On a gorgeous October Sunday afternoon, the blue sky and radiant sunshine spread across Miami as people wore smiles and golden brown skin as they headed to the beach. This was a perfect day to spend on South Beach.
Soft, white sand sifts through your toes. Lifeguard stands and bikini bodies grace the umbrella and beach chair lined stretch of paradise. Going for a walk on South Beach isn’t even exercise. It’s beauty, art, and stimulation for the eyes.
However, you can’t spend all your time on South Beach. And here are a few reasons why.
5 places to explore in Miami other than South Beach
I am not a big fan of the beach. Maybe it’s my fair skin, disdain for sand in inconvenient places, or growing up in a touristy destination like Myrtle Beach. So when I visit paradise beach destinations, I find other things to do.
Quite honestly, I like finding other stuff – like that time I shared 8 things to do in Kauai when you’re not hanging out on the beach.
I like connecting with a place. I enjoy telling stories. I found 7 places in Europe that tell a story. One of my favorite countries is Slovenia.
So if you need someone who will help you find places away from sun, sand, and beautiful beaches, I’m your man.
Presenting exhibit #1
Ever seen a wild party like this at a football game? So this is some of the crazy stuff that I get to do on my College Football Travel Tour – meeting Irish people, hanging out with a 60 foot cowboy called Big Tex (who recently burned to the ground), and shirtless tailgates with drunk college kids under palm trees at a football game.
So if you want to see a different side of Miami away from the beaches, food, and partying on South Beach, here are a few places to explore.
1. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Located a few miles south of South Beach in Coconut Grove, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens takes you back in time to a different era in Florida history. The former estate of American Industrialist James Deering introduces you to an elegant, tropical home with treasures from around the world. This stately house features decorated rooms and elaborate gardens with views of the water you won’t see anywhere else.
2. Dinner with a view
Without a doubt, Miami is an international food destination. In my Miami travel guide for Expedia, I recommend a number of places to eat on your visit. However, you don’t need to dine in South Beach for a great meal.
Actually, I recommend getting away from the beach and find good food with jaw dropping views. At the Rusty Pelican in Key Biscayne, small plate dishes, drinks, and dessert are moderately priced but delicious. However, many people come here for the views. So enjoy your croquetas and cheesecake while you feast on the Miami skyline.
3. Watching the sunset over Miami
Sure, you can get a great view of the sun setting on South Beach. However, head south to the Rickenbacker Causeway to get your own quiet piece of paradise on Key Biscayne. Hobie Beach and Virginia Key Beach offer views of downtown Miami and a sunset over the water located just off the highway.
A couple embraced and held each other while watching the sunset here. I enjoyed my own piece of white sand paradise as the sun set over the water. I listened to music as the sun, clouds, and sky put on a show of spectacular color. This was the most peaceful moment of my entire week.
4. Let the lighthouse be your guide
At the southern tip of Key Biscayne is Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Along the windswept shores and sand dunes lies the Cape Florida lighthouse. This lighthouse has been here since the early 1800s and now serves as a beacon of history on the Florida coast. This beach has been featured as one of the top 10 beaches in the country.
However, this beach is more than just a popular destination for beachgoers. Walk or bike along the paths. Daydream from the short piers as you lose yourself in the surf and scenery. While locals love this park, this can be a great place to get away and enjoy being outside.
5. Sit under the palm trees
While palm trees may be a symbol of Miami, one beach gives you all the palm trees you could ever want. Crandon Park is home to beaches filled with palm trees scattered throughout the sandy beaches. This place is a favorite among locals with picnic areas and kite boarding.
While you can enjoy a day at the beach, you can also get some exercise, connect with locals, or enjoy a picnic. While this stretch of sand is just a few miles away from South Beach, the palm trees welcome to you an island oasis.
There’s more to Miami than South Beach
Without a doubt, South Beach is a must see stop on your visit to Miami. If you get tired of the powdery white sand and pristine waters, rent a bike to people watch, enjoy muscular men working out, shop and dine on Ocean Drive or Collins Avenue, or play a game of volleyball.
However, Miami is more than just South Beach. Experience a different side of the city without straying too far from the shoreline. If you love views of the water, enjoy it somewhere other than South Beach with your own escape in Miami.