So you’re planning a much-needed vacation this summer to Florida with your family, but are wondering what is the best area to travel with little ones. It’s undeniable that Miami Beach and South Beach have activities tailored specifically to adults and children. However, there are a few features that differentiate them and make one more suitable for youngsters.
This article will tackle those differences between Miami Beach vs. South Beach and give you a better insight into where to travel with your kids. Keep reading to learn more about Miami and South Beach, which are both known worldwide for their activities, scenery, and culture.
We’ll dive into some general information about South Beach in this section. Then, we’ll elaborate on the specific attractions that are better for the younger or older crowd.
South Beach is part of Miami Beach. South Beach is located across the bay of downtown Miami and is a very popular destination for travelers.
Even though many consider Miami and South Beach to be the same, South Beach is more famous. A few recognizable features distinguish them. Most notably, 23rd street acts as a divider between the two beaches. South Beach started as farmland, funnily enough, and despite its infamy, there aren’t as many well-known celebrities or models compared to Miami.
However, South Beach is renowned for nightclubs and old and small hotels. There are some of the best white-sand beaches, bars, restaurants, and shopping centers, making it preferable over Miami when it comes to tourists. South Beach is about 2.5 miles away from Miami and sports Art Deco buildings that many associate with this area.
5th Street is another recognizable area for South Beach, where you can find retail shops, gyms, and supermarkets. This area isn’t as busy as the northside of South Beach and is near the tip of the island, where large hotels, residential buildings, and condominiums are located.
The iconic Ocean Drive is where smaller hotels and crowds spend their time and where you can find The Brown Hotel, an old building remade into a popular and pricey steakhouse.
Notable Activities and Attractions
South Beach offers a ton of fun. You can rent boats and jet skis and explore the vast variety of diners, such as Joe’s Stone Crab and smaller boutiques. The huge buildings are lined with shops and restaurants at ground level. Amazing terrazzo flooring and Art Deco color palettes with eye-catching patterns and elegant furniture are everywhere. But, it’s not uncommon to find rooftop bars and pools.
South Beach is densely packed and full of energy. Young adults enjoy watching sports, spending money, and partying at dance clubs. Despite that, Lummus Park is great for kids with a playground and paths for walking, jogging, or biking under lush coconut palms. Additionally, there’s an outdoor fitness park where annual events are hosted, such as fairs and wine festivals.
Lincoln Road Mall has places to eat international cuisine, shop, and find entertainment in art galleries while listening to music. Furthermore, you could watch wall casts and classic films as you pass by from the New World Symphony Plaza or attend a concert at the Jackie Gleason Theater. A downside is that you will have to pay higher prices in a tourist-filled location.
Summary: South Beach
South Beach is the epitome of glamor, fun, and partying. South Beach is lively and touristy with an upbeat, urban environment filled with dynamic energy. You can find some classic parts of South Beach, such as 5th street, where it’s quieter and residential. This area of South Beach is just a little bit away from Ocean Drive where you can find tons of restaurants and clubs. Luxurious neighborhoods provide spectacular ocean views for travelers.
Nonetheless, South Beach is busy with wining and dining and people embracing beachside living. In other words, you’re expecting a location that’s quiet in the early morning and popping throughout the night. You’ll see exotic cars zooming by, and traffic can be unbearable in this part of town, so it’s best to walk if you can.
South Beach has a summery vibe regardless of the time of year with tons of hotel beach clubs. This area is ideal for younger folks who want to make a bunch of new friends in a bustling part of Florida. South Beach is for those looking to stay active, eat, drink, play outdoors, and shop. If you’re planning a longer trip, it’s worth checking out. But, is South Beach suitable for kids? Let’s come back to that one.
Similar to the last section, let’s dive into some history of Miami Beach before moving onto the final part of determining which location is best suited for your family.
Miami Beach is on a barrier island, between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay. You’ll see different types of tourists here than South Beach, and recognizable celebrities often visit. Miami is located north of the beach, three miles offshore just East of downtown Miami. This section is about a mile wide, and nine miles long.
Driving the entire length of the beach takes about 45 minutes. Additionally, Miami Beach is about 20 to 30 minutes away from Miami International Airport.
As stated above, South Beach is part of Miami Beach, which is broken into other sections. North Beach, Mid Beach, and South Pointe are all connected with surrounding neighborhoods and buildings. The biggest difference is the number and type of beach enthusiasts you’ll see. Miami Beach also holds the Government Cut, a channel that cruise ships use to enter and exit the Port of Miami.
Miami Beach has piers that are great for photos and overall is less crowded and quieter than South Beach. Miami has a sunny and relaxed environment, giving you a subtropical island feel in a diverse location. Miami Beach has character, attracting distinct crowds looking for wholesome fun with their families. You’ll be able to see the culture that makes Miami unique.
A few perks about Miami is the convenience from one location to another. For example, most restaurants, businesses, hotels, and clubs are all within walking distance. You’ll see various architectural styles, and the costs will vary from South Beach.
Mid Beach and North Beach
We’ll quickly talk about Mid Beach and North Beach to support Miami Beach and its jolting different culture compared to South Beach.
Residential areas compose Mid Beach with plenty of history, making this area worth mentioning. This area has waterfronts and boardwalks to stroll along. Mid Beach’s entire atmosphere is chill and somewhat rowdy, but in the end, it has a lazy atmosphere. Since there aren’t as many attractions, Mid Beach is ideal for those looking for a quiet place to drink and sport stylish fashion from shops.
Not only that, but Mid Beach is picturesque, with a flair for the latest trends. It’s vibrant, non-crowded, and less rowdy than South Beach, with famous hotels, sand-side lounges, and some of the most elite hotels in Florida. It’s a mix of residential Art Deco and 1950s architectural designs. You can find mansions alongside golf courses and retail and boutique shops.
On the other hand, North Beach has the least tourists, meaning that eating, shopping, and vacationing are less expensive. That said, this part of Miami Beach has a lot to offer in a low-key environment. With sports and an ocean view, North Beach has neighborhoods of small homes. North Shore Park is great for little ones and dogs. There are barbeque grills for your pleasure and bike paths to ride along in the sunshine.
The best part is that North Beach is customizable to your experience. You’ll be able to eat and enjoy shops and restaurants that are made for the locals with a small-town feel. You can attend outdoor concerts, or speak with local artists.
North Beach is pleasant, calm, and located away from loud streets. Cafes are available for your enjoyment. North Beach is all about less partying and more relaxing. So if you want to just have a day to enjoy the beauty of nature, grab a bite to eat, and not be up until five in the morning, consider North Beach.
Summary: Miami Beach
Miami Beach is complex, with many different areas and activities to do with your family. Mid and North Beach show a distinct contrast from South Beach. You’re still getting the wonderful, tropical vibe without needing to expose yourself to the grueling hours that partygoers have during the night.
Miami Beach has plenty of accommodations for people of all ages who can enjoy Florida in a quieter and more enjoyable setting. Especially if you have kiddos running around, you want to make sure that they’re entertained. Having a park and a safer beach area is essential for your vacation. They can also enjoy multiple restaurants in a more lax setting than South Beach.
Parents can have a good time too, listening to live music and sunbathing near the ocean. Miami Beach is more versatile to choose where you’d like to go and what beach area is best for your needs.
Verdict: Which Beach Is Best With Kids?
Even though the answer may seem obvious, it depends on who you are and what you’re looking for during your Florida stay. When comparing Miami Beach vs. South Beach, both offer great experiences, so no matter where you go, you’re going to have fun with your family. Despite being similar, Miami Beach and South Beach are different in several ways.
To summarize, Miami Beach is quiet, more local, and divided into many areas that offer authentic experiences great for in-state or foreign tourists. Plenty of restaurants and locations give both your kids and yourself a vacation experience they won’t forget.
On the flip side, South Beach is more for the younger crowd searching for a good time. This location has plenty of nightclubs and odd and end hours that might keep you up into the wee hours of the morning. Despite that, both beaches are rich in history and offer plenty of activities that anyone can find enjoyable with trails to explore and stunning views of the sea.
Overall, if you’re craving a relaxing and kid-friendly vacation with minimal issues, choose Miami Beach and search into which location sounds best for you. If you’re planning a longer trip, you can opt to visit all of them and get the best of both worlds. Your choice is also determined by your family, how old your kids are, and what they can handle.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you gained more insight into Miami Beach vs. South Beach and are more confident in buying those plane tickets.