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Comparison Piece on South Beach vs. Key Biscayne

By: Marc Badrian // Contributing InSight Writer

Issue date: 7/8/08 Section: Insight
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Feel like soaking up a little sun while you're in the sunny haven of Miami? You've got your swimsuit, towel, football, grilling foods and drinks…now all you need is the right beach. Well ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the fight of the century: the Battle of the Beaches! In one corner, we have the quiet slice of paradise called Key Biscayne, and in the other corner we have the glitzy and glamorous South Beach.

Notoriously known for its upscale dining and trés chic nightclubs, most people don't focus on deliberating the "beach" aspect of SoBe. You're going to use a good bit of gas since it's a little far away, but once you finally reach Washington Ave., you get to play a fun little game I call "Drive Around in Traffic for 45 Minutes Looking for a Parking Spot." You can opt to pay $10-$20 to park in a garage, but otherwise, you'd better get ready to kick a sweet old lady in the jugular to get a spot at a meter. Once you hit the beach, good luck finding some space, because for some reason every person and their mother are there. You set up camp and take out your grilling stuffs, only to discover that there aren't any grills at South Beach. It also can rain on any given day and then you get to play another little game I call "Mass Exodus: Stuck in Traffic Forever." Trust me, it happens. Truthfully, South Beach is a beach like any other. There is an abundance of sand, water, muscular guys, and girls in teeny bikinis, but relaxing and enjoying your day there is no easy feat.

If your looking for a little place more like Kokomo, then Key Biscayne has a lot to offer. It's closer and easier to get to than South Beach, and the cost is slightly less, charging a flat rate of $5 to park and a $1.25 toll (Florida loves their tolls). There's a parking lot with spaces available just steps from the sand. Since there's normally a lot less people, you can set up camp easily and even fire up one of Key Biscayne's many grills and make lunch. However, Key Biscayne also has its lesser selling points. For one, you might want to murder the neighborhood Ice Cream Man for constantly blaring that same annoying, chipper little tune while you're trying to relax and enjoy the day. Also, the many "Warning!" signs posted at the beach's entrance indicate that there is an abundance of jellyfish at Key Biscayne. I've never seen them in the "treacherous" waters, but you never know.

The bottom line is that if you have friends visiting from out of town or if you want to go show off your rockin' new set of six-pack abs to all the lucky ladies, then go to South Beach. But if you are thinking about going to the beach to hang out, chill out or grill out with some good friends, then Key Biscayne is the reigning champion by a knockout.
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