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Miami South Beach

Miami South Beach, 3-20 days September - April  More Pictures  |  More Info

We’ve been to Miami South Beach a couple of times before. And even though we are not twenty something anymore we still feel comfortable being part of the crowd either in our swimsuits or in a nightclub. What you might think as the stereotypical South Beach local or vacationer and reality are quite opposite. Yes, there are good-looking people walking around. But equally are the normal everyday people on the beach, walking the streets, and in the clubs too. And you don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy a vacation in South Beach. If you want to experience something different then this is your destination. Miami South Beach is really all about being outside either in the blue Atlantic Ocean or walking the shops, restaurants and galleries.


picture of hotels on miami south beach

We parked on at 6th Street and Ocean Drive within the Lummus Park area. We arrived at about 9 a.m. so we were able to get a parking spot. There are restrooms and showers available at a few locations within the park. We walked on the beach to South Pointe Park. It is a great park with a big grassy area, a playground, splash area for the kids to have fun in and a hill for great views of the ocean, Fisher Island, Dodge Island and downtown Miami. Cruise ships, cargo vessels, speed boats and jet skis are constantly going through the inlet. We saw a lot of people riding rental bikes on the paths. Bicycling is a great way to see Miami South Beach. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park has some of the best snorkeling and diving reefs. The blue-green waters of south Florida are truly inviting. And because of the shallow waters you can always see the floor of the ocean and that makes most people feel more comfortable about snorkeling in the open ocean.

parking on ocean drive in miami south beach picture

Above: Picture shows what parking is like along Ocean Drive in Miami South Beach. There are several bathroom and shower areas for beachgoers along this road. It is metered parking and your best bet is to pay for 6 hours or longer so you can get enough beach time in, clean up and walk the the streets for shopping and eating.

Ocean Drive is the most crowded and popular spot in South Miami. During the busiest times there is nonstop traffic jams throughout Miami Beach and it doesn't’t end there. Sometimes even walking on the sidewalk is like a contact sport/obstacle course. Because all of the cafes and restaurants have tables and chairs set up street side, it becomes difficult to move effortlessly. Then there is the addition of thousands of people all wanting to be in the same place at the same time. From lunchtime to club time, it’s bumper to bumper if you know what I mean. Throughout the streets there are lots of bicyclers, pedestrians and not so perfect drivers and that can make it hard to drive and sightsee at the same time.

picture at south pointe park in miami south beach

Above: Picture taken at South Pointe Park with kids playing on splash pad and the hill where you can see great views of South Miami Beach and downtown Miami.

Just because Miami South Beach has the word beach in it does not mean that clubs and restaurants don’t have dress codes. They want everybody in their establishments to be dressed to the 9’s. I strongly suggest your day consists of a nap before dinner and clubbing it. Even if you aren’t into bar hopping you might find yourself curious so dress appropriately just in case. In south Florida, the next stop on your bucket list is probably Key West. Now, this is one destination where casual is accepted all day and all night at clubs, bars and restaurants. On your Florida Keys Vacation high heels and neck ties would look out of place.

picture of food trucks in park in hollywood florida

Above: Picture taken at Arts Park in Hollywood Florida. Food trucks where lined up one evening and all the locals were out.

picture of inlet park in miami south beach

Above: Picture taken on path at the end of Miami South Beach and along inlet of South Pointe Park. On the left are condos in Fischer Island. In the distance is downtown Miami.

Some tips about shopping. Ocean Drive has most of the clubs and restaurants and is also the location of the iconic pastel-hued art deco buildings. One block west from Ocean Drive is the souvenir and clothing stores. Now if you continue further away from the ocean on your shopping journey you will notice that the prices become more affordable. We discovered this the hard way. There are high-end name brand stores along these streets, middle class retailers as well as low-end souvenir and clothing stores and lets not forget about the tacky. If you are looking for lightweight island type Miami attire these are your streets. On the other side of the coin, the people you see on television shop at Bal Harbour Shops. It is an outdoor mall but looks nothing like one. Basically the roof is nonexistent revealing blue skies and palm trees. The inside is comfortable and breezy with koi ponds, fountains and gardens from one end to the other. It’s like walking through a tropical garden flanked with windows of beautiful clothes, shoes and jewelry.

picture taken on jetty in miami south beach

Above: Picture taken at the end of jettys in Miami South Beach.

All parking is metered. That’s the nature of any city that is overcrowded and a popular destination year round. The ocean is calm with beautiful turquoise waters with a wide beach that actually gives you a work out just getting to the water’s edge. All shapes and sizes of people as well as all types of bathing suits or not can be seen here. Did you get that? Or not, referring to the bathing suit. Because of the European influence in South Beach you might come across either a clothing optional area or you just might see some people with their tops off along any of the beaches. It is quite normal nowadays. There is a nice boardwalk from 21st Street to 46th Street, which is about two miles. And although the official boardwalk ends at 21st Street the walking/sightseeing does not because it continues via sidewalk. In total you’re looking at four miles worth of pedestrian friendly paved paths one way in Miami South Beach.

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