Though these places might sound interchangeable, they are not. And we are here to help you make distinctions.
Miami Beach is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Its southern border is South Pointe Park, which is where you go to watch cruise ships depart and experience either regret or relief at not being on them. I choose relief. Its northern boundary is 87th Street, which is where the city of Surfside begins.
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South Beach is not just the sandy, beachy stretch. It’s part of Miami Beach – the southern tip, to be exact.
South Beach runs from South Pointe Park in the south to Dade Boulevard in the north and is generally the place you see on TV during sporting events. The sporting events take place miles away from South Beach. But who wants to look at giant boring parking lots in the northwest suburbs? Art Deco hotels, neon, flashy cars, people in skimpy beachwear and vomiting, screaming drunks staggering out of Wet Willie’s are more camera friendly.
There are other beaches you should know about, too.
North Beach: North Beach is a thing. The northern part of Miami Beach is not as glam as South Beach, but there are fewer annoying factors, like drunk tourists looking for Mango’s. There’s a bandshell here, but no Joe’s Stone Crab.
Mid Beach: This is barely a thing, but it’s kind of a thing, so let’s say it runs somewhere from the 20s through the 50s. More or less. It doesn’t matter. You’re probably not going to go there.
Sunny Isles Beach: Used to be a beach full of funky old motels in the far northern corner of the county. Now the tacky 1950s and 1960s construction that we used to make fun of is making way for gleaming condos we also make fun of.
This is what Sunny Isles Beach used to look like:
This is what Sunny Isles Beach will look like soon:
You get the idea.
Golden Beach: This tiny stretch of island that bumps up against Broward County line is for rich people only. Go away.
North Miami Beach: This city is nowhere near an actual beach, which makes zero sense unless you know its founders wanted to piggyback on Miami Beach’s growing popularity back in 1931. According to the city’s website, they slapped the word “Beach” in the city’s name and hoped wealthy investors would flock. They didn’t, but on the bright side, you don’t have to be super rich to visit.