Travel Guide •  Miami Beach, Miami

How To Experience The Best Of Miami Beach Through Food, Activities & The Ocean

Last Updated On:  May 27, 2023

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Miami Beach is one of our favorite cities on the east coast. Located on an island in southeastern Florida, it is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Biscayne Bay to the west. Known for its white sandy beaches, delicious food, Art Deco architecture, and awesome activities, get ready for a vacation of a lifetime.

This was our third visit to Miami Beach, but this time we were invited by Experience Miami Beach to capture its magic through the many unique ways we can connect with the water. Our whole itinerary was pre-designed by Experience Miami Beach, starting with our stay at the Royal Palm South Beach.

Working with Experience Miami Beach allowed for a lot of first-time experiences in the world of water sports such as parasailing and jet-skiing, and we loved every second of it. There is just something about pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone to come out stronger than before and being impressed by how much we are capable of. I love when I underestimate myself.

Just like in all of our posts, we like to write about experiences we have actually tried so we can personally recommend them. We have noticed that in the blogging world, a lot of bloggers simply write about random topics just to create content without any personal experience.

Whether you’re visiting Miami as a couple, with friends, or with your family, South Beach is a must! From sunbathing on the pristine beaches of Miami Beach, and jet skiing through Biscayne Bay, to strolling through Española Way to indulge in the best pasta in Miami, there are so many unique ways to experience the best of Miami Beach.

Nash enjoying sunset on the beach next to an art deco lifeguard tower in Miami Beach | Bare Escape
Royal Palm beach umbrellas at Miami Beach | Bare Escape
Sunsets at the Royal Palm Hotel in Miami Beach | Bare Escape
Royal Palm South Beach Miami, a Tribute Portfolio Resort
Faena Hotel Miami Beach | Bare Escape
Faena Hotel Miami Beach

8 of the Best Accommodations in Miami Beach

Before we dive into the best things to do in Miami Beach, let's first find you a place to stay. Below are 8 of our favorites:

Luxury Hotel

1 Hotel South Beach

This historic oceanfront hotel sits 600ft away from the beach and offers a private beach area along with 4 swimming pools and an adult-only rooftop that shouldn't be missed. It is one of the most beautiful rooftops in Miami Beach.

Luxury Hotel

Faena Hotel Miami Beach

This award-winning luxury hotel is located right in the heart of Miami Beach and features stunning suites, a collection of restaurants, private beach club and offers direct access to the beach with adorable lounging chairs. The hotel is known for its unique design features and gourmet dining.

Boutique Hotel

The Goodtime Hotel

This boutique hotel is a dream for any photographer, every nook offers stunning backdrops. Located within a 5-minute walk from Ocean Drive and Lummus Park Beach, this hotel is the perfect base for a perfect vacation in Miami Beach. It features a nice Mediterranean restaurant & bar as well as a day-to-night swim club, Strawberry Moon. There is no better place to enjoy a few drinks in good company than at the art deco pool on the third floor of the hotel.

Boutique Hotel

Esme Miami Beach

Located within the charming and historic Espańola Way, the location is hard to top. The hotel features warm Spanish-Mediterranean architecture and award-winning design. Retreat in a cabana on the roof or unwind poolside while enjoying a crafted sangria.

Luxury Hotel

The Savoy Hotel & Beach Club

The best part about this hotel is the location and the beach club. It is close to restaurants and nightlife but just enough off the beaten path to enjoy a peaceful and quiet vacation. Expect great vibes and music as well as good food and drinks.

Boutique Hotel

Hotel Trouvail Miami Beach

This hotel used to be Pali Society Hotel. Located one block from the beach, this contemporary boutique hotel evokes a Euro-Miami experience with stylish rooms and suites, a secluded outdoor pool, and a quaint ambiance you won't find anywhere else.

Boutique Hotel

The Betsy Hotel

Perfectly located along Miami's famous Ocean Drive, the Betsy offers elegant and quiet accommodations within walking distance to the beach. The hotel features two pools, one in a courtyard and one on the roof, although the hotel is two buildings and only connected through the third floor which was a bit inconvenient. The restaurant is quite famous for its cuisine.

Boutique Hotel

Mondrian Hotel

Mondrian Hotel Miami is a modern waterfront luxury hotel with Residential-Style Suites. The property is minutes from the heart of Miami Beach and home to Baia Beach Club, a stunning open-air restaurant with spectacular views of Miami.

1. Go Paddleboarding

Monday to Sunday 9:30am – 6:00pm

Price: starting from $30 for 1 hour

There are so many ways to experience Miami Beach but if you are looking for a unique way to get in the water then why not rent a paddleboard for an hour or two? We booked a 2-hour rental and loved being able to get some exercise while basking in the sun and experiencing Miami Beach from a totally different perspective.

Choose your adventure. Paddle out to Flager Memorial Island and enjoy the sun on its white sandy beach or weave through the canals of Sunset Islands and admire the beautiful multimillion-dollar houses and yachts. 

Miami Beach Paddleboards is located right on Biscayne Bay so the water is calm and easy to paddle on, so anyone can take out one of their boards no matter the experience.

If you are looking for a unique way to spend some quality time with your friends, we recommend booking their Paddle Board Sunset Glow Tour. This 90 minute guided paddleboarding tour offers incredible views on top of a board that glows in the dark. This could easily turn into a magical sunset experience you will cherish forever.

They also offer more than just paddleboarding, they have kayaks and esurfboards. I know right, I had no idea that electric boards are a thing but this is apparently the new and easy way to surf.

NOTE: Rick one of the owners is amazing and has dry bags available for you to take out free of charge, but I highly recommend buying a waterproof case for your phone.

2. Parasail above the turquoise waters of South Beach

Monday to Sunday 10 am – 5:30 pm

Price: $120 per person (up to 3 people per chute)

Lift off! Adrenaline rushed in as we were hoisted into the sky by a massive parachute. Beneath us, we could see through the turquoise blue waters right to the sea bed. To our left was the ocean as far as the eye could see and to our right were pristine views of South Beach.

Parasailing is a thrilling and exhilarating experience that allows you to soar over the ocean like a bird. It is a popular activity in Miami Beach and for good reason. The beautiful beaches, clear waters, and stunning skyline make for a perfect backdrop for parasailing.

With Fly Sobe, you can fly solo or with up to two of your daredevil friends and you will float through the sky for about 8-10 minutes before gently returning back to the boat.

Parasailing has never been on our bucket list, but our first tour with Fly Sobe definitely changed our minds. This was the first time parasailing, but it won’t be our last.

other hotels nearby

3. Embark on a guided Jetski Tour

Monday to Sunday 10 am – 5 pm

Price: starting from $110 for 30 minutes

You can’t come to Miami Beach and not take a jet ski out for a spin. Race across the warm waters of Biscayne Bay, zoom past the iconic Art Deco buildings, cruise along the sparkling coastline, and even explore some of the city’s hidden gems.

Jetski tours are a great way to see the city from a different perspective and because you’re on a jetski, you’ll have the freedom to go at your own pace and explore the city however you want.

There are a number of different jetski tour companies to choose from in Miami Beach, but we recommend Bouyah Water Sports. Wyatt, our guide, was so amazing! He took us on a big loop starting in Miami Beach, passing by Flager Memorial Island & the Venitian Islands, around downtown Miami & Brickell, and then ending at the iconic South Pointe.

This was my first time weaving through the waters with a jetski and it definitely won’t be my last. So what are you waiting for? Book your jet ski tour of Miami Beach today and experience the city in a whole new way.

QUICK TIP: You must have a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card to ride a JetSki. If you don’t have one click here to take the test.

4. Get a birdseye view of South Beach with Sky Tours Miami

Monday to Sunday 7 am – 8 pm 

Price: starting from $69for 30 minutes

Looking for a unique way to see Miami Beach? Climb aboard the three-seater prop plane and take to the skies with Sky Tours Miami. From sunrise to sunset and even into the night, they bring you the best views of Miami 1000ft above the ground.

This company offers a variety of aerial tours of the city, giving you a bird’s-eye view of all its most famous landmarks. We booked the Experience South Beach tour, to get a glimpse of Miami’s most famous beach from the air. Along the way, we also got the chance to get spectacular aerial views of Miami Downtown, Miami Seaquarium, Miami Seaport, Star Island, and more.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Miami or a longtime resident, a flight with Sky Tours Miami is a great way to see the city in a whole new way.

5. Stroll through Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Tuesday to Sunday 9 am – 5 pm 

Price: free

Come escape the hustle and bustle of the city amidst the tranquility of the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. The Miami Beach Botanical Garden is an intimate 3-acre subtropical oasis of serenity and grace right in the heart of Miami Beach.

Monarch butterflies glide through the flowering trees, colorful orchids pop out from amidst 100 different species of palm trees and koi fish swim effortlessly through the small onsite pond. And the best part is that admission is free to enter the garden!

But don’t underestimate the offerings that can be found here. The garden has so much more to do than just beautiful flora & fauna. Join the weekly Sunday meditation and yoga classes or sign up for Tai Chi on Wednesdays.

You can find a list of their updated offerings by clicking the Find Out More button below.

Kim eating outside at Alton Food Hall in Miami Beach | Bare Escape
Eating at Alton Food Hall in Miami Beach | Bare Escape
Kim getting a drink at Airmail at Alton Food Hall in Miami Beach | Bare Escape
Kim getting a drink at Airmail at Alton Food Hall in Miami Beach | Bare Escape

6. Grab a bite at Alton Food Hall

Sunday to Thursday 10 am – 11 pmFriday + Saturday 10 am - 12am 

Price: free just make sure to register for the comedy night

All the restaurants. All in one place. Alton Food Hall is an upscale food court located in the heart of Miami Beach. It is home to a variety of different food vendors, offering something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a quick bite to eat or a leisurely meal, Alton Food Hall has you covered.

With 20+ partner restaurants, the best part is you don’t have to decide on just one type of cuisine. Grab a spicy tuna roll from Pesqueria Sushi & Ceviche, a grilled veggie panini from a Sandwich Affair, and Mandocas (a Venezuelan donut) from La Empanaderia.

Ordering food is easy. There are a few onsite restaurants to choose from, but if they don’t have what you are looking for, check out the kiosks for even more choices! In the mood for a drink, there is even a full bar called Airmail, so you to order your favorite cocktail or mocktail to enjoy along with your tasty meal.

INSIDER TIP: If you time your experience right, you can even have dinner and a show. Every other Friday Alton Food Hall has Comedy Night from 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm. Fill up on your favorite food & drinks and laugh late into the night. Grab your tickets here

7. Stroll through Española Way & Grab Dinner

Sunday to Saturday 10 am – 12 am

Price: free

Stroll through Española Way and get a little taste of Spain. This hidden gem is a small pedestrian street in Miami Beach inspired by a Spanish village. The road isn’t very long but once the sun sets all of the outdoor restaurants are buzzing and the twinkling string lights strewn throughout really add to its magic.

Choosing where you want to eat is probably the hardest decision you will have to make all night. There is such a diverse collection of restaurants, from Mercato Della Pescheria serving handmade pasta and fresh fish to Paperfish Sushi with its unique interior and tasty rolls.

If you still have room for dessert, grab a cone of gelato to go from Konos and continue your walk down the vibrant street.

Looking for a nightcap? Tropezón is an amazing Andalusian-style gin and tapas bar near the end of Española Way. The interior is such a vibe and the drinks are delicious.

If you are looking for a unique and authentic experience in Miami Beach, then Española Way is the place for you. It is a great place to eat, shop, people-watch, and enjoy the nightlife.

QUICK TIP: There are also two stunning boutique hotels along Española Way that are worth booking: Esme Miami Beach (my personal favorite) as well as Kasa El Paseo. However, since the location is right above the lively Española Way, it can be a bit on the louder side, but that doesn’t matter if you intend on going out and exploring the Miami nightlife yourself. A new EDM club called M2 Miami opened up just around the corner, but make sure to bring ear protection, while the light system and space are incredible the music can be quite loud. 

Nash enjoying lunch at Baia Beach club at the Mondrian hotel Miami Beach | Bare Escape
Kim wearing Miguelina at Baia Beach club at the Mondrian hotel Miami Beach | Bare Escape
Kim enjoying lunch at Baia Beach club at the Mondrian hotel Miami Beach | Bare Escape
Harissa Salmon and Truffle Fries at Baia Beach club at the Mondrian hotel Miami Beach | Bare Escape

8. Enjoy lunch at Baia Beach Club

Daily Breakfast 7 am- 11 am Brunch: Saturday & Sunday 11 am - 3 pmLunch: Monday - Saturday 12pm -3.30 pm Dinner: Sunday - Thursday 5 pm - 10 pm

The Baia Beach Club is a luxurious waterfront oasis and offers more than just a sunchair and a pool for the day. Come for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and enjoy one of the dreamiest waterfront dining experiences in Miami Beach. Located at the Mondrian Hotel, the boho chic design of the whole space is impeccable.

Indulge in authentic Mediterranean cuisine while getting lost in the distant sunset vistas of Downtown Miami. With Greek zucchini fritters, portobello mushroom tacos, and harissa roasted salmon, the menu focuses on healthy ingredients sourced locally for a fresh and quality taste.

We came here for lunch during the week but I would highly recommend making a reservation for Sunday Brunch or for their special wind-down Wednesdays, with $10 wine specials & artisan cheese plates.

QUICK TIP: Be sure to combine your meal with a day at the pool or onsite spa (or both!). Click below to get started.

Beach day at South Pointe Beach in Miami Beach | Bare Escape
Art Deco art in South Pointe Park Miami Beach | Bare Escape
smith & wollensky outdoor dining in miami beach | Bare Escape
Smith and Wollensky

9. Explore South Pointe

Open 24 hours

Price: Free

South Pointe is at the southern tip of Miami Beach and boasts incredible views & beaches. Walk all the way out to the end of the pier and turn around to see the Miami Beach Skyline framed by the white sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean on the right and Biscayne Bay on the left with the skyscrapers of Miami in the distance.

Be sure to bring your beach gear to enjoy some quality time with your toes in the sand. South Pointe Beach is probably the most beautiful stretch of white sandy beach in all of Miami.

After admiring the view and getting some sun, I would recommend grabbing a bite at Smith & Wollensky. They have this amazing outdoor dining area where you can dine right next to the water!

QUICK TIP: Walk down the beach to one of the Art Deco lifeguard stands for an awesome photo opportunity. Each lifeguard stand is painted and designed differently.

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How To Experience The Best Of Miami Beach | Bare Escape
How To Experience The Best Of Miami Beach | Bare Escape

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