Stay Cool at South Florida’s Hottest Pool Parties

It’s all Champagne wishes and cabana dreams at South Florida’s splashiest bashes.

Sometimes when you live in Miami, it’s easy to forget how easy it is to just roll out of bed and hit a world class pool party. You ever meet someone from Oklahoma City who says, “Eh, getting sprayed by champagne by beautiful, almost-naked people is really just for tourists?” Of course not, and sometimes even the most jaded of locals can surprise themselves and have a fantastic afternoon soaking up the sun and catching a buzz in the chlorine. So slap on some sunscreen, bust out your best new bathing suit, and check out some of the best pool parties on the planet, almost in your backyard.

Far be it from Brickell to leave all the pool party madness to the folks across the bay, the mainland’s best pool party sits atop the Novotel on Saturday afternoons. Dubbed “Sunset Sessions” the fun gets going long before the sun goes down, usually around 2 pm, with DJs spinning EDM and spectacular views of the Brickell skyline and Biscayne Bay beyond. Another big bonus at the Novotel—shade. Many of the tables are covered, a major plus during summer and fall.
When to go: Saturdays starting at 2 pm
Cost: $50

Nautilus by Arlo

South Beach

This longtime Art Deco gem has suddenly risen to the “it” spot for South Beach pool parties, boasting a weekly rager from 4 to 9 pm that’s become the destination for those who routinely don’t get out of bed until 2 pm. The deck is surrounded by thick tropical foliage, giving the impression the outside world won’t see whatever’s going on inside. With two pools, a live DJ, and no shortage of cabanas, revelers have plenty of space to spread out. And the food here is a marked notch up from usual party fare.
When to go: Saturdays, 4 to 9 pm
Cost: Reservation and menu prices vary.

Mondrian South Beach
Baia Beach Club Miami | Baia Beach Club Miami

The Mondrian’s pool party has definitely moved in phases, as it’s been everything from the hottest Sunday in the city to a scenic afterthought of a hotel amenity. With the opening of Baia Beach Club, it put itself squarely back on the pool party map, as the swanky bayside Mediterranean eatery has once again made the Mondrian a top choice for rosé all day. You don’t have to drop hundreds at Baia to be part of the action, but having a table definitely helps recruit any sunbathers you think might enjoy a light lunch.
When to go: Saturdays and Sundays, noon to sunset
Cost: Reservation and menu prices vary.

The pool party at Hyde Beach offers more ways to cool off than any other splashy bash in Miami. Yes, you can take a dip in the spacious waters while downing endless pitchers of mojitos. Or just wait for one of the servers—or high-rolling guests—to spray you with a perfectly good bottle of Champagne. It’s also the only pool party where you can snack on bites from Katsuya, just a smidge healthier than the usual chicken-fingers-and-fries routine. A weekly rotation of A-list DJs covers both day and night parties, so you might find yourself grooving to Sofi Tukker under the sunshine Saturday, then closing out the weekend with a night set from Kaskade.
When to go: Friday to Sunday, noon to late
Cost: Ticket prices vary; table reservations start at $500 each.

The Goodtime hosting a fantastic pool party is about as expected as a summer afternoon thunderstorm. And like clockwork, Pharell and company come through, delivering weekly day parties that rival any waterlogged shindig in town. LIV founder David Grutman is pulling the same class of DJ talent to Strawberry Moon, where the palm-strewn deck is a constant parade of beautiful people and big spenders. It’s a pool scene like Miami’s never seen (outside of Miami Music Week), and in true Miami fashion even offers a Friday afternoon chlorinated soiree for all us locals with “flexible” work schedules.
When to go: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, starting at noon
Cost: Reservation and menu prices vary.

Those who’ve been around Miami for a minute may remember when Arkadia was a low-ceilinged dance club that felt a little like an upscale cruise ship disco. Since then, it’s ditched the cavernous vibe and moved the fun outside, transforming itself into the hard-partying adults-only alternative to the sometimes family-centric Fontainebleau pool. Here you can post up in a private cabana with a flat screen TV, atop a daybed, or on one of Arkadia’s oversized tiki chairs for four, while sipping cold drinks and dancing to the sounds of DJ K Razor.
When to go: Saturday and Sunday, noon to 6 pm
Cost: Reservations start at $800 each.

Daer Day Club
DAER Dayclub | Photo courtesy of The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

DAER Dayclub


Directly under the giant guitar you’ll find some of South Florida’s most insane pool parties (at least among those that don’t involve finding parking in South Beach). The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s Vegas-style dayclub draws some of the biggest DJs in the world to its Broward County bacchanals, with Cash Cash and Claude Vonstroke highlighting this fall. They’ll be performing in front of Daer’s 40-foot LED screens spread across 21,000-plus square feet of deck and dipping pools. There are, of course, no shortage of VIP cabanas there too, if you want to enjoy the show and not have to, ya’ know, mingle.
When to go: Occasional Fridays and every Saturday and Sunday, noon to close
Cost: Reservation and menu prices vary.

The Clevelander

South Beach

Despite the glut of upscale pool parties with gourmet chefs and high-thread-count cabanas, sometimes you just wanna kick back with a Miami Vice and some second-hand weed smoke. And for that experience, no party will ever top the venerable Clevelander that's been throwing chlorinated ragers since South Beach was a retirement playground. The crew here stills know how to put on a solid daytime bash, and the new Play pool party even adds in fun stuff like beer pong. The local burger masters at Kush just took over the pool-adjacent sports bar too, so if you want to get out of the sun and enjoy one of the city’s best burgers it’s just a few feet away.
When to go: Saturday and Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm
Cost: No cover before 2 pm; menu prices vary.

Matt Meltzer is a Miami-based contributor for Thrillist, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, former pageant judge in the Miss Florida America system, and past contributor to Cosmopolitan magazine.