Welcome to the American Riviera, where the waters are always warm, the beaches always occupied by a tanner or two, the palms always lush and the spiked lemonade always cold. South Beach, although often just pushed together with Miami, is a destination all on its own.
The gorgeous weather in this part of Florida makes South Beach a beach-lovers haven all year round. Think Baywatch with less Pamela Anderson and more architecture and intellect. Even the beaches lifeguard stands are part of the area’s art deco architectural history. Take off for South Beach this November with US Airways for only £430 (return, taxes included) for a trip down to South Beach.
South Beach’s beaches
If you think the long stretch of white sand along Ocean Drive is all the same, think again. It runs for 10 city blocks and is the most popular hand out spot in the state (some might even say all of America). For a crack at volleyball, head to Lummus Park. You’ll find a big LGBT crowd at the beach around 12th Street (look for the rainbow flags). The locals mostly amalgamate around 3rd Street (also called SoFi, South of Fifth) for the daily tanning session an to watch the Brazilians play foot volley. Families will feel more at home in the North Beach area.
Top tip: As for parking your Miami car hire while you’re at the beach, opt for a city car park a few blocks back form the coast. It can be a nightmare to find a metered parking place right on the beach and it’ll cost you a pretty penny.
A must: art deco tours
Make time for an art-deco tour while you’re visiting the area. The movement was particularly popular in this area, something you’ll notice right away in the streets. Head to the Art Deco Welcome Centre and book a spot on a 90-minute tour (this is the intellectual part of the trip) led by either a local historian or architect. Alternatively you can take your own tour around the Art Deco District, roughly bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on one side, Alton Road on the other, 6th Street and Dade Boulevard. Don’t miss Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue or Washington Avenue.