A 12-mile strip along Miami's east coast, the northern beaches are a collection of wealthy suburban beach towns stretching from about 46th Street, just north of Mid-Beach, to about 191st Street in Sunny Isles. Collins Avenue is the area's main drag. Along its east side, you'll find the high-rise hotels and resorts emblematic of Florida's early-21st-century boom; down the west side it's strip mall after strip mall, with some nicer restaurants dotting the path.
Sunny Isles refers to itself as "Florida's Riviera" -- which is a bit of an exaggeration. There are a few chichi standouts -- Lime Lounge at the Trump International Beach Resort, the Il Mulino Italian restaurant at the ultra-luxe Acqualina Resort, yachting in the Biscayne Bay, and the Bal Harbour Shops, the most exclusive open-air mall in the country -- but most areas are really just safe, humble, residential communities about 30 minutes by car from Miami's major attractions.
Swapping South Beach's smaller Art Deco boutiques for high-rise resorts, the northern beaches trade glitzy parties and throbbing dance beats for more affordable, family-focused beachfront hotels. If you're taking the kids, the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort in Sunny Isles is probably your best, mid-range option -- you'll find jumbo-cookie decorating, poolside limbo contests, family movie nights, video game rooms, and more.
But dazzling luxury spa resorts -- like the Acqualina Resort and Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles, or the quieter, more romantic Regent Bal Harbour a few miles south -- have been cropping up in recent years, rivaling even the best, most stylish hotels in South Beach. The Regent's beach is a bit disappointing, but the bathrooms alone are worth the steep price of admission.
Price alone doesn't cut it -- what we're looking for is iconic design, beautiful rooms, overindulgent service, and the best food in Miami. Here's a list of Northern Beaches hotels where you can live in the lap of luxury.
Miami has excellent family hotels, but we scoured the city looking for the select few hotels that not only offer great features for kids but also have a safe, convenient location, rooms large enough to sleep a family (and with cribs available), affordable kids' dining alternatives, and a safe, comfortable atmosphere for young children. Here are our picks for Northern Beaches.
|Airports:||Miami Int'l (30-40-min. drive)|
|Fort Lauderdale Int'l (30-40-min. drive)|
|Visa:||No, for nationalities included in the Visa Waiver Program|
|Electricity:||120 V, 60 Hz|
|Tipping:||15-20% at restaurants|
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