lighthouse

Plan an outdoor escape to Bill Baggs. (Photo: Getty Images)

Miami

Better Than South Beach? A Guide to Miami’s Most Picture-Perfect Beaches

Most travelers to Miami assume the only stretch of sand on which they can wiggle their toes is the crowded (though stunning) shores of South Beach. Though the masses do flock to SoBe, it’s far from the Magic City’s only — or even best — coastline. Dig a little deeper to discover Miami’s most stunning beaches.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Sunbathe at Bill Baggs Cape

Home to a picturesque lighthouse built in 1825, visitors flock to the sandy shores of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park for a day of sunbathing, fishing, kayaking, biking and picnicking. Take a guided tour through the iconic lighthouse before stopping for lunch at the Lighthouse Café, which offers authentic Cuban cuisine.

Lounge in Luxury at Bal Harbour Beach

Venture a few miles up north from Miami Beach and experience a stretch of white sand and blue surf at the beach in tony Bal Harbour. Stroll the mile-long palm-shaded jogging path, or shop at one of Bal Harbour’s elegant boutiques before lunching at a nearby cafe. When looking for the most luxurious beach experiences that Miami offers, Bal Harbour is a Florida gem.

Uncover Ecosystems at Crandon Park in Miami

Play along the dunes and explore the plethora of ecosystems supporting the wildlife at Crandon Park. Miami is home to a variety of fauna and Crandon Park is one the best places to explore. Chase butterflies, observe herons, and point out ospreys as they soar through the sky, or carefully seek out sea turtle nests.

Take a tour with Miami-Dade Parks’ naturalists for an exclusive look into South Floridian wildlife. Afterwards, play in the surf and find out why Crandon Park is host to one of the best beaches in the area. Hungry? Stop by one of their many concession stands and eat at a shaded picnic table. Bring your favorite racket and spike balls over the net at one of 26 tennis courts, or give your putter a chance to play on Crandon’s 18-hole golf course.

Bring Your Furry Friend to Halouver Park Beach in Florida

For a beach with open ocean surf, gorgeous coastal vegetation and a dog-friendly attitude, Haulover Beach is your scene. Rent a bike, pack a picnic or take your furry pal to the Bark Park, which is open every day from 8 a.m. to sunset featuring drinking fountains (for both humans and their companions), shady spots under trees and picnic tables. Take note: a stretch of the beach is clothing optional.