Getting Around Miami Beach
Six causeways cross Biscayne Bay between Miami and Miami Beach. Each offers striking views of the city, especially at night when the illuminated downtown buildings twinkle over the bay's dark waters. The gleaming Venetian Causeway crosses six islands — San Marino Island, Dilido Island, Biscayne Island, San Marco Island, Belle Isle, and Rivo Alto Island, each covered with plush residential areas. The northern causeways, each with a different sumptuous view, are Julia Tuttle, North Bay, Sunny Isles, and Lehman. And to the south, the Rickenbacker Causeway leads to the smaller, less developed Virginia Key and larger Key Biscayne.
Parking can be expensive in South Beach, so the city sells a $25 parking pass good at its six garages and all parking meters — $1 per hour (in quarters) at meters and $1 an hour with a maximum of 24 hours in garages — plus on the South Beach Local Shuttle, which makes stops every ten minutes from 7:45 A.M. to 1:00 A.M. on a loop around South Beach. (305-673-7275).
Over nineteen of the sixty-three Miami–Dade County Metrobus routes run between Miami Beach and downtown Miami, as well as the Metrozoo and the Seaquarium. You'll pay $1.25 each way for an adult and 60 cents per child ages 6 to 12, plus 25 cents for transfers. Buses operate from 4:30 A.M. to 2:13 A.M. (305-770-3131)
Best Time to Go
With its subtropical climate, where the temperature hovers between 70° and 80° most of the time, Miami Beach is good to visit all year long, except perhaps in mid-summer when the temperatures on some days can reach 90°. And with those higher temperatures come afternoon showers to cool things off.
Cautions and Safety Concerns
The biggest precaution you need to take in Miami Beach is over-exposure to the sun. You're in the tropics here, so wearing sunblock any time you go out in the sun, even for a walk, is absolutely necessary. You should only spend twenty minutes in the sun the first day, thirty the next, fifty the next, and an hour the next. Besides wearing a shirt and hat, protect your lips with a lip balm. Unfortunately, most people don't budget enough time into their vacation to build up their sun exposure and get severely burned in the process.
How much time you spend in the sun determines the color of your tan, but location is also important. You'll seriously burn while over open salt water when boating or fishing. Reflected rays burn you even if you're deeply tanned. You'll also burn faster sunbathing on a white beach by the ocean.
Though crime due to drugs has been on the upswing more in Miami than Miami Beach, it's still a good idea to stick to the main streets and be aware of your valuables at all times.