7th Street Beach, Miami Beach
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7th Street Beach is a gorgeous place to swim and an action-packed place to pick up the international and exciting Miami vibe. Winter or summer the water is warm, clear, and inviting. The white-grey sand is soft at the shore but hard-packed as you walk the wide expanse from the street to the sea. There is a multi-colored lime lighthouse shack that adds a festive feel to the beach. People-watching is interesting here, as the gay beach is just a few steps up, at 12th Street. There are plenty of men strolling by in speedos. There are also women with skimpy bikinis, as well as regular tourists and families. People from all over the world gather here and it's fun to listen to all the different languages spoken. There is a wide expanse between Ocean Dr and the shore. First there is a wonderful area of grassy knolls and hundreds of coconut trees called Lummus Park. Then there's a wide cement boardwalk packed with rollerbladers, bike riders, and strollers. Go for a bike ride here! Next there's a huge swath of white sand where volleyball players do their thing. You walk across this on a woven walkway. Then you come to the beach, where you must also walk quite far on hard-packed sand to get to the water. Bring a stroller if you have a child so they can stay in it until the beach begins, or else you will hear some whining!This is the center of the action in Miami Beach. As you head north, the scene becomes more and more quiet. 21st Street Beach is still crowded but attracts a more family-oriented crowd. It has a wooden boardwalk that runs parallel to the water all the way to 46th Street. As you head even more north on Miami Beach the crowds thin. 7th Street Beach is fun because there are plenty of shops and restaurants lining Ocean Dr and Collins Ave, where you can pick up even more excitement after your swim. The restaurants tend to improve as you head away from the beach to Washington Ave. Try Fratelli La Bufala (see address below) for a pizza place with sidewalk seating or colorful indoor tables and good food. At night it's nice to walk around and dine at Bayside Marketplace, across the causeway on the waterfront.[continued...]
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The entrance to 7th Street Beach is at 7th Street and Ocean Dr. Exit Highway 95 and take 395 East to Miami Beach. You cross over a causeway with great views. After five miles turn left on Washington Ave. Turn right on 7th Street and park in the public parking lot before you cross Collins Ave, then walk just two blocks to the beach. You can use your credit card in the machine to pay for parking when you return. Cost is $1 an hour on weekdays or $15 flat rate on weekends. From Miami Airport, you can take Bus 150 for $2.35 each way (bring correct change). The trip takes about half an hour.Fratelli La Bufala, 437 Washington Ave, Miami Beach FL 33139, call (305) 532-0700.
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Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.