July 2019: 100 percent humidity and 95-degree temperatures, be damned! Summer in Miami is for getting outside, and all this sunshine has us sniffing out even more great green spaces in Miami where we can take in the fresh air. New to the list but not to in-the-know city dwellers is Margaret Pace Park, a petite Edgewater gem packed with sports courts, picnic tables, cute dogs and ripped bods overlooking Biscayne Bay. We’ve also added in North Shore Open Space Park along the beachfront, where locals are drawn to expansive shaded trails, grilling areas and a large dog run.
Sure—this city doesn’t have much of a pedestrian culture. But the best parks in Miami do give us plenty of reasons to head outdoors. Our parks are as diverse as our city, offering a variety of ecosystems and environments from the ocean to hammock-enclosed trails and thick mangroves you can paddle right up to. Miamians have access to a range of green spaces with eye-catching flora and fauna, fitness trails and all sorts of water-based activities. A day in the park is not only one of the best free things to do in Miami, but is also one of the best things to do in Miami with kids. What’s more, special programs and events at many of the best Miami parks can turn a boring visit into a genuine learning experience for the whole family. So, what are you waiting for?
Best parks in Miami
What is it? A sprawling green space used for sports, exercise and all sorts of outdoor pursuits. It’s a popular park and a great place to get physical or just lazy.
Why go? Aside from the free weekend yoga, dog park and bike trail—this park is also home to one of the tastiest Miami summer treats around: the frozen lemonade of A.C.’s Icees.
What is it? Home to one of the most popular marinas and boat ramps in the city, this waterfront park also has plenty to do for those who don’t own a boat.
Why go? You can bike, enjoy the artificial atoll pool, green space and paddleboard. Sounds like a good afternoon, right?
What is it? A couple gorgeous miles of white-sand beaches that’s probably the best place to take a dip in Key Biscayne.
Why go? This park is a great family park. There’s a ton of parking at just $7 per vehicle, barbecue, volleyball and a lot more to ensure everyone goes home nice and tired.
What is it? This park boasts 30 acres of pineland, tropical hardwood and hammock habitats with no shortage of wildlife (like parrots and other tropical birds).
Why go? The park offers regular birdwatching tours and nature walks. Over at the observatory, the Southern Cross Astronomical Society will help you stargaze on weekend evenings.
What is it? Florida’s largest urban park with so much to do, both in the water and on land. Oleta is a bit north, but well worth the trip and an easy place to kill an entire day. Expect to pay $2 to $6 depending on if you arrive on foot or via car.
Why go? This park is perfect for the active outdoorsman. Kayak, paddleboard, off-road bike and even spend the night at cabins and camp spaces. It’s the sort of pristine Florida wilderness we don’t see much in South Florida.
What is it? A park that offers both green space and ocean access. Bill Baggs is a favorite of tourists and natives alike.
Why go? Aside from being beautiful, the park is home to a super cool historic lighthouse that was built in 1825. Guided tours are available if you want to see inside.
What is it? A cute and dog-friendly park tucked into the back of Miami’s lush Morningside neighborhood. Cookouts and softball games are common on the weekends and the park has a great view of Biscayne Bay too.
Why go? Morningside is ideal for a nice walk with your dog or just by yourself. Paddleboard and kayak rentals are available on the weekend as well. Head out to one of the tiny islands just offshore and have yourself a picnic.
What is it? A favorite in the Hialeah community. It’s certainly a bit of a drive from Downtown, so this tends to be a local spot.
Why go? Because you can wakeboard, play soccer, ride a pony and take a hayride. The park also has a 91-acre lake, which you can kayak or paddleboard in.
What is it? This eight-acre Edgewater gem might be on the smaller side, but it’s packed with basketball, tennis and beach volleyball courts, picnic tables and walking trails with panoramic views of Biscayne Bay.
Why go? Single and looking to scout a like-minded boo? Located behind several high-rise condos along the bay, Margaret Pace Park has no shortage of active young professionals working up a sweat or walking their adorable dogs after work. Talk about a breath of fresh air!
What is it? A park with a catch: approximately 95 percent of the park covered by water. Obviously, you’ll need some sort of vessel to enjoy this one.
Why go? Because even if you don’t own a boat, the park offers plenty of guide tours or rental opportunities so you can see the diverse ecosystem the way it was meant to be seen.
What is it? A lovely park whose main attraction is a beautiful coral reef teeming with a small city of sea life.
Why go? For the reef, silly! See it from a glass bottom boat or—the best way, in our opinion—jump in the water on a snorkel tour and paddle around for an hour. Get up close with barracudas (they won’t bite) and the famous 4,000-pound statue of Jesus, which stands 25 feet underwater.
What is it? A lovely and underused stretch of pristine beach lined with sea grape trees, sand dunes, a boardwalk, a Vita exercise course and amenities such as changing rooms, picnic tables and barbecue pits.
Why go? For a peculiar beachside experience in fall and winter, when the leaves of the park’s many trees change colors just like they do up north. Bring your pooch for a stroll through the winding trail to the large dog run, one of the shadiest and cleanest around.
What is it? The most beloved park in Coconut Grove, a city that loves its green space. The historic Barnacle Park shows you what life was like in that area back in the 20th century.
Why go? Tour the former home of Coconut Grove pioneer Ralph Middleton Munroe. Start at the slim stretch of hammock-enclosed trail and end at the beautiful waterfront space dotted with giant old trees.