We’re not short on gorgeous beaches here, but some slices of shoreline are just too touristy for us locals. We’re going to let you in on a secret, though: Miami is home to a bundle of hidden patches of sand that even the most die-hard tourists don’t know about. From Key Biscayne to North Miami, grab your favorite bikini and your floppiest hat for a weekend of sun, sand and serenity.
NORTH SHORE OPEN SPACE PARK
Sometimes you just need some peace and quiet away from the SoBe crowds. Hidden behind lush mangroves, this spot offers a stunning backdrop of clear blue waters and silky beige sand.
Best way to get there: Once you’re on Collins Avenue, park in an adjacent lot anywhere from 78th Street to 87th Terrace.
HAULOVER BEACH PARK
Forgo towering skyscrapers for acres of open shoreline. Set up shop with a chair, a cooler and a stylish umbrella. If you’re feeling free-spirited, make your way over to the neighboring clothing-optional area. Bikini or not, it’s one of the most private beaches in town.
Best way to get there: This might be the only time you won’t have to worry about parking in Miami. Haulover has multiple lots with hundreds of spots ($5 during the week and $7 on weekends).
BILL BAGGS CAPE FLORIDA STATE PARK
What? The oldest standing building in Miami-Dade County? That’s right. The lone lighthouse, built in 1825 at the end of this state park, is the perfect scene for a seaside sunset. Come a few hours early to lie on the gorgeously soft sand, reminiscent of that private island you’ve been dreaming of. Staycation? Check.
Best way to get there: Drive to the end of Key Biscayne to find the park’s entrance. A few steps away from the parking lot, it’ll be just you and acres of open sand.
OLETA RIVER STATE PARK
If tanning makes you yawn, try Oleta. It’s an adventurer’s beach where you can bike, kayak and fish. Rent all of your equipment on site and get ready to cast away. But if your bestie still insists on tanning, don’t worry—she can do that, too. (But seriously, wear sunscreen.)
Best way to get there: It’s right off 163rd Street in North Miami, so you’ll need a car (or an Uber) to get there. For $6, snag all-day parking anywhere in the park.
MATHESON HAMMOCK PARK
Set up shop on the main beach or head over to that tiny strip of serenity if you want some alone time. In either case, bring a towel, pick your favorite spot and stay long enough to catch a glorious sunset.
Best way to get there: It’s right off Old Cutler Road. Ride your bike a few miles to the beach or drive and park in a nearby lot.