5 historic beaches in Miami
1) Virginia Key Beach Park
Established as the ‘Colored Only’ beach in 1945, this mile-long shoreline contains an antique carousel as well as the oldest plant and animal varieties – many endangered – in the region. View them on the restored hammock trails and wooden boardwalk. Virginia Key also offers a mini train, a modern playground and a Tiki Village for amenities.
2) Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
The oldest building in Miami-Dade County – a lighthouse constructed in 1825 – stands on these sands, which were also a stop on the Underground Railroad. A regularly recognized ‘top ten’ beach in the nation, BBCFSP is a rest-and-eat stop for the neotropical birds that migrate through; birders as well as sunbathers and fishermen find this paradise.
3) Haulover Park
Although it was purchased in 1935, Haulover wouldn’t be developed completely until 1947 because of WWII. Many myths account for the name, ranging from Prohibition bootleggers to a barefoot mail carrier, all who ‘hauled over’ items to the mainland before roads were built. Today the beach is famous for flying kites and its nude bathing section.
4) South Beach
South Beach began as a coconut farm in 1870, and was developed for residences starting in 1910. A decade later, the wealthy poured in for sunshine, bringing with them the Art Deco architects who left their lasting marks on Ocean Drive, where restoration of these landmark hotels began in the late 1980s and continues today.
One mile long, this classic beach town, a loggerhead turtle sanctuary, was frequented by celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Winston Churchill. They stayed at the Surf Club, opened in 1930 by tire tycoon Harvey Firestone; today it’s a revitalized Four Seasons property where Thomas Keller will debut his first Miami establishment in 2018.
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