South Beach Travel Guide
About South Beach
South Beach, at the south end of the narrow island known as Miami Beach, is a mecca for the young and beautiful who have claimed this stretch of the American Riviera as their own centre of trendy fashion and open lifestyles. Known commonly as SoBe, the district is a 23-block long stretch lined with restored art deco buildings, shops, museums, boutique hotels, many of Miami's best restaurants - and of, course, pristine beaches.
Wide, white sandy beaches and clear sparkling blue waters are popular with locals and vacationers, who enjoy swimming, sunning, people watching, volleyball and windsurfing. Topless bathers, supermodels, and celebrities are common sights. Cyclists, skaters and joggers enjoy the palm-fringed boardwalk, which runs alongside the beach.
Beyond the beach:
Guided walking tours of the Art Deco Historic District begin at the Art Deco District Welcome Centre, 100 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. Duck Tours Miami depart South Beach for an amphibious adventure, splashing into Biscayne Bay to cruise past homes of the rich and famous.
Miami is a boater's paradise, offering pleasure cruising, sailing, kayaking, fishing, surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, an Italian Renaissance-style estate built for agricultural industrialist James Deering, is a memorable step back in time.
Miami Beach offers much for the family, with beaches patrolled by lifeguards in colourful stands, beach volleyball, cycling, fishing, golf, and family entertainment at major malls and marketplaces. Family attractions are a short drive from most hotels in South Beach. Parrot Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, MacArthur Causeway, Miami, is popular with kids, where they can encounter exotic animals like the liger and the 907kg (2,000 pound) crocosaurus, splash down a 51m (168ft) water slide, and enjoy spectacular animal shows. At the cageless Miami Metrozoo, 12400 SW 152nd Street, Miami, animals roam in native habitats, protected from visitors.
South Beach is ideally positioned on South Florida's Gold Coast. Airboat tours of the Everglades swamps are a family favourite, searching for alligators, crocodiles, and a variety of bird and wildlife. A glass bottom boat reef tour is the way to explore Biscayne National Park. Close to downtown, the Port of Miami is the largest cruise ship port in the world, and starting point for cruising adventures to the Caribbean, South and Central America.
A side trip to the Florida Keys for a taste of island spice should end in the charming, laid back, Jimmy Buffet-style town of Key West, where conch chowder, fresh seafood and key lime pie are accompanied by a perfect tropical sunset.