It’s no secret that Miami is home to some of the most beautiful beaches one can find. And while we wouldn’t have it any other way, everyone needs a little escape every once in a while. Whether you’re dreaming of getting away from the crowds at a secluded beach or in need of a change of scenery by swapping high rises for adorable cottages, there are tons of wonderful seaside towns throughout Florida to spend a weekend in. Don’t stray too far with these 7 beach towns near Miami for the perfect quick escape:
1. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea (40 min drive)
If the tropical ocean breezes, Miami modern architecture, quaint shops and overall Old Florida feel aren’t enough of a reason to visit the seaside town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, then perhaps its proximity to Miami is. Just 30 miles north of the city, the coastal community is known as “Florida’s Beach Diving Capital” and its coral reefs are located within 100 yards offshore. That’s great news for divers and snorkelers looking for some of the best underwater scenery (or an interesting relic like the SS Copenhagen Shipwreck). If you prefer to stay on land, check out the vibrant umbrellas and sculptures of Anglin’s Square, go for a stroll along the beach and look for natural wonders at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.
2. Jupiter (1 hr, 25 min)
Located in the northernmost part of Palm Beach County, Jupiter is one of our favorite beach towns for its breathtaking natural beauty. Hop on a kayak and paddle through the mangroves of the Loxahatchee River or marvel at the historic 1860-built Inlet Lighthouse. And while there’s a fantastic restaurant scene there, you can’t miss out on the real star of the show: they’re tiki bars! You’ve got Guanabanas, The Square Grouper (home to Alan Jackson’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” music video), U-Tiki Beach and more to choose from.
For additional fun, make the trip down to Juno Beach, a coastal town not too far from Jupiter and hailed for its crystal blue waters! You can spot sea turtles at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, an organization devoted to turtle conservation that also hosts walks for the marine reptiles on the beach.
3. Islamorada (1 hr, 40 min)
More like a charming village of islands rather than a town, Islamorada needs no introduction. It’s located halfway between Miami and Key West and is an essential stop on a FL Keys road trip, especially if you’re looking for relaxation by the ocean. Yes, it’s nicknamed the “Sportfishing Capital of the World” and is home to, well, Betsy the Giant Lobster, but there’s plenty else to see and eat while you’re there! Opt for some kayaking to Indian Key, where you can see the historical ruins of an 1830s wrecking village, and stop by Robbie’s Marina to feed the enormous tarpon. Then enjoy some mahi mahi tacos at Oceanside Safari or pairing key lime pie and sunset-watching at Marker 88!
4. Marco Island (2 hr)
Marco Island is also technically a city, but the sophisticated enclave has small-town allure. It could very well be the fact that it’s much smaller than its Northern neighbor, Naples. Populated with tropical foliage and sparkling beaches (our favorite is Tigertail Beach), Marco Island’s biggest draw is that no matter where you stand, you’re never far from a body of water. When you’re not swimming or canoeing along the shore, take up some wildlife viewing or enjoy food from local favorites such as The Oyster Society and Marco Prime.
5. Lake Placid (2 hr, 30 min)
Voted “America’s Most Interesting Town” by Reader’s Digest, you have to see Lake Placid in order to believe it. It’s also got several other nicknames, such as the “Town of Murals” for its nearly 50 murals adorning the downtown strip and “The Caladium Capital of the World,” as you might want to pay a trip during their annual Caladium Festival to see the vivid, heart-shaped plants in all their glory! Living up to its name, there are also dozens of freshwater lakes to dive into and even a museum entirely dedicated to clowns — so you might want to steer clear if you have a phobia…
6. Melbourne Beach (2 hr, 55 min)
Situated along Florida’s Space Coast, Melbourne Beach is known as Brevard County’s oldest beach community. On top of your usual seaside fair — gorgeous beaches, watersport activities, etc. — it’s populated with historic gems like Sebastian Inlet Park, the Melbourne Beach Pier, as well as great shops, art, theaters and dining destinations. Seeing bioluminescent waters is possible here too, as the Indian River Lagoon beside the town comes alive with a fluorescent blue glow every year between May and October.
7. Captiva Island (3 hr)
Although it’s a three hour drive from Miami, there is no better place than Captiva Island for coastal town charm! But despite brimming with quiet beaches, colorful cottages and adorable boutiques, let it be known that the island is still recovering from Hurricane Ian. There are several opportunities to get up close and personal with dolphins and other marine life, as well as collecting shells from the island’s beaches which rank top in the world for shelling.
We’ll leave you with a secret: Cayo Costa State Park is a delightful island where visitors can swim, shell, fish and hike — but it’s only accessible by boat and there’s no better place to get there than from Captiva Island. Pick a sunny day and put this at the top of your bucket list!