Free Things To Do in Miami Beach
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With nicknames like "America's Riviera" and the "Art Deco Playground," it's no wonder so many people flock to South Beach. Travelers see South Beach not only as one of the best vacation areas in Florida, but as one of the best in the country. Popular perception has somewhat pigeonholed the area as being reserved exclusively for the young and beautiful and 24-hour partiers, but that's not necessarily the case. The truth is that South Beach welcomes anyone looking for pristine sand, amazing food and yes, a buzzing nightlife.
The options are limitless: you can spend the whole day shopping at boutiques, getting pampered at an opulent spa or just strolling along Ocean Drive. Families can take the kids over to see the animals at Jungle Island or to play at the Miami Children's Museum for some educational fun. South Beach also hosts numerous festivals and events, including volleyball tournaments, Art Deco Weekend and music and art shows.
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One of the most famous boulevards in the city, the country, or maybe even the world, Ocean Drive is characterized by its distinct art deco buildings, its constant streams of crowds and its glittering hotel and club fronts in the nighttime. Suffice it to say that you're truly blessed if you've booked a hotel along Ocean Drive because you're guaranteed to be in the thick of things. Shopping, dining, beach activities and more are all within a comfortable walking distance.
Travelers say the best way to experience Ocean Drive is just by walking down the street, taking in the expertly decorated hotel and storefronts and snapping some photos along the way. Day or night, visitors say you'll find something to do along Ocean Drive, whether it's dining in an upscale restaurant, grabbing a cocktail at a rooftop bar or dancing the night away at one of the clubs. Though, many warn that partaking in the revelry of food and drink along Ocean Drive does come with a high price tag.
- #4View all PhotosfreeLummus Park#4 in Miami BeachBeaches, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDRead More
This is the beach and park area that fulfills all of South Beach's stereotypes. Fit sunbathers, bikini-loving celebrities, supermodels (often occupied with a photo shoot) – all of the above crash on the beige-colored sand here, which runs along Ocean Drive from about 5th Street to 15th Street. Volleyball nets, beach gear rental kiosks and restrooms dot the area as well. The grassy stretch between Ocean Drive and the beach features plenty of palm trees and a winding paved pathway that attracts runners, bikers and rollerbladers. (It's also the home of the South Beach Triathlon.) Spending some time here will put you within walking distance of Ocean Drive's many restaurants and bars and allow you to experience the Art Deco District, in addition to the sun and sand.
Recent beachgoers said this area is great for exercise and for relaxation, adding it's also a prime spot for people-watching. Visitors also reported that the beach attendants were friendly and helpful. Some do warn that parking around this area can be a pain to find, though, and suggest walking, biking or grabbing a cab to the park avoid the hassle. Others also advise arriving in the morning to stake your spot in the sand.
- #8View all Photos#8 in Miami BeachParks and Gardens, Recreation, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, Recreation, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDRead More
Located at the southernmost tip of Miami Beach, South Pointe is a 17-acre park that features walking paths, grassy knolls and sweeping views of the ocean. The area also has a playground with water features, and a dog park. There's plenty of seating throughout the park and there are several art and light sculptures throughout. The South Pointe Pier juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and is a popular place to fish. After undergoing a $4.8 million renovation in 2014, the 450-foot-long pier now offers stations for cutting bait and washing fish, recycling bins for fishing line and more seating for additional vantage points of the ocean.
Overall, recent travelers said a stroll through this park and along the pier is enjoyable, with many noting they loved watching both cruise ships and smaller yachts come and go. Reviewers also commented on the stunning views and raved about the many photo ops. Visitors suggest renting bikes to get here and bike through the park, as the parking situation can be frustrating. (Visitors can pick-up and drop bikes at two-bike share locations near the park and pier.) Families also say South Pointe Park, with its grassy areas and playground, is a great spot for kids.
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Located near the intersection of Dade Boulevard and Meridian Avenue, the Holocaust Memorial in South Beach is a moving tribute to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. The idea was conceived by a small group of Holocaust survivors in 1984 and the memorial officially opened to the public in 1990. The site features a series of statues, architectural pieces, a garden of meditation and a memorial wall. The main sculpture features dozens of emaciated people reaching out for help, clinging to one another, that make up an outstretched arm reaching up to the sky.
Recent visitors echo one another, saying that Miami's Holocaust Memorial moved them deeply and caused them to remember the importance of never forgetting the tragedy. Most travelers agree that you should stop by to see the memorial while you're in the area, citing the informative photo panels as ways to learn even more about this terrible event. There is also a brochure for self-guided tours available for a suggested $2 donation.
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