Martell Park
Photo by Dan Evans

Tucked just north of the Julia Tuttle eastbound on-ramp sits dog-friendly Martell Park (also known as the "Martell Bark Park" in some circles). Although the enclosed pooch playground area is small in size, it still packs a big bark. Unlike at more traditional dog parks, big and little pooches do not have separate areas here; everyone is expected to just get along. And why not? In addition to the overarching mellowness of the dogs and their owners, the park boasts a million-dollar view of the causeway and Miami Beach. A word of caution: There's not much in the way of close-in parking here, but it's easy enough to find something in the surrounding blocks. Just don't use the Taco Bell lot, or you and your pup could be hoofing it home — and paying big bucks at the tow lot.

Oleta River State Park

If you're looking for a getaway after a hard work week or just an escape from the pandemic blues, there is no shortage of things to do in Florida's largest urban park. Take an easy hike on miles of dirt and paved trails, or go for an adrenaline-fueled ride on off-road biking trails. Snorkel in the water off of Sandspur Island, or prop a beach chair in the sand and read a book. Kayak or canoe surrounded by mangroves in this 1,000-acre oasis, keeping an eye out for dolphins, manatees, herons, and turtles. Currently, visitors can expect limited hours, amenities, and capacity; see the park's website for more information.

Alice C. Wainwright Park
Courtesy of the GMCVB

In many ways, Alice Wainwright Park, at the northern end of Coconut Grove, contains many of the elements of South Florida outdoor public spaces that parkgoers love: a playground, a basketball court, picnic shelters, and tastefully placed benches. Any spot in Alice Wainwright Park is good enough to set up your picnic blanket, but your best bet is to descend into the park's "lower level," beneath a small limestone formation that's part of the Miami Rock Ridge; a grassy area sits right up against the lapping waters of Biscayne Bay, and picnic shelters are hidden in the nearby thicket of casuarina trees.

Best Cheap Thrill
Photo by Dan Evans

It's been maddening, right? Every day feels the same, an endless loop of Groundhog Day without the witty banter of Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. And no Punxsutawney Phil, for that matter. When neighbors meet in the street or the elevator, the most common response to the "How are things going?" question seems to be, simply, "Surviving." But there's a way to break up the day, one that costs essentially nothing: going for a goddamn walk. Depending on the day and the mood of whatever city manager's domain you happen to be in, walks might be masked or unmasked, but it's a freeing experience either way. Hell, it's even good exercise. This being the subtropics, morning might be the best time, but for the hair shirt-inclined, nothing quite beats a noontime walk. Although your clothes will quickly appear as though you've run headlong into Biscayne Bay, the combination of sun, sweat and exercise will have you feeling like a new person, ready to take on the next endless Zoom meeting.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®