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The Ten Best Parks in Miami

Paradise. That's what this city is. It may often be perverse or peculiar, but have no doubt: Miami is the paradisiacal metropolis of the south. And the beauty of this place won't be found within the pulsating walls of LIV or along the bustling, crowded sidewalk of the Corner. The sublime appeal of this town radiates from the trees and the sand and the mangrove-entwined waters -- from the natural fibers of Miami.

But as in all great cities, the expansion of Miami has made that natural beauty a bit harder to connect with. Enter the Miami-Dade County department of Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces, who've have helped carve out pockets of earth, both small and large, in order to sustain a few fine spots where one can wander, relax, and enjoy the sense of serenity that comes with entering a peaceful, green space. And as the sun hangs higher and longer with each passing day, nobody should go without a few strolls through those spaces. So, for your strolling pleasure, here are ten of the best parks in the county of Miami-Dade.

The Ten Best Parks in Miami
Travis Cohen

10. Martell Park

NE 36th Street at Biscayne Bay, Miami

The idea of a park dropped in between the east and westbound lanes of the Julia Tuttle Causeway may not seem like the most serene concept in the world, but this is a thoroughly relaxing park. The calm feeling about this green space is emphasized by the disparity between the park and the churning concrete arteries surrounding it. The eastern edge of this park is a bulk head that allows a little bit of Biscayne Bay to traverse a breadth that separates Martell from the foot of I-195 and adds to the picturesque scenery that makes up the smallest park on this list.

The Ten Best Parks in Miami
Travis Cohen

9. Legion Park

NE 66th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, Miami

Many people pass this park every day without the slightest idea that it's there, which is incredible considering how large it is. Stretching from Biscayne Boulevard to Biscayne Bay, Legion is another example of how a good park can feel like a point of departure, a portal world where things are easier and more comfortable than amidst the pay by the hour motels and bicycle bound errand boys of Miami's "Upper East Side." The park sports a nicely maintained set of basketball courts that are rarely too busy for you to jump in on a game or get your own going, and a pair of tennis courts that boast the lovely qualities of a view of Biscayne Bay and being free to play on. On a breezy day, you might just catch expert handlers flying stunt kites like fighter jets, which, if you've never witnessed it, is mesmerizing to watch -- and a far cry from watching half-wit drivers inch their way along US 1.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

The Ten Best Parks in Miami
Via Wikipedia

8. Bayfront Park

301 N Biscayne Boulevard, Miami

This 32-acre park on the sun-drenched seam of Biscayne Bay and Downtown Miami is one of the oldest parks in the city. The recent stomping grounds for Ultra and American Ninja Warrior was originally opened in 1925, and has seen numerous other events made history like the assassination of Chicago mayor Anton Cermak, who was shot and killed here as he was shaking hands with then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933. The park is just as stunning to behold from any of the apartments above as from within because of the striking use of curved lines and concentric circles in the landscaping and layout, from the amphitheater to the sloping paths that meander from the boulevard to the bay.

The Ten Best Parks in Miami
Travis Cohen

7. Pine Tree Park

45th Street & Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach

Sometimes, you just want to climb some trees. And when that happens, Pine Tree Park is a wonderful place to scramble. Little dogs amble around at the ends of their leashes, sniffing at each and every curious scent, while people race up and down Collins on the other side of Indian Creek, which cradles this park on its east side. If you make your way up the rope roots of one of Pine Tree Park's sizable Banyan trees, you'll find your inner primate is all sorts of content and you may have some trouble convincing it to let you leave.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

The Ten Best Parks in Miami
Travis Cohen

6. Greynolds Park

17530 W. Dixie Highway, Miami

Ahhh, old Miami, where inestimably valuable tracts of land were once owned by the fat cats of the era. A.O. Greynolds was one of those cats, and fortunately for us, he decided to donate his rock quarry and all the land that came with it, which would be developed into the 265-acre Greynolds Park. This densely wooded space has a top-rate golf course, areas for picnics and gatherings, and one of the largest concentrations of hardwood mangroves in North Miami. It also has a variety of Florida fauna, from raccoons to gold-legged spiders to big orange iguanas that scurry around your feet and into the bushes.

The Ten Best Parks in Miami
Via Wikipedia

5. South Pointe Park

1 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

South Beach isn't the part of town that usually comes to mind when most people think of relaxing in peace and quiet. But just south of the din of tourists, you can follow curve of Miami Beach to its disappearance in the sea at the end of the jetty in South Pointe Park. For more than three decades, South Pointe has catered to locals and tourists alike, appealing to everyone with its view of Downtown, the Port of Miami, and the beginning of the Key Island chain. You can stand along the sea wall over Government Cut and watch as a barge arrives from the Netherlands, or scream obscenities as disturbed cruise passengers pass by, waving uncomfortably. Perhaps best of all is the beach, which is a little too far south from the main drag of Ocean Drive to get quite as grossly overpopulated. For longboarders, there are few rides in Miami Beach quite as fun as the adrenaline soaked experience of carving between cars down Washington and Ocean all the way down to South Pointe for a relaxing dip in the Atlantic before making your way back.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

The Ten Best Parks in Miami
Travis Cohen

4. North Shore Open Space Park

7929 Atlantic Way, Miami Beach

There's no shortage of people who complain that there's no community in this city, no place where Miamians gather and frolic and commiserate over the common sublime strangeness we all live with in this town. But the Open Space Park is evidence to the contrary. Winding between the Beach and Collins Avenue from 78th street to 87th, this park is a fascinating place because it's part of three worlds that somehow interconnect: A1A, the park itself, and the shoreline. All three have different rhythms and sensations to their respective atmospheres, and yet you can walk from one world to the next in a matter of a few steps and feel like you're suddenly on another planet. From the immense amount of trees and greenery to the barbecues and the spaces for dogs to run free, this place feels like a miniature Central Park for Miami Beach locals.

The Ten Best Parks in Miami
Travis Cohen

3. Crandon Park

6747 Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne

This place is big enough to get lost in. Not metaphorically speaking, like "I lost myself in the magic of the woods" -- no, lost as in, "How much of this fucking place is there? Have I crossed into Monroe County yet? Call the Mayor, tell him I need a goddamn helicopter and a rope ladder now!" But in a good way. That kind of lost isn't a sense we get to experience all that often in this city (except perhaps in Hialeah and parts of Downtown) and getting to be totally cut off like that is an incredibly refreshing feeling. As you make your way back from the unmarked and unspoiled depths of the Bear Cut Nature preserve, you can head to the beach, the golf course, or perhaps the tennis courts. With just over 808 acres' worth of the island of Key Biscayne being part of the park, there's no doubt that you could easily while away days on end reveling in the natural splendor Crandon has to offer.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

The Ten Best Parks in Miami
Travis Cohen

2. Biscayne Bay National Park

9700 SW 328th St., Homestead

Biscayne Bay National park spans nearly 175,000 acres, about 95% of which is underwater. In that gargantuan breadth of South Florida are all kinds of amazing sights, from Stiltsville to Elliot Key to sections of the Florida Reef, one of the largest coral reefs in the world. Thousands of years ago, the Glades and Tequesta people lived off of these lands, and remnants of their cultures, such as masses of shells and burial grounds, are still preserved here. The park is a picturesque place for snorkeling, hiking, and exploring the gamut of South Florida flora and fauna, from cacti and beds of seagrass to crocodiles and sea turtles. It's the type of place that can remind us of how small we really are as creatures making our way through these parts, and with its sheer scale and its capacity to humble us, it not only deserves to be recognized as one of the best parks in Miami-Dade, but also as one of the most naturally special places in the country.

The Ten Best Parks in Miami
Travis Cohen

1. Matheson Hammock Park

9610 Old Cutler Road, Miami

William J. Matheson was one of the greatest aristocrats to ever live in this fair state. In his undying love for the nature of South Florida, Matheson and his family donated the land for Matheson Hammock Park, as well as Crandon Park, which combine for nearly 1,450 acres of what Matheson described as "wild and natural beauty."

A 'hammock', for those not yet properly initiated into the world of Floridian flora terminology, is a dense stand of hardwood trees that forms its own ecosystem within another, different ecosystem. In this case, it means a huge forest of mangroves, so thick you can hardly see more than three dozen feet ahead of you. Treading the soft moist ground between the wildly gesticulating mangrove roots, goose stepping over crab holes and ducking underneath spiderwebs, you get a feeling for what this town was like before it was a town, when people like Carl Fisher and John Collins started building a city out of swamp and savannah and seashore. And thanks to William Matheson and his fine brood, you can still drive 25 minutes from the streets and skyscrapers of Downtown Miami and step back in time to feel the wild and natural beauty that lives on in a special corner of this ridiculous and amazing city.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

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Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Legion Park

6630 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33138

305-754-8966

miles
Bayfront Park

301 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33132

305-358-7550

www.bayfrontparkmiami.com

miles
Pine Tree Park

44th St.
Miami Beach, FL 33140

miles
Greynolds Park

17530 W. Dixie Highway
North Miami Beach, FL 33160

305-945-3425

miles
South Point Park

1 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

miles
North Shore Open Space Park

7929 Atlantic Way
Miami Beach, FL 33141

305-993-2032

southflorida.sun-sentinel.com

miles
Crandon Park

6747 Crandon Blvd.
Key Biscayne, FL 33149

305-361-5421

miles
Biscayne National Park

9700 Southwest 328th St.
Homestead, FL 33033

305-230-7275

miles
Matheson Hammock Park

9610 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156

305-665-5475


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