More than South Beach
Few people outside South Florida realize that Miami Beach is not the name of Miami’s sandy shoreline. Miami Beach is, in fact, a barrier island—one of many—that protects mainland Miami from the Atlantic Ocean and creates numerous bays and protected coves that make boating around this urban area much more adventurous than one might guess.
Miami Beach’s Art Deco Historic District, the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world and all built between 1923 and 1943, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Near the District adjacent to Government Cut (the main access to the ocean), with no fixed bridges and plenty of deep water, Miami Beach Marina, offers 400 slips accommodating vessels up to 250 feet. It also provides restaurants, a dive shop, provisioning, a fuel dock and concierge services.
Miami Beach’s other trendy spot is South Beach, where the rich and famous go to be seen in tony nightclubs and trendy restaurants all wrapped in dazzling neon. But Miami also offers low-key fun, family venues, nature and more.
The city of Miami operates three marinas, two of which are good options for visiting boaters. On the Atlantic ICW at Marker 53 at the west end of Government Cut Miamarina offers 130 slips and accommodates vessels to 200 feet. Completely rebuilt in 1997, Miamarina is a full service facility located in the Bayside Marketplace, which offers some100 shops and restaurants. The marina is a short distance from the Miami Seaquarium and other attractions.
Just south of downtown in Coconut Grove is the 582-slip Dinner Key Marina. Nearby is Villa Vizcaya, one of the city’s most interesting museums. Coconut Grove village is within walking distance with shopping and entertainment that rivals South Beach but without the crowds or the costs. Also in the Dinner Key Basin, the Grove Harbour Marina offers 90 boat slips.
Often overshadowed by Miami’s neon nightclubs is the natural bounty that borders the city’s trendiest towns. Biscayne Bay is a lagoon wedged between the mainland, the barrier islands and the Atlantic Ocean. It is approximately 35 miles long and up to 8 miles wide and the National Park Service protects a majority portion of it.
In the center of downtown Miami along the edge of Biscayne Bay, the Four Ambassadors/Marbella Marina offers the convenience of being in the heart of the city.
Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation operates six marinas in the Miami area: Haulover Beach Park Marina between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercoastal Waterway, Pelican Harbor Marina midway between Government Cut and Haulover Cut at ICW St. Mile 1084, Black Point Marina close to Biscayne National Park, Matheson Hammock Marina due west from the tip of Key Biscayne. All of them are full service and offer restaurants and activities. But the sixth, at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne, is particularly notable for its surroundings. The marina provides access to a two-mile beach that’s among the best in the world. There’s also the Crandon Golf Key Biscayne, a championship 18-hole course that may be the best public course in the country. Add in access to the 27-court Crandon Park Tennis Center—home of the Ericsson Open—and nature preserves, walking trails, and restaurants, and you have a public marina facility that rivals the best private clubs in the country.