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