Above all else, Miami is a place of great natural beauty, something that can get lost with the focus on the city’s club scene and “melting pot” identity. Much of Miami’s natural habitat is unbordered and untamed. Just head up and down the wide, sandy shoreline: unlike many other places, all of Florida’s beaches are public. Besides its beaches, Miami has many green spaces and parks. Here are some of the major ones worth checking out for both residents and visitors alike.
A.D. Doug Barnes Park
This 65-acre county park provides some green, wooded respite from nearby bustling Bird Road. Trails wind through its heavily tree-shaded grounds, perfect for strolling or a quick bike ride. The park also offers a nature center, a public swimming pool complete with a mini toddlers’ water park, fishing, and grounds for baseball and soccer. Its rentable canopies are particularly popular for weekend family cookouts and birthday parties. Oddly, this park is also home to a large colony of feral, but friendly, domestic cats.
Address: 3401 SW 72nd Ave., Miami
Phone Number: 305-666-5883
Amelia Earhart Park
In the most unlikely surroundings of Hialeah, Amelia Earhart Park is home to a full small-scale farm where visitors can pet cows, goats, chickens, geese, and more. It’s a popular place for local 4-H meetings, naturally. The park also boasts soccer fields, a dog run, and even mountain biking trails and a wakeboarding cable complex on a lake.
Address: 401 E 65th St., Hialeah
Phone Number: 305-685-8389
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
This pristine park at the end of Key Biscayne is a fuss-free, well-preserved mangrove hammock with some of the quietest beaches in South Florida. Unlike county and city parks, you’ll have to pay a per-car (or per-cyclist or per-pedestrian) entry fee. But the range of activities inside, from cycling to hiking to canoeing to fishing to camping, are well worth it.
Address: 1200 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne
Phone Number: 305-361-8779
You technically have to drive through this park to reach the commercial and residential center of Key Biscayne; it’s divided down the middle by the island’s only access road. Still, on its coastal side Crandon Park boasts beautiful beaches and a paved promenade perfect for rollerblading or cycling. The inland side offers tennis and a public golf course.
Address: 6747 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne
Phone Number: 305-361-5421
Everglades National Park
No discussion of Miami parks is complete without a mention of Everglades National Park, one of South Florida’s crowning jewels. Its boundaries straddle counties, but on the Miami side, the most popular entrance is Shark Valley. The long stretch of paved trail is a favorite with cyclists and fit walkers, who enjoy watching wildlife in the calm sawgrass stretching on either side. See our full article on Everglades National Park.
Address: Shark Valley Visitor Center, 36000 SW 8th St., Miami
Phone Number: 305-221-8776
The biggest park in South Beach, Flamingo Park is particularly good for people-watching, and stays bustling from early morning to sundown with joggers, amateur sports enthusiasts, and people sleeping. The park offers tennis courts, a playground, football and other sports fields, and a pool with a mini water park for kids.
Address: 1245 Michigan Ave., Miami Beach
Phone Number: 305-673-7766
Fruit and Spice Park
This quiet park at the southern end of Miami-Dade County is a full-scale preserve for, as the name indicates, rare fruit and spice plants. New renovations have included a refurbished pond at the center of it all, and concrete walking trails throughout the trees. It’s a popular site for plant- and food-themed festivals, and while you can’t actually cut any fruit, anything you find on the ground is fair game.
Address: 24801 SW 187th Ave., Homestead
Phone Number: 305-247-5727
Grand Central Park
Located downtown, across the street from the Grand Central nightclub, Grand Central Park is a five-acre temporary green space aimed at transforming a blighted property into an “open-air community recreation area”.
Address: 700 N Miami Ave, downtown Miami
This North Miami Beach staple is a sprawling wooded oasis, complete with a mangrove boardwalk, an outdoor fitness course, rentable shelters, and walking and running trails galore. There are canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats for rental, and even a public golf course. Greynolds Park also hosts regular bluegrass music concerts, as well as a popular annual “Love-In,” a nostalgic ’60s-theme concert for the Boomer set and their families.
Address: 17530 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami Beach
Phone Number: 305-945-3425
Matheson Hammock State Park
Just getting to Matheson Hammock is part of the experience, as it sits along the scenic, leafy Old Cutler Road. This park is unusual for its central feature: a man-made atoll poll, surrounded by a sandy beach and flushed by the waters of the nearby bay. Its calm waters make it popular for families with small children, and it’s a popular spot for kiteboarding as well. The Red Fish Grill, a fine dining, seafood-centric restaurant inside the park, is a popular destination for romantic dinners.
Address: 9610 Old Cutler Rd., Miami
Phone Number: 305-665-5475
North Shore Open Space Park
South Beach gets all the shine, but further north on Collins, around the 70s, North Shore Park is well worth a visit. There’s a lot more to do here, to boot. Besides wide, less crowded beaches, the park also offers running trails, an outdoor fitness course, sports fields, and ample public barbecuing facilities. There’s also plenty of metered parking, making this an especially hassle-free, family-friendly beach.
Address: 7929 Atlantic Way, Miami Beach
Phone Number: 305-994-2032
Oleta River State Park
Oleta River State Park is billed as Florida’s “largest urban park,” and is a tropical paradise within the bustling sprawl of North Miami’s commercial corridors. Rather than manicured lawns and sports fields, inside you’ll find well-preserved nature at its finest, complete with mangrove-lined waters for kayaking and trails for mountain bike adventures. You can also fish, or just enjoy the water at a few small beaches sprinkled throughout.
Address: 3400 NE 163rd St., North Miami
Phone Number: 305-919-1844
This water-side park in Coconut Grove still boasts some of the vaguely hippy-ish vibe of its neighborhood’s past. This is the place for outdoor arts festivals and free yoga classes on well-kept sports fields. The park also boasts a 10,000-square-foot skate park, Grove Skate Park, the only nonprofit facility of its kind in a city park.
Address: 2820 McFarlane Rd., Miami
Phone Number: 305-442-0375
South Pointe Park
South Pointe Park is, as its name suggests, at the southernmost point of South Beach. Its green spaces are not expansive, as the park has as many concrete paths as fields. But it is nonetheless a great place to have a picnic, watch the cruise ships and freighters ship in and out of the Port of Miami, and enjoy the sunset behind the downtown skyline. The park has a parking lot, but it can be prohibitively expensive during peak hours. South Pointe also hosts a Smith & Wollensky steakhouse.
Address: 1 Washington Avenue
Phone Number: 305-673-7766
Sprawling Tropical Park is one of the city’s largest, and offers nearly every possible park activity imaginable on its endless grounds. It’s popular with families for its playgrounds and picnic facilities, and with everyone for its sports fields and basketball and tennis courts. But that’s not all — Tropical Park also offers canoeing and paddleboating, fishing, horseback riding facilities, and even a boxing center. What’s more, its dog park is one of the best in the city, with separate areas for small and large dogs, and obstacle-course-like amusements in both.
Address: 7900 Bird Rd., Miami
Phone Number: 305-226-8316
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