Florida : Safety by City
- Amelia Island
- Boca Raton
- Boynton Beach
- Cape Coral
- Cocoa Beach
- Coral Springs
- Daytona Beach
- Deerfield Beach
- Delray Beach
- Everglades City
- Fort Lauderdale
- Fort Myers
- Fort Pierce
- Fort Walton Beach
- Key Largo
- Key West
- Lake Buena Vista
- Lake City
- Lake Worth Beach
- Marco Island
- Miami Beach
- Miami Gardens
- Mount Dora
- New Smyrna Beach
- North Port
- Ormond Beach
- Palm Beach Gardens
- Palm Harbor
- Panama City Beach
- Pembroke Pines
- Pompano Beach
- Port St. Lucie
- Punta Gorda
- St. Augustine
- St. Petersburg
- Vero Beach
- West Palm Beach
- Winter Park
Miami Beach, Florida, is a city that needs little introduction.
It’s the apex of nightlife and beach life on a 15 square mile island.
Culture, art, sun, and fun collide in this energy-filled community that’s a tourist destination all year.
Miami Beach is broken up into four neighborhoods by the Miami Beach Police Department:
- South Beach (SoBe, as the locals call it)
- Mid Beach
- North Beach (Not to be confused with North Miami Beach, which is a separate city)
- Art Deco District
Each neighborhood brings its own culture, vibe, and attractions, but Miami Beach is not for the faint of heart.
This isn’t a quiet, peaceful beach getaway.
This is where you come to let loose.
Miami Beach is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the #2 Best Nightlife City in the U.S., #2 Best Spring Break Destination, and #9 Best Beached in the United States.
There are special safety tips for Miami Beach to make the trip as good as possible.
Warnings & Dangers in Miami Beach
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
There's medium risk overall. A lot is going on here. There can be large crowds and a cultural melting pot of people. The weather can get intense and crime rates can be high.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Taxis are plentiful in South Beach and they are all regulated by the Miami-Dade Government. For example, a trip from mid-beach to the Art Deco district, just a three-mile drive, will cost about $13 (before tip). You can ride the Miami Beach Trolley for free and it runs every half hour or so and covers all Miami Beach neighborhoods. Rideshares are also available. There's low risk because all of these options are regulated and imperative to the tourism industry of Miami Beach, but always keep your guard up in a city this busy. Do locals hack? If you are in a taxi and the driver asks where you are from, say "Hialeah." You might be surprised how much faster your trip moves when they don't think they're up charging a tourist.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here and you had better keep your purse or wallet close to you at all times. Nearly 200 reports of pickpocketing happened in 2020, and while that's not a lot compared to the sheer number of tourists, it's a constant risk for anyone who lets their guard down.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
For every gorgeous beach day Miami Beach offers, there's a day with a weather risk. Hurricane season runs June through November, with August and September being the biggest hurricane months. Miami Beach takes its fair share of whacks from hurricanes and the entire island will be evacuated if a storm is approaching. Florida is also infamous for its summer storms that pop up suddenly. They can drop large amounts of rain and bring heavy winds, not to mention dangerous lightning. There's a medium risk here and don't mess around with Florida weather. If a storm is approaching, go inside.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
While the robbery numbers weren't as high as I'd expected, with just 200 reported in 2020, there's always going to be a chance someone is going to take a crime of opportunity. Don't ever bring cash into plain sight in public. Even one of my friends who lived in the area for many years, who is about the toughest lady I know, said, "I would never take cash out of an ATM in South Beach." We're going to call this a medium risk just because the potential is there, even though crime stats don't necessarily back it up.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here, with such a large metro area around Miami Beach. There's also the Port of Miami, which brings unwanted risk, and a chemical plant.
SCAMS RISK: HIGH
So many scams risk here that we're going to give this a high risk. If anyone working for a restaurant says 'We've got a tourist special for you", run. You'll end up paying much more than you expected. Most places in Miami Beach charge an 18% gratuity for food, even for individual drinks, so make sure you aren't double-tipping. They aren't going to point out that the gratuity is already on there. Don't fall for "2-for-1" deals. Men, avoid any woman with an accent who suddenly seems into you. Did you see the movie "Hustlers" with Jennifer Lopez? That's a b-girl scam and they are everywhere in Miami Beach.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: HIGH
There's a high risk for women here, not just being a victim of a crime, but being exploited. Never take a drink you didn't see poured, avoid walking around by yourself, avoid anyone who is promising you free and immediate access to a hot nightclub. The beach near 8th Street can be especially intense with a party atmosphere and cat-calling. Someone might snap a picture of you in your bathing suit and share it on social media or scandalous websites.
TAP WATER RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in the tap water. While the water quality report shows it meets all required standards, there was a health violation in recent years. There is also a concern about the amount of PFAS in the drinking water. While the water won't make you sick, environmentally-conscious people will probably want to stick with bottled water for drinking.
Safest Places to Visit in Miami Beach
Ocean Drive is the main drag in South Beach.
It’s worth seeing just for the experience, but it’s not advised to spend a lot of time in this area, especially after dark.
While this can be an enjoyable place to walk around, you don’t want to risk getting scammed at a restaurant or store.
Sightseeing in this area is the best way to enjoy it, then move on.
Head to Ocean and 10th to the Art Deco District Visitor’s Center.
Get a map of the area and save money on a guided tour.
You can do a self-guided tour through the area or download the MDPL app for free.
Wear good walking shoes as this will take a while.
Lincoln Road is the end-all-be-all for shopping in South Beach.
You get a little bit of beach and a lot of unique shops.
Restaurants and nightclubs in this area are open late for the party crowd.
I’m told the rooftop view from Juvia is a must-see.
At the very south tip of Miami Beach, there’s South Pointe Park.
You get ocean views here, yes, but there’s also the Miami skyline, a look at the cruise ships going in and out, and a peek at Fisher Island.
This park is a breath of fresh air from the intensity of South Beach.
If you want to walk the shoreline or go for a run, the Miami Beachwalk is a great place to do it.
If you see the Fountainbleu resort, you know you are in the Mid Beach area.
This has an arts district all its own called the Faena District.
This area makes you feel like you’re living in luxury, even if your hotel is miles away.
It’s worth a trip here just to see the hotel lobbies.
For the most unique shopping experience you’ll ever have, go to the Faena Bazaar.
Between 21st Street and 45th Street, there’s a beach that’s a little more subdued than South Beach.
This is also a great place if you want to spot celebrities.
There are no food services or lifeguards here, but if we’re talking about safety, this beach is a pretty good option.
North Beach is the place to be for the relaxing beach vacation seekers.
Bal Harbour Beach is THE place for the rich and richer.
You can live the high life (if you can afford it) without the drunk tourists everywhere, or you can just walk along the majestic beach to the end of the jetty that gives a unique view of Miami Beach.
Surfside Beach is another top beach here, still giving that high-class vibe with stunning beach and ocean views.
This is known as Uptown Beach Town.
If all that fancy life is a little too much for you, North Beach Oceanside Park is a great option here as well.
Places to Avoid in Miami Beach
This one is a little tricky, as anyone from a 21-year-old looking to celebrate his/her/their birthday in Miami Beach and wants to party to a 60-year-old couple looking to get a taste of art and culture while still catching some rays with their grandkids could be reading this information.
Let’s start at Haulover Beach.
It’s a nude beach and up to 7,000 people go there each day.
You don’t have to be nude to go there, but there will be plenty of naked people around.
Use good etiquette — no pictures and don’t gawk.
Don’t go to any of the beaches at night, especially near South Beach.
There’s no security or lifeguard and you’re setting yourself up to be a prime crime target.
If you must go, travel with a large group for safety.
Don’t ever go alone.
Be prepared to pay up to $50 to get into a nightclub, and that might come with a several-hour wait to get in.
The earlier the better, as South Beach nightlife starts popping after midnight.
Never take a drink from a stranger.
Men, be warned about those B-Girls.
They are attractive women in revealing clothing who act like you are the greatest thing on earth.
They want to get your credit card on file and they’ll ply you with alcohol while they secretly drink water.
Before you know it, your credit card is maxed out and you don’t remember what happened the next morning.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Miami Beach
- Know what you’re getting into. Especially if you are spending a lot of time in South Beach, it’s crowded all the time. Depending on how you look at it, it’s a frenzied or exciting pace all day and night long. You are going to be surrounded by a lot of people. Now is the time to look at a way to protect your wallet and downsize that large designer purse for safety.
- Most restaurants and bars charge a gratuity automatically on a drink. This surprises a lot of tourists as it’s now well known and leads to a lot of double-dipping. Always check your receipts closely before you leave. That $10 drink could be a $12 drink with gratuity and you dropped a $5 tip on top of that.
- Let your credit card company know ahead of time you are traveling to Miami and set a daily spending limit if it’s an option. All too often at a bar in Miami Beach, people will leave their credit card at the bar and run up a tab, leading to more potential fraud. Again, always check the receipt and make sure you haven’t been double charged. It’s especially easy for bars to do this if you’re visibly intoxicated because they might assume you have no idea how much you drank.
- There are people on the street who will give you a wristband to a nightclub and promise free entry. That’s not a promise they can keep. Many tourists get frustrated when they go to the club, show their wristband, but still get told to wait. You’re already there and dressed up, so of course, you’ll wait. It’s just a way for the promoters to bring more people to the club, and that wristband signals they get a commission for recruiting you.
- You can trust your hotel with your credit card, but there’s a scam you need to know about. Someone will call your room through the operator service and ask for confirmation on the credit card at the front desk, just confirming something, they’ll say. Never give this information over the phone. Tell them you’ll come down to the front desk to confirm. If you find out the call wasn’t legit, report it to hotel security.
- There are many booths in South Beach offering tour tickets. This is another common scam. These workers want to get a commission for the tour you are taking, so they might sell you the most profitable tour for themselves, not the best tour for you. If possible, book your tours online after you’ve been able to properly research the company.
- Learn basic Spanish phrases before you go. There are a lot of different languages spoken in the Miami Beach area, and Spanish is as common as English in some areas.
- It’s illegal to drink alcohol on any of the beaches in Miami Beach. Don’t try it. Even in a large crowd, you can get spotted and ticketed.
- If you are going out to enjoy the nightlife, dress appropriately. There are many beach communities where casual attire is okay. This isn’t one of them. Jeans are usually not allowed in the clubs and t-shirts are going to leave you waiting in line all night. You need to dress up in glitz and glamour to even have a chance of getting in.
- Crosswalks mean nothing to most drivers in Miami Beach. If you are a pedestrian, don’t just walk in a crosswalk even if you have the right of way. Look both ways repeatedly. South Beach is one of the most dangerous areas of the country for pedestrian accidents.
So... How Safe Is Miami Beach Really?
Miami Beach is the third most dangerous city in Florida, according to 2020 FBI data.
While those statistics are based on the population vs the number of crimes, not taking into account the huge tourism numbers, it still resonates.
There’s almost a one in 10 chance of being a crime victim in Miami Beach overall.
The larceny rates are more than four times the national average and robbery rates are more than three times the national average.
We’re not trying to scare you away from Miami Beach as there is so much to do and explore.
We just want you to be aware of the risks that exist.
You have to be confident and bold in Miami Beach.
Don’t let a fast-talking swindler talk you into something, whether it’s a meal, a tour, or a distraction to pickpocket you.
You are going to be surrounded by people in various states of dress and intoxication.
If you have personal space issues, prepare for crowds.
The Miami Beach Police Department has officers assigned to all the neighborhoods and works 24/7 to keep an eye on the crowds.
On average, people spend $250 a day in Miami Beach and it’s the top draw for tourists to the Miami area.
It’s not going to keep getting these huge crowds if it’s not safe.
This is a city where your behavior and insider knowledge gained from articles like this is going to directly determine how at-risk you are.
How Does Miami Beach Compare?
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All Visa information and checks will be done at the airport or port of entry. Nothing else is required to get to Miami Beach.
The U.S Dollar is the currency here. There's a currency exchange office in Miami Beach called Lincoln Currency Exchange.
Miami Beach has highs that don't go below the 70s and reach up to the 90s. It's rare for it to get colder than the high 50s. Fun Fact: When it does get the occasional "cold snap", the National Weather Service issues Falling Igauan warnings. The iguanas can't control their body heat and when it gets cold they just seize up and fall. They do recover when it warms back up. You'll want to bring plenty of beach attire, fancy clothes if you are going clubbing, rain gear just in case, and plenty of sunscreens.
Miami International Airport is 12 miles away from Miami Beach. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport is another option when people are looking for a cheaper deal, but that's about 34 miles and an hour's drive away.
Get travel insurance for your trip to Miami Beach as the weather can be unpredictable in a tropical climate.
Miami Beach Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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