Sunny Isles’s most luxurious condo building is currently Regalia Miami, where a unit sells from a minimum of $9.5 million and can go up to a whopping $35 million.
Palmetto Bay is a family-friendly neighborhood that is often called the “Village of Parks.” This coastal community takes pride in its unlimited recreational land for running, picnicking, and all sorts of other interesting activities. From Palmetto Bay, you can easily drive to The Everglades, Zoo Miami, or the Deering Estate. There are many lake homes in this neighborhood, and should you get a pool, you’re guaranteed to have tons of water adventures – with the ocean, lake, and pool for your pleasure.
There are a variety of well-liked restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines in this neighborhood. Some of the most popular ones are Alaine’s Osteria (Italian), Caribbean Delite Restaurant (Trinidadian), Asian Fusion Cafe (Thai/Asian fusion), Yoko’s Japanese & Sushi Bar (Japanese), Sango’s Jamaican & Chinese Restaurant (Chinese/Caribbean), Pho Thang Restaurant (Vietnamese), Saffron Indian Cuisine (Indian), La Mora Italiana (Italian), China Gourmet (Chinese), and Marie Patties (Caribbean).
Surfside is an appealing little beachfront town covers a mile-long beach from 88th Street to 96th Street. With its culturally diverse restaurants, world-class boutiques, and quaint bistros, the neighborhood draws in thousands of people year after year. Just to its south, the North Shore State Recreation Area offers a beachfront nature preserve as well as a wide picnic area. Incorporated in 1935, Surfside takes pride in its many Art Deco style homes and streets named after renowned writers and poets, such as Abbott, Byron, Carlyle and Dickens.
Surfside’s expansive, white sands are encircled by luxury high-rise buildings and several high-end hotels. It also has several beach resorts, such as the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside and the Solara Surfside Hotel. Luxury residences also abound in this area, including The Surf Club Four Seasons Private Residences (which offers 9 acres of oceanfront gardens, palm stands, and pathways), Fendi Chateau Residences (which is designed by Fendi and feature Fendi Casa Kitchens with custom Fendi Casa cabinets), and Eighty Seven Park (which sits on an oceanfront 3-acre lot, 1 acre of which is for residences while 2 acres are dedicated to a private park).
Regarded as one of the most luxurious and exclusive man-made islands in South Beach (SoBe), Palm Island is lined with unique and magnificent residences in a variety of styles, from Art Deco and Miami Modernism to Mediterranean classic. Encircled by the Biscayne Bay, the neighborhood is considered a home of boating fans, with many residences having their own yacht. The nature-surrounded area boasts of its well-heeled residents and is quite known for having served as the home of infamous Al Capone.
Palm Island is guarded 24/7 and is connected to the Hibiscus Island. They share a park with a basketball court, children’s playground, tennis courts, and racquetball courts. With its exclusive and charming homes, as well as its close proximity to popular areas (such as South Beach and Downtown Miami), Palm Island lets you enjoy the best of South Florida.
Palm Beach has a string of restaurants offering a wide selection of international cuisines. Some of those that serve exquisite American cuisine are Buccan, The Circle at The Breakers, The Seafood Bar, Ta-boo Restaurant, Flagler Steakhouse, Leopard Lounge & Restaurant, and Palm Beach Grill. There are those serving foreign dishes, as well, such as HMF (Spanish), Cafe Boulud (French), and Renato’s (Italian). The majority of condominiums in this neighborhood are low-rise, and include Bay Villa, Beach Villa, and Palm Island Village units.