By: Shayne Benowitz
Explore Miami's nature trails at these local parks.
With year round sunshine and an abundance of national, state and local parks, Miami is teeming with nature trails for the outdoor enthusiast. Whether it’s hiking paths that snake through mangroves and hardwood hammocks or trails that run along the shore, you’ll find something in Miami to quench your thirst for the great outdoors.
Everglades National Park
For a day trip to Everglades National Park head to the Shark Valley Visitor Center. Here, you’ll find a 15-mile paved loop that takes you through the subtropical marshlands of the Everglades. The trail is accessible to hikers, but you can also rent bicycles or opt for a tram tour. Alternatively, a one-mile walking trail is accessible at Shark Valley, as well. Keep your eyes peeled for alligators, herons and other wildlife as you make your way through the swamp.
Biscayne National Park
While 95 percent of Biscayne National Park is under water, this national marine sanctuary still offers hiking trails full of discovery for visitors. Enter Convoy Point at the Dante Fascell Visitor Center where a quarter mile jetty trail can be accessed. If you’re able to make it to Elliott Key or you’re planning a camping trip in the park, the seven mile long Spite Highway trail is an excellent way to get the lay of the land.
Oleta River State Park
While Oleta River State Park is famous for its miles of biking trails, there’s also an enchanting nature trail that circles this 1,033-acre park just east of Sunny Isles Beach. Hike through mangroves, gumbo-limbo trees and past the beach while looking out for blue herons and pelicans, as well as beautiful wildflowers. Afterwards, reward yourself with a smoked fish sandwich and craft beer at the onsite Blue Marline Fish House overlooking the river.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Located at the tip of Key Biscayne, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is a nature lover’s dream. Bordered by a beautiful, windswept beach with a historic lighthouse, the park offers nature trails on the western end running through the mangrove wetlands and the coastal strand.
Also on Key Biscayne, beachside Crandon Park is full of fun outdoor activities. With a Nature Center onsite, the park offers self-guided tours through a mangrove boardwalk that leads to a fascinating fossilized reef overlook. A historic nature walk takes you through a preserve where you’re sure to spot butterflies and native birds. You can also take a guided tram tour of Bear Cut Preserve.
Virginia Key Historic Beach Park
On the west side of Key Biscayne, you’ll find Virginia Key Historic Beach Park. Perfect for a family picnic or an afternoon stroll in the great outdoors, Virginia Key’s nature trail runs along the beach and across a shaded hardwood hammock. It’s a popular spot for both joggers and cyclists.
Matheson Hammock Park
Situated in Coral Gables, Matheson Hammock Park is centered around a marina and a beautiful, man-made atoll beach. With ideal wind conditions and tranquil water, it’s a popular spot for kiteboarding. The park also boasts a network of trails across the tropical hardwood hammock.
Amelia Earhart Park
Located in Hialeah, Amelia Earhart Park is an exciting outdoor center with a unique amenity: a wakeboarding cable complex in the 91-acre lake. If adrenaline-pumping water sports aren’t your thing, the park also features soccer fields and nature trails for more pedestrian pursuits.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
For a wholly unique experience, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables is filled with acres of tropical plants and trails for exploration. With guided tours and special exhibits, it’s an otherworldly educational experience. From the butterfly garden to the rainforest and the sunken garden, you’ll experience a wide variety of ecosystems, plants and wildlife here.
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