Oleta River State Park is a hidden Miami gem that Nate and I found early last year, tucked away off of Biscayne Blvd (US 1). Who knew such a gorgeous park where people are kayaking and canoeing down the river could be hiding on the other side of a busy city boulevard? So happy we found this place and even happier that it’s a less than 20 minute drive from my apartment and campus.
When Nate and I first visited the park during the semester with our friends Aiden and Audrey, we somehow missed the memo that kayaks and canoes were available to rent there. To be honest, we really didn’t know what to expect from this park at first… especially since it’s literally less than a mile off of Biscayne.
Nate and Aiden both have always had a thing for reptiles—finding them, catching them, etc—so Audrey and I (being the supportive girlfriends that we are) are always down to tag along on new adventures and finding new places (to search for wildlife).
This has been the best one so far, hands down.
Although we came unprepared for our first visit, luckily the park has more to offer than just kayaking. The views, the trails, the water, the parties, and a private beach… are what make Oleta so great. The park has a few short (very walkable and maintained) trails leading to several picnic areas where there are almost always parties/cookouts going on.
Plus, there’s a cute little private beach you can go to, which is awesome! You can access it from the trails, or kayaking around to it.
So, even if you’re not a big kayak or canoe person… no worries. It’s still a nice park to take a stroll through, find an empty table for a relaxing lunch next to the water and take in parts of the Miami skyline.
So, I have a confession to make:
I have this annoyingly dramatic fear of being out in the open water without being able to see what’s under me (especially in Florida because… well, gators, crocodiles, freakishly large fish, etc). If I’m in a decent sized boat, I’m totally fine. A canoe… pushing it. A kayak!? Yikes.
But, praise the Lord there were NO (and still haven’t been) sitings of any of those things… so, if you visit here with a similar fear, you should be fine.
Kidding! You will be fine. It’ll be great. Going through certain areas of the water (mangroves and a short tunnel) may seem a little sketchy, but I’ve never heard of anything bad happening or scary monster sightings. I’ve been kayaking there four or five times now, and each time my fear is beginning to fade away—slowly, but surely.
Once you make your way through the mangroves, and out into the bay you’ll find the beach and the open water with a pretty view on the other side. If you’re out on a Saturday or Sunday early-mid afternoon, the water will likely be a little choppy due to people out on their boats… just an FYI.
So, again, I suggest going early to beat the crowd.
But, you’ll still have fun either way!
Oleta River State Park, you’re pretty great! I think I’ll be back 😉