Beach Scene

South Beach (SoBe)

Here's what you have all been waiting for. No matter how good the other beaches are, this is what you came for. It's bigger and better than all the other beaches, and it won't let you down.

The two and a half miles (four km.) from Collins Park at 22nd. Street down to South Pointe Park is considered as South Beach, though the 10 block stretch of beach facing Lummus Park is the heart. Collins Park is clearly the artistic corner of SoBe with the world renown Bass Museum of Art, the sparkling new Miami Beach Public Library and headquarters of the acclaimed Miami City Ballet. From here on down the swim wear gets skimpier and their contents more spectacular. Not to say that you won't also see the flabby pallor of the U.S. mid west or northern Europe, but look on that as a contrast to all the beauty around you. Although nude sunbathing is not allowed on Miami Beach, it's obvious that some visitors have not been advised of this fact. Though nudity is rare, toplessnes is not, and failing that, lithesome bodies will be covered by the minimum amount of clothing permitted by law. Keep this in mind if you are bringing younger family members.

The boardwalk ends at 21st. Street, and the new beachwalk commences. Strolling down from Collins Park, you will pass behind (depending if the oceanside is considered front or back) such august hotel properties as The Setai, Shelbourne, The Delano, The National, Ritz Carlton (DiLido), Loews, The Royal Palm and Shore Club. Though tempting, access from the beach is not allowed for non-residents. If you wish to use the bars and restaurants, you must enter from the Collins Avenue side.

At 15th. Street you reach Lummus Park. This is where fabled Ocean Drive commences. Named after the Lummus Brothers, one of the original developers of Miami Beach with Collins and Fisher, they were owners of the section from 14th. down to 6th. street. Their original idea was to extend Ocean Drive all the way up Miami Beach, but after the land slump of the '20's, more avaricious developers took over the reins, building properties directly on the beach at higher values. The only other part of the original plan that still survives is the isolated 2-block Ocean Terrace in North Shore. What a missed opportunity!

Here the Beachwalk is at its most active. Bikers and skaters surge up and down the walk, but are generally considerate of pedestrians. Across the street is the greatest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world. It's an amazing sight, and even more amazing at night with the coloured neon lights outlining the hotels, restaurants and bars along the street. The beach is wider here and at it's most tranquil, with extensive play areas on the landside for sand games such as volleyball, frisbees, sand soccer, etc. Watch out for your feet on hot summer days, as the sand can get scorchingly hot by noon.

The gay beach is located at 12th Street and Ocean Drive. It is not too difficult to find, with the rainbow flags marking the territory between two chair rental spots. Mostly a hangout for men, lesbians and straights camp out here too on occasion. Rent a chair or umbrella from Boucher Brothers or lay a towel in the sand like the locals do.

At 5th street the unimpressive buildings return to hog the beach, but you can stroll on along the beach, past trendy beachside restaurants and two small beachside parks, to the far end at South Pointe Park, overshadowed by what many think are the ugliest high rises on the beach.


Here is a map of the area.

South Beach Map

There is a large pay and display parking lot at Collins Park and limited parking at Pier Park (Nikki Beach Restaurant) and South Pointe Park (Smith and Wollensky Restaurant). There are large city parking buildings on 17th. Street, 16th. street, 13th. street and 7th. street between Collins and Washington, two blocks from the beach. Apart from that, plenty of on-street coin parking meters and pay and display machines.

Bus services
All bus services travel on Washington Avenue, just two short blocks from the beach.
Blue South Beach Trolley Free circular shuttle service from Lincoln Road to South Pointe Park. Every 10 minutes.

Beachwalk with Shower

Distant Ocean Drive from Seashore
South Beach Beachwalk with Shower
Distant Ocean Drive from Seashore

Ocen Drive

Lummus Park
Ocean Drive
Lummus Park

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