If you’re looking for something off-the-beaten path yet in the heart of things, there is a new(ish) kid on the block: Sunny Isles Beach. Located north of Miami Beach — a short distance to the luxury Bal Harbour Shops and the Fountainebleau resort — Sunny Isles Beach is actually its own city, and ready to be a destination for those who want to go to Miami, yet retreat from it if necessary. Sunny Isles Beach is an easy, half-our drive to South Beach, and there also tons of cab/bus alternatives if you want to party at Twist, Score, or other S.B. hotspots.
What used to be a sand bar, Sunny Isles witnessed a quiet, mid-century motel and hotel boom during the last four decades. But in 1997, the city became its own municipality and changed the laws governing beach construction, ultimately allowing skyscrapers to pop up almost over night; one of them being Sole On the Ocean. This swank, boutique hotel is right smack on the water and perfect for those who want to hit a beach that isn’t Miami Beach, in other words, quiet and non-sceney. The best part? The attractive owner, if he’s not busy, will give personal paddleboard lessons.
There is no shortage of luxury on Sunny Isles Beach, with places like the Trump International Beach Resort and the Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach. New shops are opening on Collins Avenue — the main drag — and shiny high-rise condo towers are springing up in this once-quiet hamlet, now home to only 20,000 people. Before things change even further, now is the perfect time to check out this under-the-radar corner of Miami-Dade County.
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