Restrictions are steadily lifting throughout southern Florida and many people are looking for ways to get out and about while still staying 6 feet apart. Fortunately, miles of beaches and other outdoor spaces make it easy to practice social distancing. Miami’s sunny days and tropical breezes are sure to get rid of even the worst cases of cabin fever.
Stretch Your Legs Around Miami
Most popular in the 1920s and 30s, art deco is a modern take on neoclassical architecture. The geometric facades are painted in vibrant pastels and line Miami beach like fabulous sentinels. Self-guided walking tours are a wonderful introduction to art deco architecture and a way to learn some of the histories that make each building unique. The tour begins at the Art Deco Welcome Center near Lummus Park and sticks to a 10-block radius. There are 15 historic buildings that are official stops on the tour, but the entire area is decked out in this fantastical style.
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden
If you prefer nature to buildings, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden offers self-guided tours of its grounds. The 83-acre park opened to the public in 1938 and has an extensive collection of rare tropical plants and animals. The Wings of the Tropics exhibit features thousands of rare butterflies and tropical fish. Leopard Lacewings and Blue Morphos are just 2 of the more than 40 species collected. The Edible Garden has tropical fruits and vegetables that are grown in an urban garden setting. This exhibit aims to help teach people how their own home gardens can be converted into productive kitchens and beautiful landscapes.
Oleta River State Park
Avid cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts should take a trip to the Oleta River State Park. This is the largest urban park in Florida and has 15 miles of off-road biking trails. Pedestrian-friendly trails wind through hundreds of acres of rich wildlife. The Oleta River is home to a lush mangrove forest which is best navigated by paddleboard. Visitors that are interested in a more relaxing experience can enjoy the recreation area along Biscayne Bay. Here guests can picnic, fish, or swim.
A Day at the Beach
No visit to Miami would be complete without a visit to South Beach. This neighborhood is iconic and encompasses the southernmost 2.5 miles of Miami Beach (9 miles). With that much space, it’s easy to spread out and social distance on the warm sand. The boardwalk above the beach has ample space for rollerblading, jogging, and skateboarding. It’s also a great place to check out murals and artistic graffiti that depict the rich Cuban culture present in Miami. Fishing is allowed off the pier and there is golfing at Haulover Park.
Matheson Hammock Park
Matheson Hammock Park is another beach oasis that’s fun for the whole family. The park is famous for its atoll pools, which are saltwater swimming holes created from the tides off of Biscayne Bay. The waters are very calm and protected which makes them perfect for families with young children or for swimming laps. The beach is shaded by palms and a perfect place to get out of the sun. The inland section of the park has plenty of paved paths for biking and rollerblading. The beach has perfect breezes for kiteboarding and sailing.
Adventure Under the Sea
Biscayne National Park
Some of the best aquatic recreations in Miami doesn’t happen on the sea but under it. SCUBA divers flock to Miami for their own “wreckreation” because it is one of the best places in the world to go wreck diving. Biscayne National Park is home to more than 600 species of tropical fish, coral reefs, and several shipwrecks. Many of the ships were sunk to create artificial reefs and help the natural marine ecology thrive. Here’s a handy list of some of Miami’s best dive sites. The sites are listed with their average depth, skill level, and important facts about the shipwrecks located there.
Half Moon Archaeological Preserve
The Half Moon Archaeological Preserve is a favorite local dive site. The Half Moon yacht that the site was named for sunk in a storm back in the 1930s. It became an official historical preserve in the late 1990s and is used as a keystone in studying the difference between artificial and natural reefs. Because the wreck is relatively shallow, snorkeling is a good way to check out the reef without strapping on an air tank. The outside of the yacht is home to soft corals and sponges while damselfish and other reef fishes take refuge inside her hull. There is even a pair of angelfish that are famously friendly to all the reef’s human visitors.