Parks & beaches

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park (1200 S. Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne, tel.305-361-5811) is situated south of Key Biscayne. The park's main attraction is the Cape Florida Lighthouse, whose graceful silhouette can be admired on the horizon.

To get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can head to Biscayne National Park (9700 SW 328th St., Homestead, tel.305-230-1100, Almost 95% of this unique national park's territory is located underwater.

A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site, as well as the United States third largest natural preserve, Everglades National Park (the park's main entrance is located near Homestead; tel.305-242-7700) enjoys an unparalleled international reputation.

South Beach, also known by the acronym "SoBe," is the most popular beach in Miami. It stretches from First Street to 24th Street. A little farther north, the beach along Ocean Drive attracts a mixed crowd of swimmers, surfers, sunbathers and people-watchers. The beach near 17th Street is considered South Beach's gay beach.

North of South Beach, the stretch of beach found behind the slew of condominiums is a little quieter. The beaches around 44th Street are also quiet, but they are usually mainly frequented by guests of such large hotel resorts as The Fontainebleau, The Eden Roc and The Alexander Luxury Suite Hotel. Since there are no private beaches in Miami, hotel beaches are nonetheless also open to the public.

The beaches of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and Crandon Park Beach are ideal for both families and vacationers.