Miami Car Rentals and Virginia Key Beach
Known for its beautiful views and controversial history, the Virginia Key Beach is a very narrow shoreline located on the southeastern side of the Virginia Key. Comprised of about 77 acres, the Virginia Key Beach site is just two miles east of downtown Miami and approximately one mile off the southwest end of Miami Beach. Bordered by an environmentally diverse expanse of vegetation, the Virginia Key Beach offers Miami car rental travelers a secluded place to kick back and relax after a stressful week in the city. Accessible by the Rickenbacker Causeway toll road, the Island of Virginia Key is a popular getaway for many local Miami residents and is the current site of numerous research facilities, fisheries and restaurants.
Virginia Key Beach History
The Virginia Key Beach boasts a controversial history, figuring most prominently in the segregation protests of the 1940’s. During the summer of 1945 a group of African-American men, led by prominent Judge Lawson E. Thomas, staged a protest on the whites-only North Miami Beach contesting the law prohibiting black persons the right to utilize the public beaches of Miami and Dade County. County officials considered the protest and responded by designating the Virginia Key shoreline as a blacks-only public beach on August 1st, 1945. Used as a Navy training site for African Americans during World War II, the Virginia Key Beach was already a common retreat for members of the colored community and remained segregated until the early 1950’s. Historically significant and culturally vibrant, the 1945 Virginia Key Beach featured bathhouses, a carousel, picnic areas and numerous concession stands. Virginia Key Beach remained open to the public until 1982 when the area was transferred from the county’s possession to the City of Miami. The beach was closed down shortly after as the city cited high maintenance and operations costs.
Today’s Virginia Key Beach
The Virginia Key Beach and Park area sat in a state of decay for over 20 years as city officials discontinued the parks upkeep and avoided public outcry. Finally, in 2004 a trust was formed in an effort to revitalize the park and return it to the community. Although the project is far from completion, the beach is once again open as contractors and city officials continue to beautify this important part of city green space. Numerous children’s playgrounds, walking trails, recreational facilities, concession stands and retail outlets are planned for the Virginia Key Beach Park, so be sure to check out the construction during your upcoming Miami car rental vacation. You can also monitor progress by visiting the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust website at www.wirginniakeybeachpark.net.
Other Features of the Virginia Key
The Virginia Key Island is home to much more than just the beach, so be sure to stop and take a tour of the island during your upcoming Miami car rental vacation. Popular attractions on Virginia Key include the Miami Seaquarium, the Rosenstiel School of Marina and Atmospheric Science, the Maritime and Science Technology Academy, Hobie Beach, and the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. Numerous restaurants can also be found throughout the island including the ultra popular Jimbo’s bar and grill. This quintessential Florida bar was once a popular hangout for bootleggers and smugglers thanks to the seclusion and anonymity of its somewhat camouflaged location. Miami car rental fishermen can still purchase live shrimp bait at the bar, so don’t forget to drop in before heading out on your Virginia Key Beach adventure. Cold beer and smoked fish are two of the restaurants specialties, along with friendly services and old-school gossip. Continental Car Rentals also reminds you to keep and eye out for film crews; the Virginia Key Beach area is now a popular location for both magazine photo shoots and big screen movie scenes.