Miami doesn't lack for ways to keep yourself busy. From sailing the teal waters to hiking through tropical undergrowth, yoga in the parks and (why not?) trapeze artistry above the city's head, the Magic City rewards those who want an active holiday.
The Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation Department maintains a list of traffic-free cycling paths as well as downloadable maps on its website (www.miamidade.gov/parksmasterplan/bike-trails-map.asp). For less strenuous rides, try the side roads of South Beach or the shady streets of Coral Gables and Coconut Grove. Some good trails include the Old Cutler Bike Path, which starts at the end of Sunset Dr in Coral Gables and leads through Coconut Grove to Matheson Hammock Park and Fairchild Tropical Garden. The Rickenbacker Causeway takes you up and over the bridge to Key Biscayne for an excellent workout combined with gorgeous water views. A bit farther out, the Oleta River State Park has a challenging dirt trail with hills for off-road adventures.
As you may have guessed, Miami offers plenty of places to get pampered. Some of the most luxurious spas in town are found at high-end hotels, where you can expect to pay $300 to $400 for a massage and/or acupressure, and $200 for a body wrap.
Diving & Snorkeling
Head to the Keys or Biscayne National Park, in the southeastern corner of Dade county. If you don't have a car, dive operators in town lead organized day trips, taking you to colorful coral reefs like the John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo.
Drop a line at South Pointe Park, Rickenbacker Causeway or Key Biscayne Beach. Fishing charters are commonplace but expensive; expect to pay at least $1000 for a day of sport fishing.
At high-end resorts expect to pay between $150 and $350 to tee off, depending on the season and time of day (it’s more expensive in winter and daylight hours).
Kayaking, Paddleboarding & Windsurfing
Running is quite popular, and the beach is very good for jogging, as it’s flat, wide and hard-packed (apparently with amazingly good-looking runners). A great resource for races, and special events is the Miami Road Runners Club (www.facebook.com/miamiroadrunnersclub).
Some good places for a run include the Flamingo Park track, located east of Alton Rd between 11th St and 12th St, for serious runners; Promenade in South Beach for its style; the boardwalk on Mid-Beach for great people-watching and scenery; and South Bayshore Dr in Coconut Grove for its shady banyan trees.
Serious crowds have turned promenades into obstacle courses for anyone crazy enough to strap on some blades or get on a board. Leave the crowded strips to experts and try the ocean side of Ocean Dr, or Lincoln Rd before the shoppers descend.
Miami is not a good place for surfing. The Bahamas block swells, making the water very calm; many will tell you it’s best to head about 100 miles north to Jupiter or Palm Beach to catch decent waves (not big waves, just surf consistent enough to hold a board upright). Plus, Miami surfers have worse reputations than Miami drivers when it comes to aggressive, territorial behavior. If you want to ride waves here, the best surfing is just north of South Pointe Park, where you can sometimes find 2ft to 5ft waves and a nice, sandy bottom. Unfortunately it’s usually closer to 2ft than 5ft, it can get a little mushy (so longboards are the way to go), and it’s swamped with weekend swimmers and surfers. Conditions are better further north, near Haulover Beach Park or anywhere north of 70th St, like Sunny Isles Beach. Check in with Island Water Sports for gear, SoBe Surf for lessons (private instructors will meet with you somewhere on the beach) and www.dadecosurf.com for general information.
The beach is definitely not the only place to salute the sun in Miami. There are lovely Yoga by the Sea lessons offered at the Barnacle Historic State Park in Coconut Grove. If you don’t feel like breaking out your wallet, try the free yoga classes at Bayfront Park, held outdoors at Tina Hills Pavilion, at the south end of the park, three times a week.
Studios offer a large range of classes; bring your own mat (though some places hire out mats as well for around $2 a class).
Local Knowledge: Miami Critical Mass
If you're in Miami at the beginning of the weekend late in any given month, you may spot hordes of cyclists and, less frequently, some skateboarders, roller-skaters and other self-propelled individuals. So what's it all about?
It's Miami Critical Mass. The event, put on by the Miami Bike Scene (www.themiamibikescene.com) is meant to raise awareness of cycling and indirectly advocate for increased bicycle infrastructure in the city. Anyone is welcome to join; the mass ride gathers at Government Center by HistoryMiami at 6:30pm on the last Friday of each month.
The whole shebang departs on the 12-to-18-mile trek at 7:15pm. The average speed of the ride is a not-too-taxing 12mph, and you will be expected to keep up (at the same time, you're not to go faster than the pace setters). All in all, it's a fun experience, and a good way to meet members of the local cycling community.
Need to Know
- Miami Parks (www.miamidade.gov/parks) Details of parks around the city, with info on swimming pools, aquatic activities (like kayaking), nature tours and more.
- MeetUp (www.meetup.com) Sign up and join locals and other out-of-towners over sporting events, beach-going, kayaking, and other events.
- Miami (www.miamiandbeaches.com/things-to-do/sports) Lists upcoming sporting events, and has info on Miami's best running routes.
With so many teams (pro, college) and special tournaments happening in Miami, there's rarely a sports-free day in this city. Some teams offer tickets directly on their website, but most sell tickets via Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com) or Stubhub (www.stubhub.com).