Image: Haulover Beach Park
Angelo Cavalli  /  zefa/Corbis
If it's in your nature to go au naturel, visit Haulover Beach between Sunny Isles Beach and Bal Harbour. A clothing-optional beach for the last 17 years, it's where those-in-know go to let it all hang out.
updated 11/25/2008 11:08:27 AM ET 2008-11-25T16:08:27

Few places in the world own the adjective “sexy” like Miami does. This is a city where sarongs move from daywear to eveningwear, where "suit" means bikini, and where the most basic accessories are tanned skin, tousled hair and sleek, probably Italian sunglasses. It is a city all but described by its coastal location and style that’s inextricable from sand, shore and skin. As Michael Aller (a..k.a “Mr. Miami Beach”), Tourism & Convention Director at the Miami Beach Convention Center, puts it, “Even people who aren’t the body builder types are prettier here. And we have such diversity. Each person’s a potential adventure.”

There are as many definitions of what’s sexy as there are styles of swimwear. But no matter what your taste, there are stretches of Miami sand waiting to warm you up, whether it's the sleek set up at the Delano or the secluded lagoon of the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne.

Part of what’s sexy about a beach is the relative anonymity of everyone on it. You have no idea, really, whether the person sitting next to you is the C.E.O of a software business or a barrista, an up-and-coming television star or a yoga instructor. The beach is the great equalizer, and it returns flirtation back to the basics of attraction.

Plus, Miami is famous for its worldly mix of people, including travelers, jetsetters and multicultural residents. That’s the mix you’ll find at Nikki Beach. If your idea of sexy is St. Tropez, you can virtually go there on this beach—where world music, teepees and bed-like beach chairs inspire kicking back, French Riviera style. When the sun goes down, throw a sexy cover-up over your swimsuit, order a pitcher of mojitos, and get ready to dance to whatever the DJ’s spinning, as Nikki Beach transforms into an ultralounge by night.

The Ritz Carlton South Beach titillates beach guests with the planet’s only Tanning Butler. Clad in a sexy chest-hugging T-shirt and designer swim shorts, the photogenic “Butler” strolls the beach massaging guests with complimentary sunscreen, especially on all those hard-to-reach places like the back and shoulders. “It’s an unexpected luxury service our guests won’t find anywhere else in the world,” says Michelle Payer, Area Director of Marketing for Ritz Carlton Hotels, Miami, and the person behind the Tanning Butler. Not only is he sexy, the butler prevents that most un-sexy of beach hazards: sunburn.

To many, Miami is Miami Beach—in particular 1st to approximately 23rd Streets. This three-mile stretch contains the cosmos of the famous fashion and beauty industry, nightlife and Art Deco architecture. “Muscle beach” between 10th and 12th Streets is ground zero for the tight bodies the city is famous for, offering amazing people-watching and celebrity-sighting. It is also where you’ll find the gay beach (look for the rainbow flag). Another local beach, known simply as “locals beach” runs between 3rd and 4th Street in SoFi (South of Fifth), but has a completely different, earthy and social vibe.

Image: Locals' Beach
Known simply as "locals' beach," this shoreline is diverse, unaffected, and bohemian, so leave behind your airs and hang-ups. The sexiness on this beach is earthy, low-key, connected and Mediterranean.
Miami’s 10 sexiest beaches are not so much separate parcels (many are on the same beach) as different expressions of a wish to ease back, breathe, walk barefoot, meet new people or focus on someone you already love, and let nature take its course.

The many sexy beaches to choose from are one reason Miami is, in Aller’s words “25/7 ... you need that extra hour to do everything.”

Photos: Miami: Sunshine statement

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  1. Tower to the people

    Lifeguard towers on Miami Beach are colorful and easy to distinguish. Lifeguards care over swimmers who play nearby, and the towers make a great meeting place when surrounded by an endless area of sand, surf and beach umbrellas. (Richard Cummins / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Hot spot

    Thousands of people descended on Miami Beach for Super Bowl XLIV between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts. The city hosted a number of private and public events ahead of the big game. (Roberto Schmidt / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Wet and wild

    Jet skis cruise along Biscayne Bay near Miami Beach Marina. Tourists visiting the Bay can enjoy a number of recreational activities, including snorkeling, sailing, kayaking and more. (Richard I'anson / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Life's a beach

    South Beach, also nicknamed "The American Riviera," is well-known for celebrities, chic lifestyles and, of course, beaches. The man-made beach runs along the Atlantic Ocean for miles. (Richard I'anson / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Savoring history

    The Art Deco district of South Beach is a hot spot for celebrities and is home to eccentric residents. The district has more than 800 buildings, built in the '30s and '40s, that are architecturally protected, helping its image as a chic, popular destination. (Randy Faris / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Ear to the ground

    Caribbean Flamingos -- this one eats from a pond at the Metro Zoo in Miami -- gets their color from the carotene in its diet. (Robert Sullivan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Dolphins walk, whales fly

    The Miami Seaquarium is a popular attraction that features eight marine animal shows. General admission tickets cost $37.95, and kids between the ages of three and nine get in for $27.95 (plus 7 percent sales tax). (Jon Davison / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Luxe lodgings

    The Biltmore Hotel of Coral Gables "has been a favorite of world leaders, celebrities and sports stars since its opening in the 1920s," its Web site boasts. The resort features 275 rooms, including 130 suites, a spa and fitness center. (The Biltmore) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Pretty in pink

    Classic buildings aren't the only thing visitors to Miami Beach will find. Vintage cars are often spotted in the Art Deco district. The annual Art Deco Weekend hosts a classic car fest where proud owners can show off their treasures. (Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Colorful celebration

    A dancer wears a costume as she participates in the Miami Carnival. The carnival has been an annual event since 1984. It has grown from a small neighborhood festival to an international event bringing live bands and calypsonians from the islands. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Collins mix

    The renovated Delano Hotel (left), National Hotel (center) and the Sagamore Hotel line up Collins Avenue in Miami Beach. The city has a concentration of over 800 Art Deco buildings all within one square mile. (Roberto Schmidt / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Double-tall MOCA

    Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art "is internationally recognized as a force in defining new trends and directions in contemporary art," its Web site says. Admission is $5 per person, $3 for students and seniors. MOCA Members and kids under 12 can enter for free. (MOCA Miami) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Bass appeal

    The Bass Museum of Art was established 47 years ago ater Miami Beach accepted the art collection of John and Johanna Bass, and agreed it would maintain the works and make it available to the public. (Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Different strokes

    A visitor looks at "Thinking" during Art Basel Miami Beach back in 2008. "Art Basel Miami Beach is the most important art show in the United States, a cultural and social highlight for the Americas," the event's Web site boasts. This year's event takes place Dec. 2-5. (Juan Castro / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Reflective moment

    Artist Jude Papaloko is reflected in a mirror on a painted wall in his gallery, the Jakmel Gallery, in Miami. (Lynne Sladky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Feeling the groove

    Club patrons enjoy themselves on the dance floor at Mansion nightclub in Miami Beach, Fla. Once thought of as a place to visit Grandma in January, Miami's reputation as a party city has grown since the days of "Miami Vice," through the birth of the Art Deco fashion district in the early 1990s and the more recent explosion of the South Beach club scene. (David Adame / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Port of call

    Frequent cruisers can be forgiven for seeing Biscayne Bay and Miami simply as a departure point. However, the area offers a wealth of activities and events that can satisfy tourists with a variety of different interests. (Jeff Greenberg / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Can I get a refill?

    The Venetian Pool in Coral Gables, Miami, started out as a quarry pit and was transformed in 1924 into the Venetian Casino. Now, more than 100,000 people visit Venetian Pool each year. During summer months, the pool is drained nightly and replentished from a subterranean aquifer. (Richard Cummins / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Year of the crab

    Plates full of cracked stone crab claws are ready to be served at Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach. Joe Weiss opened a lunch counter in 1913, and the eatery has been serving the public for 97 consecutive seasons. (Wilfredo Lee / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Feeling the beat

    A crowd dances to the rythmic sound of congas at a local latin club in Calle Ocho (8th street), the main street of the Little Havana district of Miami. (Roberto Schmidt / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Home field

    Miami's Sun Life Stadium hosted Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, 2010. The New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts by a final score of 31-17. (Dave Cross / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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