The birthplace of Florida’s early conservation movement, Coral Gables is both tropical jungle and vibrant city, a languid but manicured landscape of immense banyans and ficus with neatly trimmed lawns surrounding grand Mediterranean Revival homes. It is home to numerous tropical gardens and a handful of remnants of the original Miami Hammock.
Trails and Parks in Coral Gables
- Bill Sadowski Park - At the Bill Sadowski Park and Nature Center, the Old Cutler Hammock Nature Trail offers a glimpse of what Cutler Ridge, south of Miami, looked like before development.
- Biscayne Bay - Biscayne Bay is a shallow estuary bounded by barrier islands and coral reefs along the Miami shoreline, more than 63,000 acres of placid salt water
- Cape Florida State Park - A popular destination for sun worshipers, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is an easy getaway for most folks in the Miami area, with a long strand of beachfront complimenting trails along Biscayne Bay and a historic lighthouse at the point.
- Crandon Park - Opened in 1949, Crandon Park - which takes up a commanding portion of Key Biscayne - is packed with family fun. The biggest draw is the beach, which spans two miles of oceanfront with few waves.
- Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden - Established in 1938 as one of the world’s largest collections of tropical plants, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is an integral part of the history of Florida botany and of Coral Gables.
- Matheson Hammock Park - A tropical retreat along the coast of Coral Gables, Matheson Hammock Park has two distinct sides: a wild slice of the ancient Miami Hammock and a waterfront with a man-made atoll on Biscayne Bay
- Matheson Hammock Trail - One of the wilder places showcasing a remaining piece of the ancient Miami Hammock, the Hammock Trail at Matheson Hammock Park immerses you in a tropical forest
- Pinecrest Gardens - Established in the 1930s as a tropical tourist attraction, Parrot Jungle, this tropical forest in Pinecrest has deep roots, if you will, showcasing both native and exotic tropical species.
- The Barnacle Historic State Park - In 1891, Commodore Ralph Middleton Munroe built his cherished retreat, The Barnacle, in the dense jungle of the Miami Hammock. The Barnacle Historic State Park preserves that tiny sliver of history surrounded by urban Miami.
- The Deering Estate - The Deering Estate at Cutler, a Miami-Dade county park, preserves both the historic buildings and a remnant of the Addison Hammock, a pine rockland along the old road following Cutler Ridge.
- Vizcaya Museum & Gardens - The grandiose home of industrialist James Deering may be the star attraction, but the gardens of Vizcaya, set along Biscayne Bay, rival those of any formal estate.
- Miami Hikes? (2/4/2009) - Response to a reader question on trails within a half-hour of Aventura: My wife and I love to walk and hike. What trails would you recommend?