Set along the Biscayne Bay waterfront with a view of urban Miami glimmering in the distance, Matheson Hammock Park is a popular getaway for watersports.
But its wild side will tempt hikers best, with a tropical forest, a piece of the ancient Miami Hammock, to explore along its nature trails.
Resources for exploring the area
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Location: Coral Gables
Trailhead: 25.682117, -80.271600
Address: 9610 Old Cutler Rd, Miami
Fees: $5 weekday/$7 weekend parking fee
Restroom: Provided in several locations
Land manager: Miami-Dade County
Matheson Hammock Park is open sunrise to sunset. Leashed dogs welcome.
Please honor signage and construction-related closures as the trails and trailhead are under renovation (Jan 2022). Given the tropical forest canopy, it gets dark along its trails earlier than sunset.
From US 1 in Dadeland, north of Coral Gables, take SW 88th St (Kendall Rd) 2.2 miles east to Old Cutler Rd. Turn south. Matheson Hammock Park is on the left, immediately north of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
About the Park
Found at Matheson Hammock Park, Florida’s only atoll may be man-made, but the coral rock is native and genuine.
The flush of sea water through it with the tides makes for a gentle, clean pool in which to swim.
Set along Biscayne Bay, the beach has a nice sweep of sand good for sunbathing and wading into the shallows.
The county marina is the home of Castle Harbor Sailing School, and there is a restaurant, the Red Fish Grill, on the beach.
The shaded part of Matheson Hammock Park feels like a jungle, and it adjoins popular Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
The East Hammock Trail trail slips away from the historic coral rock picnic pavilions to Old Cutler Road through the tropical hammock.
On the opposite side of the road is the West Hammock Trail, is dense with tropical trees and rugged limestone oolite rock, full of holes.
See our photos of Matheson Hammock Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
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.
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.
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.