Miami Sandbar Boating Guide
Miami has soft white sands that are constantly being shifted and rearranged in shallow clear blue waters, the best sandbars in the world.
Couples, families, friends, and group travelers come to these sandbars on weekends for relaxation and partying. No matter who you are or what you enjoy, there’s likely to be a sandbar that is just for you. Check out our guide on sandbars in Miami which includes:
- Best boat types for sandbars
- Top 4 sandbars in Miami
- Random sandbars & more
Read all the way through to catch Pro Boatsetter Tips.
Boat Types for Miami Sandbars
The best type of boat depends more on what you plan on doing than the sandbar you’re going to.
Pro Tip: A general rule is to avoid large boats as they don’t do well in shallow sandbars.
Choose a boat to suit the activities you want to do at the sandbar. Also, keep your group tight — 8 to 10 people at most.
If you’re looking for a cool place to grill out, picnic, or sunbathe in the boat, you should go for a vessel like:
- Pontoon boats
- Fishing boats
And if you want to stay out on the water for long periods to party or hang out, you may want something even bigger like:
Top 4 sandbars in Miami
This is one of the most popular sandbars in Miami. It has shallow, gently sloping “shores” that are easy to access and is often frequented by many boaters, kayakers, and paddleboarders. Needless to say, it is only accessible by boat.
You can find it near North Miami Beach, slightly west of Haulover Beach Marina, inside Haulover Cut. Most people who visit Haulover Sandbar use it to wade the waters, swim, snorkel, sunbathe, mingle with other people, or eat from one of the many delicious food boats. Haulover Sandbar is often visited by:
- D’s Sandbar Munchies. They sell delicious burgers, hotdogs, salads, drinks, and more.
- Aquatic Flavors. They serve up mouthwatering tacos, Philly cheesesteaks, chicken tenders, fries, sirloin burgers, chicken wings, ceviche, and cheeseburgers.
Other food boats near Haulover Sandbar are
- Mr. Munchies Food Boat. This one is at Pace Picnic Island and specializes in yummy empanadas.
- Raw Bar 2 Go. Owner Keyla Castillo makes incredible Peruvian style ceviche.
This is more of a party sandbar, and probably isn’t a great idea for families. The evenings and weekends usually bring big crowds of party boaters to this area, so it is not suitable for children.
Nixon Sandbar is another super hot party spot for boaters. It is crowded all day every day, and jam packed on weekends and holidays.
It can be found in Biscayne Bay, just west of Key Biscayne and adjacent to Hurricane Harbor. You can access it by a paddling boat such as a canoe, kayak, or stand up paddleboard, but almost every single boat here is motorized and much larger than kayaks and canoes.
This sandbar is beautiful, but what keeps people coming back to it over and over is the solid party vibe and fellow partiers.
Some come here to snorkel, scuba dive, or swim, but most are here to drink, eat, interact with other people, float on the water around the sandbar, and/or sunbathe. Nixon Sandbard is only accessible by boat.
Bear Cut Sandbar
Bear Cut Sandbar offer boaters a naturescape, this tranquil sandbar is perfect for families, especially families with small children. Also, outdoors enthusiasts looking for a new spot to hangout.
You can find the Bear Cut Sandbar in the northern section of Crandon Park, near Crandon Beach on Key Biscayne. It is one of the smaller sandbars in the area. You can reach it by a motorized boat or by smaller vessels like kayaks.
It is very popular with snorkelers and scuba divers because of the clear blue water, coral reefs, and hidden underwater wrecks. You catch people meditating, reading, sunbathing, or walking along the sandbar alone, enjoying the peace and quiet.
Islamorada Sandbar / Whale Channel Sandbar
Islamorada Sandbar is near Islamorada’s Village of Islands at Mile Marker 84. It is located just off Windley Key.
This sandbar sits barely underwater, making it seem more hidden and interesting. People (and dogs) love climbing off their boats and wading in the shallow ankle to knee-deep water. When the water is low, many people love to lie on the sand of it where they are barely submerged in the water to sunbathe.
Boats will sometimes raft up to hang out and party.
Pro Tip: If your group is divided by a couple boats, you can tie up your boats together or “raft up.” This will make it easy to hop on and off each other’s vessels. It’ll feel like you’re on a mega boat.
While this spot has partiers, it is a relatively tame spot, and several families boat out here to enjoy a sunny Miami day.
Sandbars shift, merge, appear, disappear, and reappear. Take advantage of the newly appeared or reappeared sandbars for more privacy and peace, as it is unlikely that many other boats or people will join you on them.
Explore the waters, enjoy the sandbars, have fun with the people you love, and be safe. Here are a few helpful articles for those of you new to boating or for those that need a refresher:
- Running Out of Gas on a Boat? Here’s What to Do
- Step by Step Guide for Anchoring Your Boat
- What to Do Before Fueling Your Boat
Are you ready to explore the sandbars of Miami but missing a boat? You can rent a boat and charter a captain right here.
Boatsetter is a unique boat-sharing platform that gives everyone — whether you own a boat or you’re just renting — the chance to experience life on the water. You can list a boat, book a boat, or make money as a captain.