What once was South Beach's iconic roadway and a favorite for car enthusiasts looking to show off their wheels has unfortunately become a hotbed of controversy, causing friction between locals, tourists, and city officials. For a long while, Ocean Drive was open to traffic in both directions. Then, in the early days of the pandemic lockdown, there came an idyllic period when it was closed to auto traffic and only accessible to pedestrians, who could stroll freely down the boulevard as if it were an all-day street fair. Now Ocean Drive has a hybrid configuration of a single southbound lane for cars, plus a bike lane. As it currently stands, the drag is congested, tense, and nigh impossible to traverse, and you're better off choosing any other road if you're actually aiming to get anywhere.

Miami's urbanites want to experience the subtropical charm of a beachside city with golden sun, glistening sand, and plenty of food options near the sea — i.e., not South Beach. Luckily, there's a tranquil gem nestled along Biscayne Bay, far removed from the headache of barrier island traffic. The Village of Key Biscayne, one of Miami's prettiest suburbs, has everything a burnt-out city dweller dreams of. Access to Bill Baggs Historic State Park makes for a relaxing stint on sand and surf, with sufficient proximity to the offshore enclave of Stiltsville for ambitious kayakers. History lovers can tour the historic Cape Florida Lighthouse, a vestige of settler-era Miami and the inspiration for one of our town's iconic craft beers, Tank Brewing's El Farito. After a day by the water, stroll down to No Name Harbor for a bite at Boater's Grill and/or a cocktail at the Cleat MIA. Simply put, Key Biscayne has everything an escapist might need, plus a spectacular view of their hometown — from a safe distance.

Haulover Beach Park
Photo by osseous / Flickr

If you're high right now, go outside and interact with nature. Want to kick it up? Head to Haulover Park, where you'll encounter 177 acres of parkland bordered to the east by 1.4 miles of beach and, beyond that, 41 million square miles of ocean. That's something to get lost in, even without your temporarily elevated special effects. A stroll on the aforementioned beach practically guarantees an encounter with local canines availing themselves of Haulover's quarter-mile of dedicated no-leash-required dog beach. If dogs aren't your thing, there's a skate park. You can rent a bike (standard or electric), or buy yourself a $5 kite at in-park concession Skyward Kites and go fly it. Oh, and if you're the clothing-optional sort, well, just walk toward the north end of the beach — Haulover's got you (un)covered there too. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®