Sunny Isles Beach, Florida

Sunny Isles Beach is a city on the barrier island of northeast Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. The Atlantic Ocean borders the island to the east and the Intracoastal Waterway to the west. Sunny Isles has roughly 22,000 people and is known for its extensive beaches and luxurious living conditions. 

It is a growing resort destination, and despite the relatively small population, Sunny Isles boasts the 14th tallest skyline in America. Highrise hotels and luxury condos make up most of the skyscrapers that fill the city's main district. 

History Of Sunny Isles Beach

Sunny Isles Beach
Aerial view of Sunny Isles Beach. Editorial credit: Irina Annarumma / Shutterstock.com

In 1920, Harvey Graves first purchased a tract of land measuring roughly 6 square kilometers in the Florida barrier islands. The intention was to turn this area into a tourist resort, and the region was named Sunny Isles. Five years later, Haulover Bridge was created, which connects Sunny Isles to Miami Beach, increasing the area's desirability of development.

From there, much construction and redevelopment was done to cultivate the best possible waterfront properties. Inlets were dug, islands were created, and the shoreline was cultivated. These developments were the start of Biscayne Bay.

Around the same time, Carl Fisher built a wooden race track to fit some 12,000 spectators. It was dubbed the Fulford-Miami Speedway. A major cup race was held in 1926, but unfortunately, the track was destroyed by a strong hurricane later that year. However, this event did spark the movement of major races being held in areas such as Miami and Daytona Beach.What is now Sunny Isles Beach was previously known as North Miami Beach up until 1931. In 1936, Sunny Isles was purchased by Kurtis Froedtert. He oversaw the construction of the Sunny Isles Pier which has been a popular attraction ever since.

Sunny Isles Beach
Sunny Isles Beach signboard. Editorial credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

The 1950s and 60s saw continued development in the area, and residential homes were built across Golden Shores. Similarly, the first two-story motel was constructed in 1948 and was the catalyst for several other motels along Collins Avenue. The area became renowned for unique and themed motels in an area known as "Motel Row."

The Sunny Isles pier was declared a historic landmark in 1982, and it was restored over the next several years. It closed again after the 2005 Hurricane Wilma caused severe damage but was reopened in 2013 after much work and renamed the Newport Fishing Pier. 

Sunny Isles was incorporated in 1997 and renamed Sunny Isles Beach. Further development in the area did not boom until the early 2000s when many of the taller highrise buildings started popping up across the neighborhood. These began to replace the previous lowrise motels along the main strip, and the area is predominantly highrise condos and hotels as of 2021. 

Visiting The Sunny Isles Beach

People enjoying beach activities at Sunny Isles Beach.

Resort living, water sports, and boat tours are the most popular things to do in the city. Visitors come from all over the United States and abroad to enjoy the white sand beaches and warm waters. Haulover Beach Park is one of the most popular places for relaxing on or by the water or enjoying a boat party. Visitors can relax on the sand, enjoy the naturalist clothing option portion of the beach, or sit by a pool with a cocktail.

Spas are also plentiful in the area, and those looking to be pampered will not be disappointed. Many of the resorts have built-in spa experiences for travelers looking to detox and destress while on vacation.

Water sports are also common, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and a variety of boating activities. Many boats for hire can tour visitors around the island or create a boat party atmosphere. Helicopter and private plane rides are also available for optimal views of the beach city and offer a unique take on this gorgeous beach city. 

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