There's nothing more important to Miami's ecology than mangroves. These swampy forests provide nutrients to depleted waters, cover for endangered critters, and even build land. But unless you fish, it's hard to get up close and personal with mangroves. That's why the next time you take to the pavement for a jog, head to Matheson Hammock. This 351-acre park, located just off Old Cutler Road and adjacent to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, has a path that takes you through some of the deepest mangrove brush in the city. You can see, smell, and feel nature in the subtropics. The park is more than just mangroves, though; the trail proceeds through a picturesque picnic area complete with lakes and old coral rock shelters, and on to Matheson Hammock's atoll pool on Biscayne Bay. The path wends around the pool, which looks more like a beachfront lake filled with seawater (also an underrated sunbathing spot sans pretense), past a marina, by a boat ramp, and even alongside the best kite-surfing spot in Miami. If you feel overheated during your jog, cool off with a dip in the bay or pool, or hop into one of the public showers. There's also a concession stand. Don't forget to bring bug spray, or be prepared to run really fast, because mangroves are breeding grounds for skeeters. Parking at Matheson's entrance is free but costs $5 next to the atoll pool. Park hours are sunrise to sunset.

Location Details

9610 Old Cutler Rd.
Coral Gables FL 33156


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