There’s a limitless number of fun and engaging activities to do while in Miami, but sometimes you want to do something a little more relaxing and low key, or perhaps something that involves some sight seeing and maybe even a little bit of education. For such occasions, the state of Florida offers many wonderful state parks, including some good ones in the Miami area. Here’s a closer look at a few of the state parks in the Miami area and what they offer to visitors.
Oleta River State Park
The first state park in the Miami area that’s worth visiting is Oleta River State Park, which is the largest urban park in the state of Florida. The park is located on the shores of Biscayne Bay, so there’s a beach area for patrons to enjoy, as well as swimming and fishing opportunities. There are also picnic areas and pavilions to enjoy a small family barbeque or put together a large family reunion. Oleta River State Park also has cabins (with air conditioning) and campsites for those interested in an extended stay.
Of course, that’s the least of what Oleta River State Park offers. The river itself weaves through a beautiful forest that guests can explore via canoe or kayak, with rentals available inside the park for novices who who’d like to try canoeing or kayaking for the first time. However, what Oleta River State Park is best known for is its bike trails. The wide variety of bike trails inside the park gives both inexperienced and more advanced mountain bikers plenty of trails to enjoy. Finally, it wouldn’t be a park without the opportunity to see wildlife, and Oleta River State Park does offer guests a place to see manatees, dolphins, alligators, and other types of traditional Florida wildlife.
Bill Baggs State Park
Just a little south of the city of Miami is Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, which is on the southern end of the island of Key Biscayne. The park is home to more than a mile of beachfront, which is considered to be one of the best beaches in the country. In addition to swimming and snorkeling, the water is also open to boating, canoeing, kayaking, as well as some of the best shoreline fishing in south Florida. For those who are less water savvy, there is biking and hiking available, as well as areas to view wildlife.
Of course, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is perhaps best known for being home to the Cape Florida Light lighthouse. This lighthouse was built in 1825, and is Miami-Dade County’s longest standing structure. Guests are able to take tours of the lighthouse twice daily five days per week. The park is also home to two restaurants offering authentic Cuban food for those who want a good meal without having to pack a picnic.
Barnacle Historic State Park
Finally, there’s the Barnacle Historic State Park. This is a small, historical site on the shores of Biscayne Bay and the former home of Ralph Middleton Munroe, a pioneer of the area. The historic site consists primarily of Munroe’s old home, which was built in 1891 and is more or less in the same state it was in the late 19th century. The forest around the Barnacle has been preserved, leaving many old and beautiful trees, which makes for a wonderful setting to take a tour of the historic site, go for a walk, do some bird watching, or simply enjoy a nice outdoor picnic while watching boats sail by.