Miami’s South Beach doesn't have to be just about sun-tanning, fancy dining, and shopping. On a cool, sunny day, a lovely experience is to explore America's most famous beach community by biking along the beach path.
Starting at the south end, visit the recently revamped South Pointe Park -- a gorgeous enclave of new apartment towers and restaurants with outdoor dining and bay views.
Travel north through the art deco district and imagine what the seafront was like 30 years ago, when mostly retirees resided in what was, then, a rather sleepy quarter. Stop by The Hotel for an early drink at the rooftop pool and swanky Spire Lounge. It's a sexy vibe with arguably the best ocean view from a hotel pool in town.
Continue due north, beyond the boutique hotels, and you’ll pass by the bigger, glitzy-glam properties South Beach is known for – like the Shore Club, Setai, W, Gansevoort, and Delano. Lock up your bike at the latter and enjoy a casual lunch on the sand (pass through the hotel’s hip lobby and stroll out the back, where several beachfront tables sit just beyond the pool).
While it's possible to follow the boardwalk further north, you’ll have to walk your bike (or carry on along Collins Avenue). The Fontainebleau, South Beach’s longtime grande dame, marks a good turn-around point. Pop in for a peek at the hotel’s whopping $1 billion makeover (completed in late 2008) before heading back south.
Finish by resting your feet at the Mondrian (on West Street at 11th), where you can toast to your daytrip and relish impressive views of the sun setting over Miami’s skyline.