Sunny Isles Beach is found in a beautiful position to the north of Miami, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Located on one of the many barrier islands strung along the coast of eastern Florida, Sunny Isles Beach is best known for its extensive, sandy shoreline.
This is classic coastal Florida, where high rise apartments and hotels are built right onto the beach. The small city’s skyline is spectacular, and the beaches even more so. You can relax in the sun, enjoy the sea breeze, and know that you are just a short journey away from Miami to the south or Fort Lauderdale to the north.
There are few better locations than Sunny Isles Beach; you can easily reach the waterways and wildlife of the Everglades National Park, or further afield, travel to the Florida Keys.
Here are the 15 best things to do in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida.
1. Sunny Isles Beach
The best thing about Sunny Isles Beach is, of course, the beach. The city is built right up to the coastline, and many of the best hotels and resorts in Sunny Isles Beach line the main beaches themselves.
Florida is known as the Sunshine State, and here at Sunny Isles Beach, you can really enjoy that title firsthand. Lounge around in the warm weather all through the year, sit back in the sands, or go for a swim in the Atlantic.
Along the coast, you’ll also find plenty of opportunities for more adventurous water sports if you’re looking for more of a thrill. Try jet-skiing, or strap on the water skis in Sunny Isles Beach.
2. Collins Avenue
Collins Avenue is the main thoroughfare that runs right through the center of Sunny Isles Beach. The road follows the coast on the barrier island, with the beach on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other.
This is the heart of Sunny Isles Beach; not only will this be where you find all the hotels, highrise apartments, and resorts, but this is where you’ll discover the city’s shops, best restaurants, cafes, and bars.
You can easily stroll along the entire length of Collins Avenue in just half an hour, but you can also spend the whole day browsing through shops and stopping for coffee or drinks along the way.
3. Haulover Park
At the southern end of Collins Avenue, you can find one of the most spectacular outdoor beach areas in Sunny Isles Beach. Haulover Park is located right on the southern tip of the barrier island and is the perfect place to spend the day.
You’ll find plenty of facilities at Haulover park, including public toilets and a few food trucks. Go for a swim, lounge in the park, or sit back on the sand and do nothing at all.
Some of the beaches along the coast here are clothing-optional beaches, so be careful which stretches of sand you head to if you don’t want an eye-full.
4. Heritage Park
At the opposite end of Collins Avenue, on the northern side of the barrier island, you can enjoy the pleasant surroundings of Heritage Park.
This small park is a lovely, green, and open place, but it’s also an important piece of local heritage too.
This is where you’ll find memorials to locals who served in the armed forces, as the park is dedicated to veterans and the wars undertaken by the USA across the world.
5. Oleta River State Park
Sunny Isles Beach makes the perfect base if you are looking to explore the natural beauty of the Oleta River State Park.
Found on the outskirts of the city, this large area of wilderness forms the edge of Biscayne Bay and is a spectacular place to visit.
The scenery is incredibly diverse; you’ll find sandy beaches lining the bay and secluded areas of coastline to relax on.
There are also dense mangroves, creeks, and waterways that you can kayak or canoe along, while the park is bursting with wildlife.
6. Bal Harbor
Another fantastic place to visit close to Sunny Isles Beach is Bal Harbor. This small community is located to the south of the city, on the opposite barrier island, and is known for its outstanding beaches.
Bal Harbor Beach is an excellent stretch of sand, and much like Sunny Isles Beach, you’ll find the skyline is beautiful.
As well as the beach, you can shop in the local retail outlets, enjoy the cafes and restaurants, and take in the laidback vibes of Bal Harbor.
7. Hollywood Beach
The Floridian coastline is home to some of the best beaches in the world, and just a short drive north of Sunny Isles Beach, you can find Hollywood Beach.
Hollywood Beach is one of the best in Florida; you’ll be blown away by the pristine white sands and the shimmering turquoise water.
The long boardwalk that runs along the edge of the beach is well over two miles long. Here, you can find sweeping vistas over the coastline, excellent restaurants, and fantastic bars, all offering incredible views over the Atlantic Ocean while you sit out in the sunshine and watch the world go by.
8. St Bernard de Clairvaux Church
If you’re looking for a change from the beaches and scenery, then just outside of Sunny Isles Beach, you can find the historic St Bernard de Clairvaux Church.
This is one of the most fascinating places to visit in the area; the church actually dates back to the 12th century when it was constructed in the Spanish town of Segovia.
The monastery, however, was completely dismantled and moved to Florida in the early 20th century, where it’s now become an unusual piece of local history.
9. West Lake Park
Close to Hollywood Beach, to the north of Sunny Isles Beach, lies the wonderful outdoor area of West Lake Park.
The park protects a lovely area of West Lake, where a spectacular network of mangroves and waterways wait to be discovered.
This is one of the best places in the area to go kayaking or canoeing, and you can rent equipment at the local marina when you arrive at West Lake Park.
10. Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is one of the most famous cities in Florida and is less than a half-hour drive north of Sunny Isles Beach.
Explore the city’s incredible beaches and boardwalks, but take the time to visit Fort Lauderdale’s museums and galleries too, to get a sense of the culture.
The Everglades is a huge area of wetlands that encompass much of the southern portion of Florida. From Sunny Isles Beach, you can easily arrange excursions into this wilderness.
This is one of the largest wetland ecosystems in the world. You can explore mangroves, creeks, and marshes, and discover alligators and a plethora of other iconic species too.
There are opportunities for hiking, kayaking, and canoeing, but the best way to get around is to join a classic airboat tour through the Everglades.
12. Miami Beach
Miami Beach is one of the most iconic destinations in the United States and is just a short journey south along the coast from Sunny Isles Beach.
This is one of the most popular resort cities in Florida, and you’ll find that Miami Beach, while similar to Sunny Isles Beach, is built on a much grander and larger scale.
Visit South Beach and Miami Beach for the most pristine sands. Sit out on the boardwalks, watch the rollerskaters glide by, and enjoy views across the Atlantic and over the skyscrapers of downtown Miami.
Across Biscayne Bay from Miami Beach, you can find downtown Miami. You’ll see the high rise apartments and glitzy skyscrapers long before you get here. When you arrive, you’ll be able to spend the day enjoying the sights of one of America’s most famous cities.
You can take boat cruises through the harbor, marvel at the glamorous homes of the rich and famous, and get your cultural fix at the city’s many museums and art galleries on a day out from Sunny Isles Beach.
14. Biscayne National Park
South of Miami, you can find the spectacular scenery of the Biscayne National Park. The national park protects much of Biscayne Bay, and the unique and diverse ecosystem that’s found in the water here.
In the national park, you can snorkel, scuba dive, kayak, canoe, or paddleboard to see more of the surroundings and get closer to the marine life.
15. Key Largo
At the southern end of the Floridian Peninsula lies Key Largo, the closest of the Florida Keys that extend far west into the Gulf of Mexico.
Key Largo makes for a great day trip from Sunny Isles Beach. From here, you can drive along the highway that connects the different keys, enjoying the spectacular views as you go.
You can explore the beaches, go snorkeling in the clear waters around the Keys, and enjoy the laid back, Carribean-style lifestyle that’s found here.