Glittering skyscrapers against the night sky, cruise ships departing for exotic places, bustling neighborhoods like Little Havana: these are all all images that come to mind when we think of Miami. One overlooked aspect of Miami, however, is its abundance of natural beauty found in many of the the city's parks. See everything the Magic City has to offer and check out these family-friendly Miami parks where everyone can have fun while appreciating the great outdoors.

Bayfront Park

Bayfront Park is an ideal spot to catch some rays, people watch, take a yoga lesson, and enjoy some live music. With an amphitheatre, playground, trails, and seating overlooking the water where you can chill and catch a breeze, it's the perfect place to take a break from the city and have fun with the family. It’s a popular venue for concerts and provides easy access to the nearby shops, restaurants. and bars of Bayside Marketplace. Spend an hour (or two, or three) watching the boats zip by on Miami’s open-air front porch.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is not only on Dr. Beach’s (Dr. Stephen Leatherman) list of Top Ten Beaches in America, it also boasts historical and cultural amenities including a lighthouse that is one of the oldest structures in Greater Miami. You can swim, bike, kayak, and snorkel in the Atlantic here as well as throw a line for some of the best offshore fishing in the area. If you’re tired of the sun, take a guided tour of the lighthouse and lighthouse keeper’s cottage, which are offered twice daily Thursday through Monday. If you’d like to lounge, rent an umbrella or beach chair. There are two restaurants onsite as well as grills if you want to have a barbecue lunch with your family instead.

Oleta River State Park

Oleta River State Park is where you go when you want to escape Miami's buildings and bustling streets yet be within a minute's drive of your hotel. Florida’s largest urban park is known for its miles of off-road bicycling trails that gives everyone from novice to expert a run for their money. When you get tired of your wheels, swap them out for a kayak and explore the mangroves. There’s also a beach and picnic pavilions, and, if your family wants to stay overnight, rent one of the 14 rustic cabins nearby.

Matheson Hammock County Park

Matheson Hammock Park is a man-made atoll that is flushed by the waters of Biscayne Bay. It’s gentle and peaceful, making it a great place for families with young children to take to the water. If you’re going with your family, there’s an Old-Florida coral pavilion with picnics and trails to explore. Head down to the Tenerife Reflecting Point for excellent views over the water and of the kiteboarders that frequent the area. You can even rent a kiteboard and give this adrenaline-charged sport a shot! Find a perfect conclusion to your day at this park and head over to Red Fish Grill for a delicious seafood dinner. .

Crandon Park Nature Center

Crandon Park is the ultimate beach destination for visitors and residents, mostly because it has so many amenities and activities that you’ll be sure to find something to please the pickiest person in your family. There’s a beach, tennis and golf facilities, eco-adventures and tours (including a hammock hike with a naturalist guide), mangrove trails, and and a mangrove boardwalk to a fossilized reef overlook. You can rent everything from kiteboards, kayaks, cabana, picnic shelters, and pavilion depending on your family's size and needs.

Escape the busy city for a bit and bring the gang to these family-friendly parks in Miami for relaxed, outdoor fun.

Find more Miami Parks and things to do in Miami by registering on 305area, your free guide to the Magic City.


Cover photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons