What to see and do in Surfside

On the sliver of land across Biscayne Bay from
Miami
, Florida, lie the towns of Miami Beach and Bal Harbor. In
between the two of them is tiny Surfside, with only 6,000
residents. It’s usually overshadowed by the energy of Miami Beach
and, until recently, the swank shops of Bal Harbour.

But Surfside is a nice alternative to those two more traveled
destinations, an option for adults and families who want a chill
vibe away from the bustle of Miami, or anyone who’s into a little
pampering, warm Atlantic waters, and a serene beach scene.

A glamorous history

The city was incorporated in May of 1835 via the signatures of
35 members of the Surf Club, where the rich and famous gathered —
and still do. Guests included Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava
Gardner, Winston Churchill, and Dean Martin. The cream of the crop
made their own little enclave, which emerged as a destination
township after World War II.

In keeping with that posh history, Surfside’s motto is
“Miami’s Uptown Beachtown.” And, indeed, just over two years
ago the Four Seasons opened a hotel in Surfside called Four Seasons at the Surf
Club
. But a better descriptor of the beachside hamlet would be
to call it a marriage of swank and sleepy, quaint and quirky.

Many of the residents are Orthodox Jewish, living in one-story,
candy-colored homes three streets inland from the shore. However,
you probably won’t get that far into the residential area.
You’ll stay on the beach districts and the mile-long main street,
which features nonstop restaurants, spas, and boutique shops. And
just one block in from the sea are multi-story, mid-range to
upscale spas, hotels, and condos overlooking an unobstructed white
sand beach.

Community-oriented outdoor pursuits

Photo:
Anton Mislawsky
/Shutterstock

While Surfside still holds onto a bit of its glamorous vintage
vibe, today it’s more focused on providing a healthy quality of
life for residents, visitors, and the environment. One way it does
that is promoting plenty of family-friendly, healthy activities for
residents and visitors.

Next May will mark the third annual Paddletopia,
where people of all ages can play for free on kayaks and stand-up
paddleboards (SUPs). There are yoga classes, street food vendors,
book swaps, and crafty workshops for when you tire of water
sports.

Following that, on the first four monthly Fridays of June
through September, the town shows free, summery family films at the
93rd Street Beach. Every third Thursday from January to April,
there’s a block party, which features activities from cooking
demos to Zumba, on 95th Street between Collins and Harding
Avenues.

You can also just relax on the wide white-sand beach that runs
for a full serene mile, without commercial intrusion. The Atlantic
water is warm and quite mellow. Walking and biking paths travel the
length of the seaboard. A lifeguard is on duty outside the
Community Center. It’s a truly idyllic place to relax, exercise,
or both.

A haven for sea turtles

Photo:
Heiko Kiera
/Shutterstock

Surfside is also focused on what it calls its “most beloved
residents,” the loggerhead sea turtles. Between May and November,
during the turtles’ nesting season, Surfside keeps its street
lights low and protects some areas of the beach. You might see
adult and hatchling turtles on the shore.

A Sea Turtle Awareness program takes place in summer at the
Crandon Park Visitors & Nature Center and at Haulover Park.
There are even opportunities to work with rangers from Miami-Dade
county to help release little turtle hatchlings into the sea. The
county’s Sea Turtle Conservation program has seen more than a
half-million hatchlings released into the sea since it was launched
nearly four decades ago.

Strolling the
Turtle Walk
on 93rd Street between Collins and Harding Avenues,
you’ll see Surfy and 12 other turtle sculptures, created by
different local artists to pay homage to those well-loved
creatures.

An eclectic mix of cuisines

Photo:
Josh’s Deli
/Facebook

Surfside features some of the United States’ most authentic
and delicious kosher food spots outside New York City. That’s for
good reason, as more than 2,500 of the 6,000 residents are of
Orthodox Jewish heritage. A good place to try a classic deli with a
modern edge is Josh’s Deli.

Nowadays, the town also has a booming multiethnic gastronomic
scene. Beyond the posh restaurants in its oceanfront hotel, you can
go for something a little more down to earth, like a Greek lamb
burger or a salmon burger, at a place like Araxi Burger.

If you just want to cool off with a cold, frozen treat, try the
house-made Latin American popsicles in flavors like coconut, dulce
de leche (actually filled with more dulce de leche), or coffee
filled with cream at Surfside’s branch of Morelia Gourmet Paletas.

Swank hotels and spas

Surfside is home to some pretty stunning hotels, like Four Seasons at the Surf
Club
, which opened on New Year’s Eve in 1930 and has
attracted famous guests from Elizabeth Taylor to the royal family
to Sinatra. The hotel surrounds the jaw-dropping, famous Surf Club
where the best-trained servers procure fancy-pants food and
cocktails in the Champagne bar. The beachside Grand Beach Hotel
Surfside
is another upscale option, with ocean view suites and
inspirational spa.

Even if you don’t shell out for these big hotels, stop in for
a drink and the view. Regardless of where you stay, as long as you
have a receipt from a licensed hospitality venue, every Surfside
guest gets to use the Surfside
Community Center
. There, you’ll find a kids’ plunge pool, a
lap pool, lots of 90-minute health and wellness classes — and the
amenities are free. There’s also a solid on-site cafe and
grill.

You could also just pop into a spa. Many of them dot elegant
Surfside, which may be why locals look indisputably gorgeous.
Surfside has the first Esmell
salon
outside Brazil. You can get your hair, makeup, or nails
done by internationally recognized artists at Jean-Claude Biguine. There are
medspas, barber shops, waxing studios… anything you need to try
and look as good as the locals.

The post Surfside,
Florida, is a swank, sleepy escape a stone’s throw from Miami

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Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
What to see and do in Surfside