If you're a drone pilot, you know you can't just launch your drone and fly anywhere you'd like, especially in a city. If you have an intuitive drone made by a company like DJI, then you'll be fully prepped with knowledge of where you can or can't fly. If not, then you'll need an app like this to ensure you don't violate any laws.
No, that photo is not in Miami. I just want to provide an example of epic photos you can create using a drone :).
Before I tell you the best places to fly, let's go over some rules.
Drone Map of Miami
The DJI map below shows the airports in Miami and most of the flying restrictions associated with each. The red pins are mostly prisons or military stations and the blue pins are temporary restrictions. The blue pin near North Bay Village is a temporary flight restriction in Surfside while their recovery efforts continue. The local government is not allowing drones anywhere near the site of the incident.
What do those colors mean?
Each color has a specific meaning which helps pilots know immediately if they're about to enter a restricted zone.
Red means flying is restricted unless you truly have authorization from the FAA to fly there. Red covers the property of the airport and 1 mile from the edge of the property to account for low altitude aircraft entering the airspace. Note, you do need to call the local airport if you fly within 5 miles of their boundaries. It's allowed, but do the right thing and call them.
Grey means you're allow to fly in that area but your altitude can't exceed 150 meters, or about 500 feet. This should be enough to get most jobs done. The 500 foot restriction is in place because you're flying in the higher altitude flight paths, where it's possible that an airplane could fly around 500 feet on approach or takeoff. The airplanes you see at the beach towing banners have to abide by this 500 foot rule as well as helicopters.
Blue zones are usually temporary flight restrictions and cover a broader area in a circular shape. You are not allow to fly within the blue circles unless you have authorization from the proper legal entity.
In Miami, I have not seen the yellow, orange, or other colors, but it's good to know what they mean just in case they show up on your controller.
What about National and State Parks?
Flying a drone in National Parks throughout the entire country is a big NO. It might not show up on your DJI map, but always know that flying a drone in a National Park is a federal offense. You'll need permission from the park to fly your drone and this could take a while.
State Parks have their own policies. Be sure to check their website or ask the gate agent upon entry to the park. Bill Baggs State Park in Key Biscayne, for example, has a No Drone Policy. As expected, this does NOT show on your DJI map.
Drone Laws in Florida
For a comprehensive idea of the drone laws in Florida, click here.
Why fly a drone in Miami?
Enhance your photography and videography skills, of course!
The 5 Best Places to Fly a Drone in Miami
1. South Pointe Beach
- Why? It's a beach with a pier and cruise ships and freighters pass by constantly, allowing for great photos. Enough said.
- Tip: it's also outside of the grey area for altitude restricted flying. Enjoy!
- Why? It's a beautiful area of the city with tall skyscrapers. A cityscape lover's dream.
- Tip: Use common sense. You can get in trouble if you fly too close to a building for invasion of privacy. Don't be that person.
- Brickell is just outside of the 5 mile range from MIA, but double check this and do your own due diligence.
3. Crandon Park - Key Biscayne
- Why? It's actually a very nice beach but tends to get a bad name for being too busy. Head there in the morning and get some shots in proper light.
- Tip: There are incredible palm trees there and lots of them. You can capture great footage moving between the trees if you're confident enough!
4. Virginia Key
- Why? Since Covid struck, the VKOC (Virginia Key Outdoor Center) has been tremendously busy. You can rent mountain bikes, kayaks, and paddleboards. It also features some great views of Virginia Key itself and the ENTIRE Miami Skyline.
- Tip: If you're feeling daring, bring your drone with you on a kayak or paddleboard trip. Take some photos which you can't take anywhere else in the city.
5. Pier Park - Sunny Isles Beach
- Why? A unique and very long pier (long for South Florida) which is great for photos.
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