Enjoy outdoor spaces, boat trips, and walking tours before the humid heat of the Florida summer arrives.
With Miami’s summer heat settling on the Magic City in May, along with the rainy season, spring has the feeling of a last gasp that people from cold climes associate with autumn. Before muggy weather and overcast skies come to Biscayne Bay, locals and visitors alike enjoy dry, clear conditions in Miami Beach’s string of Atlantic beaches and parks. It’s also the ideal time of year to explore another side of the oceanfront metropolis on a street art walking tour or a cruise around the bay’s exclusive islands.
Sand between bronzed toes at South Beach
This art deco neighborhood’s golden stretches of sand, flanked by pastel facades on one side and surf on the other, measure up to California’s Muscle Beach as symbols of American beach culture.
Head to South Pointe Beach in the lull between spring break and summer vacation for a swathe of white sand and a pier along the breakwater at the island-set neighborhood’s southern point. Lush public parks adjoin the beaches, with South Pointe Park offering a playground and splash pad, while Lummus Park has outdoor gyms, volleyball courts, and the deco Beach Patrol Headquarters building.
Before tightening your rollerblades or wading into the azure water, enjoy the barrier island’s Atlantic views and the multicolored lifeguard towers reflecting the area’s architectural theme. miamibeachfl.gov
Insider tip: A few streets from South Pointe Beach, the legendary Joe’s Stone Crab has been serving ocean-fresh seafood, such as its signature cracked crab claws, since 1913.
Art on the streets at Wynwood Walls
When you’re done with South Beach’s splendid art deco, head inland for some contemporary creativity at this outdoor museum of international street art. Since the late property developer Tony Goldman established the space in 2009, graffiti greats such as Swoon and Futura have sprayed the walls, resulting in more than 50 murals by both old-school talents and up-and-coming taggers. Sign up for a guided tour (we recommend the retrospective “deep dive” with Wynwood artist Ryan the Wheelbarrow) or wield your own spray can at the hands-on Official Street Art Experience. There are three galleries on site: the Peter Tunney Experience, the GGA Gallery, and a solo exhibition. museum.thewynwoodwalls.com
Insider tip: There’s more creativity on display nearby at the Miami branch of KYU, which serves Asian cuisine infused with the smoky tastes from the wood-fired grill.
Waterfront strolls at Bayfront Park
Bayfront Park covers 32 acres of the Biscayne Bay waterfront and marks the start of the Miami Riverwalk, which leads along the north shore of the city’s eponymous river. To find the trail, which forms part of the ongoing Miami River Greenway project, look for the 228 ft long Seafair, a moored yacht that serves as a glitzy events venue.
The park itself is woven into local history as Greater Miami’s first public gathering space, as its lawns have been used for baseball games since 1896, and remains a pleasant place to stroll or join an evening yoga session. bayfrontparkmiami.com
Millionnaires’ mansions on a Biscayne boat tour
On the north side of Bayfront Park, Bayside Marketplace is the launchpad for Miami Aqua Tours and Island Queen cruises of Biscayne Bay, taking in the famous skyline and Millionaire’s Row. The typical 1½ hour route heads out of the marina for a look at the artificial Venetian, Star, Palm, and Hibiscus Islands, home to the modern palaces and yacht jetties of the rich, famous, and notorious (former residents include Al Capone). Continuing the piratical theme, you can see the sights from a jolly red pirate ship or copy the cool locals with a cocktail on a tour boat viewing deck. On the eastern side of the bay, you’ll spot the barrier islands of Miami Beach and Fisher Island, the latter boasting the USA’s highest per capita income. baysidemarketplace.com
Concierge tip: Take a boat trip with a difference on an airboat tour of the Everglades swamps – offered by Island Queen. For more on South Florida’s alligator-inhabited Everglades National Park, check out our article on Miami’s finest days out.