Insider’s Guide to Bal Harbour & Sunny Isles Beach - Full-Time Travel

Insider’s Guide to Bal Harbour & Sunny Isles Beach

Where to Stay, What to Eat, and What to Do in Our New Favorite Greater Miami Neighborhoods.

By Phoebe Neuman

Looking for a chic, beachfront village where you can enjoy high-end shopping, luxury stays, and stunning ocean views? Look no further than Bal Harbour. Located in the northern tip of Miami Beach, Bal Harbour is just the right speed for those looking for a sophisticated escape that is equal parts quiet and luxurious.

Serenity—plus plenty of places to shop, sip, and eat—can also be found in nearby Sunny Isles Beach, known for its pristine stretches of white sand and turquoise sea.

Here, we break down a few highlights from each neighborhood.

 

Stay

Both Bal Harbour and Sunny Isles Beach are home to their fair share of five-star resorts. There’s no wrong choice between Acqualina Resort & Residences On The Beach, The St. Regis Resort Bal Harbour, or The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour. All offer excellent service, world-class spas, and access to some of the most pristine stretches of sand in South Florida. Though all welcome families, Acqualina Resort & Residences On The Beach may be the most family-friendly of the three, as some of its suites are outfitted with kitchenettes. And, for those traveling without kids, the St. Regis Resort Bal Harbour has an adults-only pool—perfect for tranquil days spent soaking up the sun.

There are also plenty of other options in the area. Solé Miami, a Noble House Hotel in Sunny Isles Beach, and the Sea View Hotel in Bal Harbour are two that don’t skimp on beachfront access, beautiful views, and great on-property restaurants.

Shop

Bookended by the Bal Harbour Shops to the south and Aventura Mall to the north, this 6-mile stretch is home to some of the best shopping in all of Miami. Head to the Bal Harbour Shops for an afternoon spent wandering the iconic mid-century-modern plaza while doing some equally good window shopping and people-watching (you’ll also definitely be coming back to the Bal Harbour Shops for a meal or two—more on that below). If you still have room in your suitcase for a few more souvenirs after your trip to the Bal Harbour Shops, then head to Aventura to browse the mall’s 300-plus stores, and take in some large-scale blue-chip art from artists like Louise Bourgeois, Takashi Murakami, Claire Fontaine, and Virgil Abloh.

 

Dine

If you’re looking for a taste of Miami’s buzzing see-and-be-seen restaurant culture, you’re going to want to head back to the Bal Harbour Shops come dinner time. There you’ll find the ever-popular Carpaccio, Makoto, and Stephen Starr’s Le Zoo, as well as new outposts from European favorites like Monte Carlo’s Avenue 31 Café and Paris’s Café Laperouse (set to open next January).

Sunny Isles Beach’s dining scene is slightly less trendy than Bal Harbour’s but every bit as good. A white-tablecloth dinner at Il Mulino New York at the Acqualina Resort & Residences On The Beach is a must for lovers of Italian cuisine (Timo is also a neighborhood favorite for Italian). And you’ll find a mix of globally inspired cuisine in Sunny Isles Beach—think Ke-uH for Japanese tapas, Ava Estiatorio Miami for Greek, and BALEENKitchen for a little bit of everything.

 

See & Do

One of the biggest perks of calling this area of Northern Miami Beach your home base is access to some of the most pristine stretches of coastline in South Florida. No matter where you stay in Bal Harbour or Sunny Isles Beach, plan on spending plenty of time enjoying crowd-free private beaches and sparkling turquoise waters. If you’re looking to get a little bit active during your stay, you can stretch your legs on the Beach Path, or head to Oleta River State Park—where a manatee may just join you for your morning paddleboard session.

Sunny Isles Beach and Bal Harbour also offer great access to Miami’s vibrant art scene. In addition to local galleries and historical sites like the Ancient Spanish Monastery (a 12th-century monastery that was painstakingly moved from its original location and rebuilt in Sunny Isles Beach), both neighborhoods are a short drive away from the city’s best museums. Bal Harbour even offers hotel guests complimentary access to 17 of those museums through the Unscripted Art Museum Access Card.

 

This story was sponsored by Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

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