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Looking for a city beach for people-watching and partying? Visit South Beach. Located on the lowest third of Miami Beach, Florida, the island between the Atlantic and Biscayne Bay, it's only 15 minutes from Miami International Airport.

Lifeguard at Art Deco hut
Lifeguard at Art Deco hut
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Action is non-stop on the wide, 16-kilometre beach, starting with early morning fashion shoots for catalogs, commercials and ads.

Sunbathers (some topless) spread out towels. Seniors carry in folding chairs and umbrellas. Couples stroll hand-in-hand. Teens play volleyball. Children frolic in the gentle surf as boats and jet-skiers ply the blue water. Lifeguards supervise swimmers from whimsical Art Deco patrol huts.

Breezes are salty and sultry. South Beach temperatures hover around 20 degrees C. in winter and 27 degrees C. in summer.

South Beach hotels

Across a grassy meridian, studded with palm trees, rollerbladers share a pink sidewalk with joggers, dog-walkers and parents pushing strollers. Bordering it is Ocean Drive, packed with limos, Harleys, rental cars and Hummers. But there's no need to drive. Everything in South Beach is within walking distance.

To the west, are the hotels, restaurants and shops of the Art Deco Historic District. Buildings, the color of strawberry, pistachio and vanilla ice cream, boast portholes, palm tree bas-reliefs and jutting 'eyebrows' that block the sun.

Interspersed with the Art Deco architecture are red-roofed Mediterranean Revival buildings. Many resemble European villas. It's not surprising that South Beach is called "America's Riviera."

Miami Beach rollerbladers
Miami Beach rollerbladers
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

South Beach restaurants

After sunset, pink, blue and lime green neon glows. The energy and excitement are palpable. Conversations in a dozen languages merge with music from street side cafés. Candles glimmer from tables. Aromas waft along Ocean Drive.

South Beach clubs open after 11 p.m. Locals, visitors and celebrities party in the trendy clubs until 5 a.m. Alive day and night, South Beach is the place to see and be seen.


Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau: www.miamiandbeaches.com

More things to see and do in the Miami area:

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Miami Tours

Little Havana Miami - Cigars, Dominoes and Carnival

Moving to Miami to Live, Work, Play

Miami Luxury Hotels

Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook