The coastal city of Miami has plenty of attractions like the Phllip and Patrica Frost Museum of Science, shopping spots like Coconut Grove, and fun neighborhoods such as Little Havana and Coral Gables. But seeing open spaces in Miami is part of the draw for both locals and visitors to this pretty city.
At first thought, Miami parks may not seem quite as appealing as Miami beaches and the ocean, but the Magic City has some of the best parks in the world, and you'll be left in awe. Miami's tropical climate and surrounding waters allow for some jaw-dropping parks and features, perfect for a fun day out. Parks in Miami are scattered throughout the city, making it convenient to catch your breath at any given time.
Whether you want to take the kids out, have a picnic, or you've arranged a tennis match with your friends, the parks in Miami have you covered. And don't let the heavy shopping bags or backpacks slow you down or make you skip the park. Bounce backpack storage in Miami has safe and convenient luggage lockers across the city, so you can drop off anything you don't want to carry along.
Maurice A. Ferré Park
Formerly known as the Museum Park, the Maurice A. Ferré Park, is a 30-acre public urban mark in downtown Miami and is the perfect waterfront area to sit back and relax or enjoy a leisurely stroll. Located along Biscayne Bay, the Museum Park is home to a number of museums, hence the name. History buffs and museum lovers get the chance to check out world-class museums like the Perez Art Museum Miami or PAMM, and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science.
Open in 1976, the park is also a host to many large-scale events such as the Ultra Music Festival, the Warped Tour, and the annual Miami Art Week. Some of the highlights of Maurice A. Ferré Park include the longest waterfront bay walk in Miami, an outdoor amphitheater, the Dogs and Cats Walkway and Sculpture Gardens, and the Plaza de la Marina Española (Spanish Navy Plaza). Visitors can use the biking and walking trails to break some sweat or the grassy areas to have a picnic. There are a few playgrounds for the youngest and many food stalls selling a wide range of food. If street food isn't your thing, head down to the Verde restaurant at the PAMM museum for the ultimate waterfront dining experience.
Vast and green, the urban waterfront park is surrounded by key points of interest, including Lincoln Road Mall, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and Miami Seaquarium, and it's considered an extension of Bayfront Park. This Museum Park offers free admission all year round.
Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park
Approximately 22 acres in size, this nature preserve borders Arch Creek in North Miami and offers the perfect retreat from the city noise. Surrounded by subtropical plants, open grassy fields and large trees, the park certainly looks enchanted, and an hour spent here is sure to boost your energy levels.
Walking along the trails surrounded by greenery and flowers, you'll come across an abundance of wildlife, a butterfly garden, a farm, and a playground. People come here to connect with nature, have a picnic, and go horseback riding. Pony rides, lessons and a petting zoo are also available for the youngest, making this park very popular among families. Somewhere amid the lush trees is a monument to the heroes of Greater Miami’s LGBTQ community. This green space in North Miami is also host to special events as well as a day camp during school breaks.
A day out in the forest, you're sure to burn some energy, and when you need to refuel, you can use the picnic tables to unpack your picnic basket or head down to the surrounding cafes and restaurants where you'll find a KFC, a Starbucks, and a hamburger restaurant, among others. The enchanted park is open daily and offers free admission and parking throughout the whole year.
Crandon Park Gardens
When visiting Key Biscayne, this place is worth the stop. Set on the grounds of the former South Florida Zoo, Crandon Park Gardens are, although creepy, a wonderful way to spend the day with the kids or your friends. Baby gators, lizards, wild rabbits, peacocks, birds, iguanas, and turtles call this place home. Keep in mind that this isn't a zoo with caged animals. All the wildlife roam freely on the grounds.
The Crandon Park Gardens make up only 48 acres of the 800-acre Crandon Park. Walking around the abandoned zoo, you may come across deserted buildings and structures, which, although a spooky site, they're what make the gardens unique. People come here for various reasons, whether to hike, explore the flora and fauna, or sit back and relax to the sounds of the birds. The gardens also feature several small lakes, a canal, and part of the old railroad track that used to be a fun ride around the former zoo.
There's also plenty to do beyond the ruins of the zoo, as it's part of a much larger Crandon Park, which features a public beach, a skating rink, a volleyball and a tennis court, a golf course, and a nature center. There are a few cafes to grab a bite in the park. Open daily from dawn till dusk, the Crandon Park Gardens are free to enter year-round.
Oleta River State Park
At a thousand acres, the Oleta River State Park on Biscayne Bay is the largest urban park in Florida and provides the most serene respite in the busy urban area of Miami. Apart from the vast land that stretches as far as the eye can see, this natural oasis in North Miami is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, some of which are alligators, deer, manatees, dolphins, migratory birds, and native butterflies.
The list of things you can see and do in the largest park in Florida is endless, from paddling, kayaking, fishing, and cycling to beachside barbeque, swimming, and enjoying the sun and sand at the nearby beaches. If you want a close-up encounter with marine life, you can go snorkeling in the saltwater lagoon. Also, there is a 15-mile mountain biking trail that is flooded with bikers, so keep that in mind if you decide to hike. And, with three group sites and 14 cabin units, camping is also a popular thing to do at the park.
There are a number of places to eat within Oleta River State Park, but you can always pack your lunch and have a picnic at one of the many designated picnic areas in the park. Oleta River State Park is open from sunrise to sunset.
Brickell Key Park
If roaming around Miami has tired you out, Brickell Key Park is a perfect stop to catch your breath and recharge your batteries. Located just offshore of downtown Miami, on the southern tip of the man-made island of Brickell Key, this waterfront park offers scenic city and water views, winding paths, palm trees, picnic tables, and recreation areas. Brickell Key Island is also home to the world-renowned 5-star hotel, the Mandarin Oriental, and 11 condominium buildings.
At 2.4 acres of land, Brickell Key Park is one of the smallest Miami parks, but it's one of the best landscaped green spaces. Visitors of this tranquil oasis can go hiking, jogging, swimming, explore the grounds or take the kids out to burn off some energy. There are a few places to eat nearby, including a Peruvian restaurant and Italian cuisine. The park is open 24/7, all year round.
The Barnacle Historic State Park
Situated in the Coconut Grove neighborhood on the shore of Biscayne Bay, this Miami park takes up 5 acres of land, and it's one of the best historic parks in Miami to breathe some fresh air and learn some history. Built in 1891, the Barnacle Historic State Park was once the home of Ralph Middleton Munroe, one of the earliest residents of Coconut Grove, a boat designer, and a businessman.
The park features three historic houses, but it's named after Munroe's main residence, which he called The Barnacle. The Barnacle, now a museum, represents the oldest home in Miami-Dade County and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Featuring antiques and original furnishings, the main dwelling looks much as it did in Munroe's time. You can only access The Barnacle with a guided tour, so make sure to book in advance.
This vast green space is filled with large trees, and some of the popular activities include picnicking on the lawn, hiking and exploring the grounds, birdwatching, or watching the boats go by. The park is also host to outdoor concerts, live theatre with Shakespeare's plays, and guided tours, including The Haunted Ballet tour just before Halloween.
Formerly known as Royal Palm Park, Bayfront Park is one of the best parks on Biscayne Key in downtown Miami. Built in 1896, Bayfront Park is known to be the first public gathering spot for the Greater Miami community, which at the time had just a pavilion and green spaces used for sports and field activities like baseball. Over the years, the park had undergone some significant changes, like a bandshell where a number of events and happenings took place.
Today, the park stretches over 32 acres of land and is used by locals and tourists for a relaxing day out, picnicking, swimming, hiking, or attending an event. The park features a number of impressive monuments such as the World War II Veterans’ Memorial, statues of Claude Pepper and Christopher Columbus, the stunning Mildred and Claude Pepper Fountain, the Centennial Time Capsule, the iconic Light Tower, Challenger Memorial, the Slide Mantra and many more. Kids get to play at the amazing Lee & Tina Hills Playground, equipped with climbing areas, a pirate ship, slides and bouncers.
Located in the city center, the park is close to a number of cafes and places to eat, including Bayside Marketplace, a large outdoor mall with all the facilities and amenities you could think of.
Located on South Miami Avenue, near Biscayne Bay, you'll find Simpson Park Hammock, a 7.8 acres urban park with a natural tropical hammock. The park was established in 1913 by a group of local preservationists and today offers plenty of green space with a pond and 160 plant species, some of which are rare and endangered, including Yellow Boxwood, Gulf Licaria and Silver Palm.
People come to this nature preserve for fresh air and recreation, to grab a picnic lunch at the nearby restaurants, or simply to take a peaceful stroll and de-stress amid the large native trees. Simpson Park features free Nature Walk Tours on the weekends, where you get to learn about the history of the park and its native plant species. The tours are an hour long and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Moreover, the park has a visitor's center with a small store where you can buy your souvenirs and snacks. Simpson Park offers free entrance all year round.
The best parks in Miami to fill in your lungs with fresh sea air
When looking for a park in Miami to catch your breath from the shopping spree or just need a green space to boost your mood, Miami has a number of fascinating parks that'll help you connect with nature and entertain you for hours. Other parks in Miami worth mentioning are Miami Beach Botanical Garden, Kennedy Park (one of the best dog parks in town), Barnes Park, Margaret Pace Park, and South Pointe Park, among others.
And if you need more ideas on things to do and see while in Miami, Florida, check out our guides on the best hikes in Miami. Stretch your legs before heading to the shore to relax at one of the beaches near Miami.