Getting in touch with nature is a must if you’re looking for solace away from the city. Luckily for students at the University of Miami, South Florida has a lot more to offer when it comes to the outdoors. And no, you won’t have to drive all the way down to the humid and mosquito-infested Everglades. From ocean views to giant trees, here are five must-see outdoor attractions around Miami.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Visiting Miami Beach can be a hassle. Between the search for parking, the traffic heading home and its mostly expensive prices, it’s no wonder why people turn to Bill Baggs. Located in Key Biscayne, Bill Baggs offers easy parking and much more than sun bathing. Visitors can try out several outdoor activities, from kayaking to paddle boarding. Between the historic lighthouse and the serene Atlantic coastline, it has the appeal of a quiet and tame South Beach.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is located at 1200 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne.
Deering Estate, once home to Charles Deering, is a piece of South Florida history as well as an environmental preserve with 444 acres of native and rare wildlife. As you walk through the entrance, you’re immediately greeted by colossal trees that offer shade while you make your way to the main house. If you’re looking for a late-night hike filled with nocturnal wildlife, make sure to visit the estate every second Wednesday of the month from 7 to 9 p.m. when “Night Hike” is offered. If bird watching is more your thing, “Bird Walk” is offered every second Saturday of the month from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Deering Estate is located at 16701 SW 72nd Ave., Miami.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden almost seems surreal. From the beautiful tropical plants to the waterfalls, this is a must if you love nature. The $25 admission includes the entrance and an optional hour-long tram ride that gives you a tour of the scenery. The paths throughout the garden are great for a casual stroll. And if you really want to get in touch with nature, check out the Lisa D. Anness Butterfly Garden. It is one of the big attractions at Fairchild and has numerous species of butterflies and plants.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables.
South Pointe Park
South Pointe Park is a hidden gem; surprisingly, some locals don’t even know about it. Although it’s located in South Beach, the park offers a nice and relaxing atmosphere. Even though it may not seem far from the madness at Nikki Beach, you can tell the difference by the laid-back attitude at South Pointe. Whether you want to check out the cruise ships as they depart or just take a jog, South Pointe Park is a must. Plus, dogs are welcome, so bring your pooch when you decide to visit.
South Pointe Park is located at 1 Washington Ave., Miami Beach.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
If architecture and nature are of interest to you, Vizcaya won’t disappoint. Once the winter home to James Deering, Vizcaya is now a national historic landmark as well as one of the top tourist attractions in Miami. The charming villa architecture is in Italian Renaissance-style, and the stunning gardens overlook a breathtaking view of Biscayne Bay. Make sure to bring your iPhone because the scenery will guarantee your Instagram photos a spot in the popular page.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is located at 3251 South Miami Ave., Miami.