Our guide to the best outdoor adventures in Miami will help you discover the best places to get outside and active in the city. The coastal metropolis in south-eastern Florida is well-known for beautiful beaches and seaside activities such as surfing and boating. Offering a variety of recreational opportunities, the city also boasts great national and state parks, botanical gardens, and coastal bike trails.

    From the expansive wetlands of Everglades National Park to the coral reefs of Biscayne National Park, there are some incredibly impressive natural environments to explore. No matter what kind of outdoor activities you’re into, Miami has plenty of options for everyone to enjoy.

    1

    Everglades National Park

    A huge subtropical wilderness of wetlands and mangroves

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    The Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wetlands in the US and offers one of the best outdoor adventures in Miami. The huge wilderness area occupies an incredible 1.5 million acres on the southern tip of Florida. It's made up of mangroves, marshes and flatwoods, which provide a home to numerous rare and endangered animals including the manatee and American crocodile.

    There's a range of activities you can enjoy inside the park. Airboat tours are popular, otherwise, for something more active, you can cycle through Shark Valley, which is easily accessible from Miami for a day trip. The park has 3 entrances from where you can get access to different parts of the huge park. The closest access point to the city of Miami is at Shark Valley, where you’ll find a visitor centre.

    Location: Everglades National Park, FL 33034, USA

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +1 305-242-7700

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    2

    Biscayne National Park

    Coral reefs, islands, and mangrove forests

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    Biscayne National Park is a large national park in Biscayne Bay in the northern Florida Keys. The park area covers 172,000 acres and protects natural coral reefs, islands and mangrove forests. It’s a unique national park, with around 95% of it being underwater, which means you’ll find plenty of opportunities for water-based activities and among the best outdoor adventures south of Miami.

    From canoeing and kayaking along the mangrove-covered shoreline to snorkelling and diving to coral reefs and shipwrecks, it’s an ocean lover’s dream. The park’s main visitor centre, Dante Fascell Visitor Center, is in Homestead, an hour’s drive away from South Beach. The centre is open for those looking to learn more about the national park. It also offers a boardwalk and launch point for kayaks.

    Location: Biscayne National Park, FL, USA

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +1 305-230-1144

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    3

    Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

    An exotic garden showcasing extremely rare and beautiful plants

    The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is an 83-acre botanic garden in Coral Gables in Miami. It’s home to an exclusive collection of rare tropical plants and trees, with more than 3,400 different species. The gardens are broken up into separate exhibits and sections, such as Water Gardens and Aquatic Exhibits, Butterfly Garden, Tropical Flowering Tree Arboretum, and Geiger Tropical Flower Garden.

    You can explore the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in several ways, including guided tours and tram rides. The 45-minute narrated tram tour explains the history of the garden and its collection. It’s a free addition to the entrance tickets. You can also enjoy a self-guided tour on the park’s many walking trails, with maps available at the entrance.

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    Location: 10901 Old Cutler Rd, Coral Gables, FL 33156, USA

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +1 305-6671-651

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    4

    Deering Estate

    A large historical site with plenty of outdoor activities

    The Deering Estate is a historic estate on the coast of South Dade in Miami. It was the home of Charles Deering, an environmentalist, art collector, philanthropist and the first chairman of the International Harvester Company. The 444-acre park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It serves a museum and natural park area with plenty of outdoor activities and tours within its boundaries.

    The daily Nature Preserve Tour takes you on a guided walk through the estate, providing information on the plants and animals found there. They also run bird walks, after-dark tours, and kayak and canoe trips. Some of these tours and guided walks are seasonal, with additional costs to the entrance fee into the estate.

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    Location: 16701 SW 72nd Ave, Miami, FL 33157, USA

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 305-235-1668

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    5

    Venetian Pool

    Historic spring-water pool with waterfalls and grottos

    The Venetian Pool is a popular spring-water-filled pool in Coral Gables in Miami. The site was originally a rock quarry before being turned into a Mediterranean-style Venetian pool in 1924. It was part of the idyllic neighbourhood plan of real estate developer George Merrick, who designed and built Coral Gables. The pool is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    The incredibly large pool holds up to 3.1 million litres of spring water sourced from an underwater aquifer. It has a beautiful oasis-like appearance, with palm trees, rock formations, waterfalls and interesting grottos to explore.

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    Location: 2701 De Soto Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33134, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 4.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 305-460-5306

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    6

    Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

    A secluded natural area with beautiful beaches

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    The Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is on the very tip of Key Biscayne in Miami. The beautiful beach and park area is home to a historic lighthouse, which is the oldest standing building in Miami-Dade County. The lighthouse was built in 1825. Join a guided tour up to the watch room for panoramic views of Key Biscayne.

    There are also plenty of other things to do in the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, from walking and cycling to relaxing on the beach. There are quite a few nature trails to enjoy – a popular 1.5-mile bike path is one of the highlights of the park. Many people opt to rent a quad bike from the stand near the lighthouse café. It seats up to 4 people, making it a fun way for groups to get around.

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    Location: 1200 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, FL 33149, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 786-582-2673

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    7

    Jet Boat Miami

    Enjoy a high-speed jet boat tour in Biscayne Bay

    Jet Boat Miami is a longstanding tour operator that offers classic 30-minute jet boat rides for passengers 3 years old and above. They also offer alternatives to the speed-based options, with pontoon boat rentals, jet ski rentals, and banana boat rides available for families and groups of friends.

    Jet boating is one of the most popular water-based tours in Miami. Miami’s crystal-clear waters are perfect for all sorts of boating activities from sailing to fishing. However, for adrenaline-seekers, speedboats offer one of the most thrilling ways to see Miami from a different perspective.

    Location: Sea Isle Marina, 1635 N Bayshore Dr, Miami, FL 33132, USA

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 305-333-0110

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    8

    Greynolds Park

    A large urban park with a golf course and viewpoint

    Greynolds Park is a large urban park in North Miami Beach. The 249-acre park was originally a rock quarry until it became a designated park area in 1936. It is a popular place for picnics, walking trails, kids' playgrounds, and opportunities for birdwatching.

    One of the main features of the park is the Outlook Mound and Tower, the highest public landform in South Florida. It offers views over the forest and lagoons surrounding the park. A 58-acre public golf course was added to the northern portion of the park in 1964. It’s an affordable place for a round of golf in Miami. Next to the main park, you can find a canoe and kayak launch and a fishing dock in East Greynolds Park.

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    Location: 17530 W Dixie Hwy, North Miami Beach, FL 33160, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 305-945-3425

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    9

    Rickenbacker Trail

    An iconic bike ride across the Rickenbacker Causeway

    The Rickenbacker Trail is a popular bike ride across the Rickenbacker Causeway in Miami. The trail begins in south Miami and continues along the causeway for nearly 9 miles. The causeway connects mainland Miami to Virginia Key and Key Biscayne. Due to this location, the trail is known for its incredible coastal views of Biscayne Bay for most of the way.

    The ride concludes at the beach in Bill Braggs Cape Florida State Park at the tip of Key Biscayne, where you can rest before the ride back. The trail runs as a wide concrete shoulder to the road, with safety features like striping and green paint to improve visibility for cyclists.

    Location: Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149, USA

    Open: 24/7

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    10

    Surfing at South Beach

    Hit the popular surf spot in Miami

    South Beach is one of the most popular places to go surfing in Miami. Located just south of Miami Beach, the warm waters on the coast year-round offer some good waves for everyone, from beginners to seasoned surfers.

    The waves tend to be fairly gentle for most of the year, which gives beginners a good chance to practice. There are also plenty of surf schools along South Beach offering lessons and board rentals. For experienced surfers, the southern end of South Beach across from South Point Park, known as South Pointe Beach, is where the waves are usually stronger. You’ll find locals and visitors heading out to catch surf breaks from early morning until late evening.

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    Location: Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA

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    Elisha Donkin | Contributing Writer

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