Miami life hacks: How to spend the day at the beach for free

Miami Life Hack

A free day at the beach

Although there’s more beach than we know what to do with, going to the beach in Miami isn’t cheap. Between parking and entrance fees alone, most beach days can end up costing unseemly amounts of money.


Key Biscayne is no different. Just to enter the city, you pay a toll. Crandon Park and El Farito are beautiful beaches, but they charge big bucks just to park your car there. That’s tremendo abuso before you’ve even applied your sunblock.

But I was taught that the beach should always be free. So, as a true beach lover who lives 15 minutes away from Key Biscayne, I’m going to share my secret to a getting a free beach day (minus the  toll — but there’s even a trick for ditching that).

It’s taken me a long time to share this spot, so in the name of “living like you live here,” keep it clean, keep it sacred.


Once you enter Key Biscayne proper, drive down Crandon Boulevard until you hit Village Green Park. There’s free parking all around the park’s perimeter, a rarity in Miami.

Across the street from Village Green Park is Heather Drive. Key Biscayne’s Crandon Park seems pretty inaccessible from the outside. Hotels and condos line the east side of Crandon Boulevard, making it impossible to enter if you’re not living or staying there. But Heather Drive leads the way to a free oasis. The seven-minute walk down the tree-lined pedestrian walkway is more meditation than commute.

If you want to ditch even the toll, you can bike there. Key Biscayne’s bike path is easily accessible and takes you straight into the city.


Of course, pull what you can out of your cabinets and make a picnic, or head over to Trader Joes and grab some cheap sandwich fare. Or you can use some of the money you saved to pack a muy “Comida Criolla” picnic from By Brothers (a couple of Pan con lechon sandwiches with a side order of mashed green plantains, Malanga cream and guanoabana juice will hit the spot). Or order a sandwich platter from The Cheese Course. (Think Italian caprese or Black Forest ham with cranberry relish on a baguette…. yes, yum!)

And oddly enough – if you don’t have a picnic basket and you just want to rent one, Miami even has a place that rents picnic baskets!

There you have it: A legitimately free way to enjoy our city’s best asset. Wave hi next time you’re there.