Soaked in sun and glamour, South Beach is one of Miami, Florida’s most popular tourist destinations. This fun, relaxed area offers plenty to do, whether you’re in town for a family vacation or planning a getaway with friends. As you choose from numerous South Beach vacation rentals, you can rest assured that many properties are situated close to these great local attractions.

south beach skyline
Source: Flickr/Alan Light

1. Relax on the Beach

No visit to South Beach is complete without a few hours at the city’s spectacular white-sand beach. Easily the most popular of the local attractions, this enormous beach has something for everyone. Get a tan in style with a beach chair rental from Boucher Brothers, or sit at the water’s edge to play in the waves with the kids. If you’re feeling active, join a pickup game of sand volleyball on one of the local courts.

2. Ride the Waves

Skip over the waves with a Jet Ski rental from local businesses such as American Water Sports and Jet Ski South Beach. Choose from models that seat between one to three people and take your group for a wild ride. If you’re not confident on your own, both companies offer guided tours of the local area, so an experienced professional is always in reach.

3. Explore Lincoln Road

Enjoy the buzz on Lincoln Road, one of South Beach’s most popular shopping and dining areas. Grab a luxury coffee from Nespresso of Miami Beach and head out into the pedestrian mall. Stop into stores such as Madewell and Lush, or buy something sweet from Dylan’s Candy Bar. When you need a break, sit under an umbrella at Pizza Rustica for a meal and fantastic people-watching.

4. Wander Through the Jewish Museum of Florida

Explore a fascinating slice of South Beach history at the Jewish Museum of Florida. Learn why Jewish people came to the state starting in the 1700s, see photos of historic celebrations, and learn about the rituals and traditions of the faith through engaging exhibits that are accessible for the whole family. The museum also hosts regular demonstrations and talks on topics ranging from photojournalism to challah making.

5. Fish From the South Pointe Park Pier

Enjoy fishing with an ocean view at the South Pointe Park Pier, which is just minutes from vacation rentals in the southern end of the city. Bring your rod and tackle box and cast off the pier; the area is known among local fishermen as a hot spot for Spanish mackerel. If you forgot your gear, stop by the Sector 7 Marine Store at the nearby Miami Beach Marina to stock up. While you’re at the pier, keep an eye out for the enormous cruise ships that sail through the channel to the open ocean.

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6. Take an Art Deco Walking Tour

South Beach is famous for its spectacular Art Deco architecture; learn more about this and other styles, including Mediterranean Revival and Miami Modern on one of the Miami Design Preservation League’s daily walking tours. Over the course of 90 minutes, an experienced guide shows off examples of each style and offers a close-up look at multiple interiors.

7. Explore a Botanical Garden

Get a glimpse at rare tropical plants and brilliantly colored flowers at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. Admission to this urban oasis is free, and the 2.6-acre grounds overflow with specimens such as the ylang-ylang tree and orchids. Don’t miss the relaxing Japanese garden or the fascinating edible garden, where you can see pineapples, figs, and pomegranates in various stages of growth.

8. Take a Boat Tour

See South Beach and its surroundings from the sea aboard a boat cruise. Go from driving on land to floating on water aboard a Miami Duck Tours amphibious boat, or see how the other half lives on a tour of local mansions with Island Queen Cruises. If you’re after an adrenaline rush, take a high-speed ride with Jetboat Miami or Thriller Miami.

9. Attend the Symphony

Get dressed up for an evening concert at the New World Symphony. The organization hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, many featuring special soloists from around the world. Marvel at the ultra-modern venues in the New World Center, or opt for a more relaxed evening with an outdoor concert in the adjacent SoundScape Park.

10. Hang Out at a Rooftop Bar

Experience South Beach’s legendary nightlife with a visit to Highbar. This rooftop bar offers views of the ocean on one side and sparkling city lights on the other. Sip a cocktail next to the pool during the day for a relaxed experience, or come after dark for dancing, music, and some of the best people-watching in the area.

11. Visit Jungle Island

Interact with adorable lemurs or pose with a parrot on Jungle Island. This family-friendly spot features a variety of animal exhibits, many designed to encourage interaction. Head to the petting barn to feed farm animals, or watch trainers teach orangutans at Orangutan School.

12. Check Out the Miami Children’s Museum

If you’re visiting South Beach with little ones, the Miami Children’s Museum is a fantastic place to get out of the sun. Here, kids can measure their long jump in the Health and Wellness room, make a masterpiece in the All About Art area, or take the navigational controls in the Cruise Ship exhibit.

13. View Modern Art

Explore mind-boggling modern art at the Art Center South Florida. This world-class facility features rotating exhibitions from edgy artists, each designed to provoke your imagination. If you want to learn more, attend one of the center’s regular artist talks for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the artistic process.

14. Watch an Outdoor Movie

Kick back in SoundScape Park for an outdoor movie with the City of Miami Beach’s SoundScape Cinema Series. Once per week, the city broadcasts a family-friendly film on the wall of the New World Center; check the schedule in advance for times and titles. Pick up ice cream from nearby Haagen-Dazs on the way and set up a blanket on the lawn for a fun, free evening.

15. Learn to Paddle Board

Paddle through South Beach’s calm, protected waterways with a paddle board rental from Miami Beach Paddle Board. Located on the west side of town, the rental shop makes it easy to explore the Sunset Islands channels right from the launch point. Alternatively, book the Sunset Glow Tour, which uses LED-illuminated boards to light up the water for a fun, unusual twist.

 
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