It's Earth Day, which at the very least means you should figure out some time to be outside and be one with nature today. Miami, of course, is the only major city sandwiched between two national parks (Everglades to the west, Biscayne to the east), but there's plenty of green space in between -- some of which might get overlooked. Here are our picks for ten of the best hidden parks in Miami-Dade.
Pinetree Drive and West 45th Street, Miami Beach
Located amid Pinetree Drive mansions, this park gives the public a taste of that Indian Creek view. In fact, the park affords a direct view of the Fontainebleau hotel. The park features walking trails, an area for dogs, and even a place to launch a kayak.
Fruit & Spice Park
24801 SW 187th Ave., Homestead
Well known to some locals yet criminally secret to others, this botanical garden features 30 acres of herbs, nuts, spices, and unusual fruits. Park staff offers guided tours, and there's a gift shop up front where you can purchase products made from the park's unusual fruits.
Alice C. Wainwright Park
2845 Brickell Ave., Miami
Located between Vizcaya and the west end of the Rickenbacker Causeway, this is one of Miami's least crowded bayfront parks and a great place to catch the sunrise over the bay.
Country Club Prado
910 Country Club Prado, Coral Gables
Thanks to NYC's High Line, linear parks are all the rage. What Country Club Prado lacks in total length and elevation compared to the High Line, it makes up for in architecture and history. This 13-acre parks cuts through a slice of residential Coral Gables and features breathtaking examples of the city's famous Spanish-style architecture.
FIU Nature Preserve
11200 SW Eighth St., Miami
Right on Florida International University's main campus, this place packs three distinct ecosystems -- pine rocklands, tropical hardwood hammocks, and freshwater wetlands -- into just 13 acres and features more than 450 types of plants, including several that are endangered.
J.C. Bermudez Park
3000 NW 87th Ave., Doral
Ironically, it can be difficult to find true green space in Dade's western suburbs, but this 82-acre park right in the middle of Doral features a scenic lake, free yoga classes, and plenty of spots for grilling and picnics.
Manatee Bend Park
457 NE 77th Street Rd., Miami
One of Miami's newest official parks, this little 1.2-acre oasis sits right on a bend of the Little River.
Flagler Monument Island
Middle of Biscayne Bay
Reachable only by boat, Monument Island isn't so much hidden as it is hard to reach. This is the jewel of all the various parkland islands in the bay thanks to the obelisk monument to Henry Flagler that sits in the middle of it.
3105 NE 190th St., Aventura
This Aventura park features all your typical recreation facilities, including playgrounds and athletic fields, but it's the southern half that gives the public an open view of the Aventura waterfront.
Snake Creek Trail Park
19601 NE First Pl., North Miami Beach
Designed as a path for bikers, joggers, and roller-bladers, this three-mile park cuts a scenic waterfront sliver right through the heart of North Miami Beach.