Narrowing down the top-five beaches in Miami is no easy feat, especially since South Beach gets all the glory, but there are four others (of course South Beach makes the list) that deserve a top spot too.

South Beach, from South Pointe Park to 14th Street is pure beauty, decadence and what put the area on the world map, once hailed as “America’s French Riviera.” There’s no shade here, just pure beautiful Miami sand, clear waters, plenty of eye candy and lots of bars and restaurants along Ocean Drive for fun before or after the beach. Click here for info on Miami Beach.

Further north in Miami Beach’s Surfside/Bal Harbour area there’s a great little stretch of beach along 94th to 96th streets. Behind the condominiums the water is pristine. Chair and umbrella service is available, showers are nearby and it’s quiet and uncrowded. Parking’s great too, plenty of it on the surrounding streets unlike South Beach where it’s a challenge. Click here for info on Surfside.

Crandon Park Beach

The remainder of the beaches on the list are on Key Biscayne  where the water is quite different and a bit warmer. The area has a much more natural feel. Pay $1.50 to get on the island and just a few miles down the road on the right is Hobie Beach, shallow, no wave water, perfect for windsurfing. Further down are the Crandon Park beaches, known for great picnic areas, shallow, warm waters and cool sandbars. At the tip of Key Biscayne is Cape Florida/Bill Baggs State Park beach. There are several areas to drive in and park and one of the best is the one closest to the Lighthouse. Similar to Crandon, picnicking here is ideal with barbecues, a food stand, shady areas and nature trails . Click here for info on Key Biscayne beaches.