Far too often, residential stretches on popular beaches can start to look too much like one another. We’ll see towering condo complexes and bustling hotels, generic pool areas separated from beaches by simple fences and low walls, and around it all a maze of concrete and beach-related restaurants and retail spaces. It’s not that this image is unpleasant by any means. There’s a reason the same general atmosphere tends to be replicated so frequently—it works! But for those who appreciate the natural side of beach vacation spots, the blend of sand and concrete can leave a little something to be desired.
The truth is, a beachside vacation should make you feel alive and active. You’re not staying at just another resort, but rather in an area specifically appreciated for its natural beauty! The truth is that in certain areas, Miami is like every other popular urban beach spot, because it has its share of busy streets and skyscrapers. But it also happens to be home to plenty of delightful neighborhoods showcasing natural beauty and a quieter, more pristine aesthetic. Here are a few such neighborhoods, perfect for providing that natural serenity you want when living at or visiting the beach.
It’s hard to imagine a much more beautiful area within a large city than Coral Gables. An article about living in this area put it best, stating that residents love the “old-world ambience of this historic enclave that conjures the image of a place that feels an oasis in a city otherwise built-up and bustling. The same article went on to describe banyan-ruled streets, bubbling fountains, and Mediterranean-style piazzas, altogether creating an image that reminds you of “some faraway European city.” To be clear, Coral Gables offers no illusion that it isn’t made and thoroughly planned by man. However, it’s still teeming with the beauty of nature, offering a brilliant contrast to the skyscraper condos and resorts that line much of South Beach.
Only a short distance from Coral Gables is Coconut Grove, an older neighborhood that runs right up against the beautiful Biscayne Bay. The bay contributes greatly to this area’s beauty. Views are relatively unobstructed by large beachfront properties, and it’s nothing short of breathtaking to look out on the sailboats dotting the water on a clear day. The neighborhood also has history to spare, given that it’s home to the Barnacle State Historic State Park and the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens—two beautiful areas constructed around the turn of the 20th century.
Palmetto Bay offers the best of both worlds to people who are looking to take up residence in Miami. It’s a relatively short drive from downtown, conveniently close but comfortingly isolated as well. Even so, it has its own shopping and restaurant areas, and maintains them without sacrificing the natural beauty that makes the neighborhood desirable in the first place. The neighborhood is also initiating green programs such as the LEED-certified Coral Reef Park and several areas of developing landscaping. In other words, it’s a naturally beautiful place where there are efforts being made to make it more beautiful.
It has a reputation largely as a hot spot for retirees, but Key Biscayne should still be mentioned among the most naturally appealing neighborhoods in the Miami area. Though there are extravagant homes dotted around the area, the coastline feels about as natural as anywhere in the surrounding region. The beach is rocky at places, palm trees dot the sand in a sort of naturally occurring grid, and you can see sand bars appearing and disappearing a short distance out to sea. For pure coastal beauty, Key Biscayne is difficult to top.