Catching rays in designer bikinis, sippin' juicy umbrella drinks, and chillin' by the pool — they're all parts of Miami's goal of having fun in the sun.
Locals can walk around half-naked and tan because of all the kick-ass pool parties they're able to crash — especially in Miami Beach. Yes, it's a bit of a tourist trap, but most Miamians have a soft spot for the Beach even if they won't admit it.
So the next time you feel like crossing the causeway and getting wet, remember these ten best pool-party spots. Go get your splash on.
1. The Standard Spa. The beach is one of Miami's greatest treasures, but every trip there ends with sand stuck in annoying places. At the Standard's pool, though, relaxing on one of the many lounge chairs or the makeshift beach — sans sand, of course — is like spending a day on South Beach even though you're overlooking Biscayne Bay. That's because the infinity pool, equipped with an underwater sound system, is so close to the water that if you stand at just the right angle, it seems to disappear into the bay. The Standard boasts an exceptional spa, so you know there will be pampering. Take the Arctic Plunge, a 50-degree minipool that claims to "increase your heart rate and kickstart your circulation." If sitting in an ice box for the recommended minute isn't your thing, the Roman waterfall hot tub will warm you with eight feet of 103-degree water to "alleviate pain and detoxify" the body. With a waterfront wooden deck, the Standard also offers paddleboarding lessons. All of this fun comes with a pretty hefty price tag — $75 for a day pass Monday through Thursday and $150 Friday through Sunday and holidays — but at least you won't have sand glued to your body for days. The day pass also includes access to the hamam, steam room, sauna, and soaking tubs. If you find yourself at the hotel the last Sunday of the month, stop by the hilarious Not Your Standard Bingo, hosted by resident drag queen Shelley Novak, from 7 to 10 p.m. 40 Island Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-1717; standardhotels.com.
2. The Freehand Miami. The Freehand Miami gained popularity thanks to Gabriel Orta and the rest of the mixologists at the Broken Shaker, but Miami Beach's first upscale hostel has also made a name for itself with its intimate pool parties. There's colorful decor, tasty cocktails, and themed splash bashes that present some of the best underground DJs in the 305. The Freehand is a welcome escape from reality. The party continues 'round the clock at this millennial tourist hub. But if you’re looking for a way to chill the hell out from the grind, imbibe at the Broken Shaker, one of the best ways to relax in Miami. 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach; 305-531-2727; freehandhotels.com/miami.
3. 1 Hotel South Beach Rooftop. There's no view more breathtaking than a Miami sunset, and a rooftop view is even better. The 1 Hotel South Beach rooftop pool makes it easy to take in the orange, lilac, and pink afterglow. Take a dip at dusk for a refreshing respite from the humidity and stress of rush-hour traffic. Visitors can unwind from the workweek with DJs Saturdays and Sundays. Although the pool is open to hotel guests only, nonguests can still hang out by renting a cabana. After a long day at work, you'll fall in love with the city you call home when you view it from poolside heaven. 2341 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-604-1000; 1hotels.com/south-beach. To book a cabana, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Hyde Beach at the SLS Hotel. A ten-foot, 700-pound rubber ducky is not something you would expect to find at a swanky boutique hotel. At Hyde Beach at the SLS, however, that is exactly what you'll find at the east end of the hotel guest pool, right before the garden and beach pool. Designer Philippe Stark imagined both swimming pools to resemble bathtubs, hence the ducky. In other words, he wanted to make all of your childhood fantasies come true. Pool access for nonguests depends upon availability Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11 a.m. to sundown, and the entrance fee is at the doorman's discretion. 1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-1701; sbe.com/nightlife/locations/hyde-beach.
5. Clevelander South Beach Hotel & Bar. You’ve driven by the Clevelander when showing visitors around town, but maybe you thought you were too cool to hit up the South Beach tourist staple. Admit it: Bouncing beach balls in the pool and playing tourist for a day looks pretty fun. The folks at the Clevelander want you to play with the out-of-towners; the pool is open to the public every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Memorial Day crowds are heavy, but try this spot on an off-weekend for drinks with new friends you'll never see again. 1020 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-532-4006; clevelander.com.
6. Delano Hotel. Surrounded by chaise lounges, freestanding linen umbrellas, and canopied daybeds, the pool at the iconic Delano is as posh as the decor. Stroll through the Alice in Wonderland-themed garden path to behold its 7,000 square feet of refreshing, clear cure for the summertime blues. Access to the pool is available with a cabana rental, but nonguests are better off attending Delano Beach Club after 7 p.m., when live entertainment heats up as the night cools down. 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-672-2000; morganshotelgroup.com/delano/delano-south-beach.
7. Mondrian South Beach. The Mondrian does things differently, even when it comes to its pool. Named Miami's best hotel by New Times in 2014, the modern yet whimsical inn extends its eclectic and detail-oriented style to its pool area. It's open to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis, but hotel guests get priority, and nonguests must spend at least $50 on food and drinks. On a weekday, you can find a daybed for up to six people for $500, but you’ll have to fork over $750 on weekends. If you’re feeling luxe, splurge for a cabana ($800 weekdays and $1,000 on weekends) to accommodate more guests. DJs spin tunes poolside every Saturday and Sunday beginning around 11 a.m., so choose a special occasion, split the cost among friends, and take a daycation. 1100 West Ave., Miami Beach; 305-514-1500; morganshotelgroup.com/mondrian/mondrian-south-beach.
8. Shore Club. One of the biggest dilemmas you'll encounter at the Shore Club is deciding which of the two elevated-edge infinity pools to dive into first. The answer depends upon your personality. If you're more of a laid-back lounger, you'll likely pick the pool that's closest to the hotel. With lounge chairs and colorful, Moroccan-inspired beds, the vibe whispers relaxation. If you're more adventuresome, chances are you'll dip your toes into the pool that overlooks the beach. Near the shore, you'll spot banana boats and Jet Skis zooming across the horizon. Located between the pools and draped with sheer curtains is Rumbar, where you'll get the best of both worlds. The pool is strictly for hotel guests, so you'll have to book a room (or get sneaky). 1901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-695-3100; morganshotelgroup.com.
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9. The Confidante Miami Beach. Hey, locals, looking for an inexpensive way to unwind from the grind? The Confidante has you covered. Day passes for non-hotel guests start at $30 via resortpass.com and include access to the hotel's two pools, a poolside lounge chair, a beach chair stationed at the nearby beach, and other perks. Saturdays beginning at noon, catch DJs spinning at the hotel's laid-back Backyard Saturdays Pool Party. Hanging here won't burn a hole in your wallet. 4041 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-424-1234; theconfidantemiamibeach.hyatt.com.
10. Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel. Beyond the cow statues awaits the Surfcomber's chic and lush pool area. Though it would be a stretch to call this a proper pool party comparable to the Vegas-style revelry that goes down at the neighboring Hyde Beach, simply BYOP (bring your own party), whatever that may be to you. Grab a drink from the High Tide Bar, play a game of giant Jenga or Connect Four, and find a lounge chair poolside. This low-key spot is exactly what a day of chilling hard looks like. The pool is for hotel guests, so booking a room might be the push you need to give yourself the staycation you deserve. Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel, 1717 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-532-7715; surfcomber.com.