The location: The Police Funeral on the Beach.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A funeral on the beach.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. Somewhere in the Miami area.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 3: "Popping Cherry".

    In the previous episode, a crime boss (Guerrero) ordered a hit on a police officer, Ricky Simmons, and his wife, Kara.

    Episode 3 begins with the Simmons' funeral, on a beach.

    Other officers are in attendance, including the regulars from Dexter's station (Doakes, LaGuerta, Angel, Debra.)

    Dexter thinks to himself that he is uncomfortable at funerals because he doesn't understand all the emotion.  He slips on a pair of dark sunglasses to hide his lack of grief.

    Doakes tells his fellow officers that he plans to get revenge against Guerrero for ordering the hits.

    LaGuerta courts the press, which disgusts Debra.

    Angel & Debra speak with Dexter, with Debra asking how he's holding up, since she knows he hates funerals.

    Dexter watches as Simmons; parents pour Simmons' ashes into the ocean.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A beach in the Miami area.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

A. This is actually Hobie Beach, located near 3501 Rickenbacker Causeway, in Key Biscayne, Florida.

It's a narrow beach located along the edge of Rickenbaker Causeway, a land bridge which leads from Miami, southwest out to Virginia Key (the same place you'll find Jimbo's) and Key Biscayne.

At its northeast end, the Rickenbaker Causeway becomes NW 26th Road, near the south end of downtown Miami.

Here is a blow-up of of a screencap of that Dexter beach funeral scene,
 showing the Miami skyline seen in the background:

And here is a virtually identical matching view, as seen from Hobie Beach:

(Courtesy of Peter Dooling. Click on the image to see the entire photograph on his site.)

(You can see similar matching views here, here, and here.

Here is a Bing aerial photo of the beach.  And here is a map link

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. This one drove me crazy for years.

    Since I'm from L.A., and have never been to Miami, what I found puzzling was how you could see the buildings of downtown Miami in the background of this beach scene, when the Miami beaches face east, away from the Miami skyline.  Yet the view in the scene was clearly looking west/southwest towards downtown.

    I checked dozens of different beach locations, but found none  that I offered this kind of view of downtown Miami.

    What I didn't know is that it wasn't one of Miami's regular beaches.

    Instead, it was located along a narrow bridge of land (a "causeway") leading east/west between Miami and two of the Florida Keys, south of where Miami Beach ends.

    The strip of beach runs along the bottom (southwestern) edge of the causeway, and thus allows a view back (west/northwest) of the downtown skyline.

Finally, in 2011, a fan from Miami, Jesse, emailed me about the interior location of the police headquarters in Miami.  Since he lived in the city, I mentioned that I had been unable to find that funeral beach.  Not long after, Jesse wrote me back to report that the scene had been shot on Hobie Beach, and even sent a matching photo.  (Thanks, Jesse!)

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