Miami is famous for many things, but chief among them are great gay beaches, offering soft sand, sea breezes. crystal clear water and men in speedos, lots of men in lots of speedos. In fact, the beaches in the area are so great and so plentiful, that it’s hard to know where to start.
As the long weekend beckons, here’s a guide to finding the best… (Hint: Try them all.)
1. 12th Street Beach
Check out the social scene on South Beach’s 12th Street Beach, marked by two large gay pride flags, and you’ll have at least part of your answer to the question. This intimate section of the beach flanks famed Ocean Drive and is located within walking distance to restaurants and shopping. Join a game of beach volleyball or soak up some rays and do a lotta people-watching.
It’s the beach you’ve seen on the big screen and read about in luxury travel magazines. South Beach stretches from the South Pointe Park Beach all the way to Collins Park on 21st and 22nd Streets, where you’ll find the Bass Museum of Art and the W South Beach.
Head a little farther up the coast and you’ll be on Miami Beach’s central stretch of sand, spanning from Collins Park to Indian Beach Park around 46th Street, near the iconic Fontainebleau Miami Beach. This area is famous for towering beachfront resorts and features an elevated boardwalk that’s great for a jog with a water view. This beach tends to offer a more laid back vibe than the always busy South Beach.
Twenty minutes north of South Beach, Haulover Beach Park is another popular sandy paradise. Famed for it’s clothing-optional policy, this beach is just as well liked with locals as it is with tourists. In fact, it’s a great place to get to know a local–or five.
This 1.5 mile beach is located north of Miami Beach, between the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean. The park regularly hosts kite-making workshops and sells kites to fly in a big grassy area facing Biscayne Bay. There’s a tennis center, golf course and dog park, too.
3. North Shore
After 46th Street, you’re in the northern part of Miami Beach, which stretches up to the North Shore Open Space Park near 79th street. Enjoy free movies under the stars at the North Shore Park Bandshell located at 7275 Collins Avenue. It’s also the home of the Miami Beach Food Truck & Music Fest, featuring free entertainment and music on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 5 to 10 p.m.
4. Sunny Isles Beach
Check out the pier at Sunny Isles Beach, located further north on Collins Avenue. Built in 1936, it is the only traditional pier in the area for fishing. Walk out to the end and enjoy the quiet atmosphere picturesque views. Sunny Isles boasts a two-mile long white sand beach. Beach-goers enjoy the wide sandy beach and clear waters popular for snorkeling an diving. There are many small cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a quick meal and a cool drink after spending the day in the sun.
5. Key Biscayne Beaches
Head back down south to one of the public beaches on Key Biscayne. Captured in hundreds of TV commercials and glossy magazine photoshoots, Crandon Park Beach is a gorgeous stretch of sand dotted with tropical palm trees. The beach at Bill Baggs State Park is low-key and romantically picturesque, complete with a lighthouse.
Crandon Beach is one of Miami’s greatest park treasures. A beautiful, sprawling campus of beaches and amenities, Crandon Park is more than a beach: There’s a Family Amusement Center, a Nature Center and even a place to rent cabanas.
Gear up for a friendly game of beach volleyball or unpack your picnic and bring some supplies for the on-site grills. Be sure to explore the ecosystems at Crandon Park, including dunes, mangroves, coastal hammock and sea grass beds. The Nature Center is home to exotic plants, rare fish and wildlife, and Bear Cut Preserve, a natural Environment Study Area. Take a tour with a naturalist and explore all that this hotbed has to offer.
Wherever you decide to put your towel down, Miami’s beautiful beaches are a great place to relax and have fun.
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