Matheson Hammock Park

Matheson Hammock Park

By: Jennifer Agress | November 25, 2019

Plan a Relaxing Day at Matheson Hammock Park

Spanning 630 acres of coastal Miami—just south of Coral Gables, surrounding parts of Fairchild Tropical Botanic GardenMatheson Hammock Park is one of Miami-Dade’s most treasured county parks. It first opened in the late 1930s, after industrial chemical giant, William J. Matheson, donated 85 acres of prime, beachfront property to Miami-Dade County to be turned into a local park. Seeing the potential of this unspoiled Miami landscape, the county quickly expanded that land to the size it is today, including vast stretches of Florida mangroves and hardwood forests, and hired landscape architect William Lyman Phillips to design it. Along with Matheson Hammock Park, Phillips also designed Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in 1938.

Everything about the park is thoughtful and precise. Phillips worked closely with the Civilian Conservation Corps to design a park that would encapsulate South Florida’s beautiful views, offer a welcoming atmosphere for Miami locals to capture in photography and simultaneously highlight and protect the area’s important natural resources. Matheson Hammock Park’s bucolic backdrop also makes it perfectly suited for special occasions, such as outdoor weddings. Simply drive through the main entrance, and you’ll see what we mean. Its winding road was designed to take visitors through three important Florida landscapes, starting with a homogeneous swamp and dense mangrove forests and ending at an open cove of sparkling Biscayne Bay.

Spend the Day Outdoors

A day or night at Matheson Hammock Park is all about one thing: enjoying the natural beauty of Miami. It’s not uncommon to find locals and visitors alike hanging by the manmade “atoll pool,” a bayfront pool naturally filled by the tides of Biscayne Bay, surrounded by limestone, coral and a circular sandy beach with swaying palms and perfect views of the Florida coast. Because of the atoll pool’s calm waters, it has become a safe, popular place for young children to swim.

If you love being on the water and not in it, the north end of Matheson Hammock Park also has the full-service Matheson Hammock Marina with a dock, wet slips, powerboat lessons and the Castle Harbor Boating School. There are opportunities for kiteboarding, a fishing pier and even a concessions stand where you can rent standup paddleboards (SUP), canoes and kayaks and spend hours paddling across Biscayne Bay. Just want to relax? Grab your beach chair and join the visitors lounging on the white sands of Matheson Beach.

Coral rock pavilions and picnic areas with charcoal grills and benches can be found throughout Matheson Hammock Park, including by one of its scenic lakes—the perfect place for a picnic lunch with family members, friends or that special someone. As you explore the park, hop on one of its nature or bike trails, or go birdwatching for rare birds like sulphur-bellied flycatchers, black-throated gray warblers and Townsend’s warblers. In the middle of it all, there is also a playground where young children can run around and play.

Red Fish by Chef Adrianne

After devastating damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017 closed the iconic Red Fish Grill—housed in a historic coral building right in the heart of Matheson Hammock Park—the restaurant is reopening in fall 2019 as Red Fish by Chef Adrianne. Helmed by Miami’s own celebrity chef, Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant & Wine Bar, this new edition of the restaurant will feature New American-style seafood dishes that highlight Florida’s finest seafood, infuse Calvo’s signature “maximum flavor” concept and offer a classic Florida experience right on the water. Guests of Red Fish will start their meal with warm Parker House rolls and whipped honey butter, and move on to options like lobster rolls with a chipotle aioli, “fish and chips” made with pan-seared sea bass and caviar fries, bay scallops with a mango, chili and citrus vinaigrette, and brown butter- and white chocolate-croissant bread pudding with vanilla ice cream.

General Information

Address: Matheson Hammock Park is located at 9610 Old Cutler Road, Miami, FL 33156.

Hours: The park is open from sunrise to sunset daily, and both the office and Matheson Hammock Marina are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Prices: Picnic shelters have a maximum capacity of 75 people, and can be rented for a tax-inclusive rate of $230.05. Parking is available onsite, and entrance fees are as follows:

  • Cars: $5 (weekdays) or $7 (weekends and holidays)
  • Boat ramp launch trailers: $13 (weekdays) and $17 (weekends)
  • Bus/RV: $15 (weekdays and weekends)

Additional Information: Restrooms are available onsite. Floatation devices are strictly prohibited at Matheson Hammock Park.

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