Jan 3, 2023 - Things to Do

Explore the Miami area's natural wonders by foot, bike and kayak

Lillypads float over the water in the Everglades.

The view from the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades. Photo: Martin Vassolo/Axios

I got the chance to disconnect over the winter holiday break and enjoy the great outdoors.

  • With family visiting from Spain, I explored the Miami metro and its natural wonders through their eyes. It served as a great reminder that there's always more to discover about my hometown.

If you're looking to plan your next adventure, here are a few tips from my low-budget "staycation."

Trail walking

We drove down to Homestead to look for alligators and walk around the Everglades' Pine Island trails.

  • On the Anhinga Trail, we spotted several chilled-out gators lounging near the swamp, checked out the "sunburnt" gumbo limbo trees and went searching for woodpeckers.

Be smart: Get there early! There's a lot more to fit into your day, like the Flamingo Trails and canoe launches.

  • If you think you'll visit the park more than once this year, consider getting an annual pass ($55). With daily passes costing $33, it'll save you some money.

I bought a bike online a few weeks ago and got the chance to put it together over the break. Decked out in safety lights and a helmet, I went for my first ride along the Miami Beach Beachwalk. It was a grossly humid day, but I got in a decent workout!

Be smart: Other than the standard warning about Miami drivers, I recommend getting a good pair of lights to make sure you're visible. And if you store your bike outdoors like I do, a tarp will go a long way to protect against rust.

Plus: If you want to bike in a big group, consider joining Critical Mass. It organizes 12- to 18-mile rides across Miami on the last Friday of every month.

An inflatable kayak.
Our new kayak pictured at Oleta River. Photo: Martin Vassolo/Axios

I received an unexpected gift from my in-laws this Christmas — an inflatable kayak for my wife and I to share. It doesn't take up too much space in our apartment, and it's surprisingly easy to put together.

  • We took it out to Oleta River over the weekend, and it rode like a dream. Though, watch out for the bay's choppy waters.

Pro tip: Park entry costs $6 per vehicle, and you can rent a lifejacket for $5 if you don’t have one.

  • Oleta also offers kayak and canoe rentals for as low as $40.
  • You can paddle around the park, dock at the beach and go for a swim. If you’re brave, you can cross over to one of the islands but beware of boats!

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