From my searches and being on the lookout for things in Miami to explore I had seen Matheson Hammock Park on a map and driven by it a few times. Being on the Bay and a hammock park with a boat launch I figured it’d be a cool place to check out. As I did a little more research and learned it has a calm atoll (a lagoon encircled by coral) for swimming it seemed like a great place to take my little brother (from Big Brothers Big Sisters). The time I planned to take him there was one of the weekends in February it was really cold (like the 60s!) so instead we went to the science museum (see link to blog post here). But the other weekend it was looking to be beautiful and we finally made it out there.
On our way south we stopped at Publix and picked up some “picnic” supplies- ribs for him, rice and beans for me, and potato wedges (we call them JoJos in Oregon!) to share, plus some water. It’s a $6 entrance fee ($5 during the week) and there are a number different turnoffs after you enter, but the first ones all go to a boat ramp, the marina, and a small shoreline (more on that later). We followed the main road and arrived at the atoll, which also has a cafe and a kite-boarding set-up.
We first ate our food at one of the picnic tables and then settled with our towels on a spot along the atoll, which is basically a shallow and almost entirely calm watering hole. The water was a bit chilly but we got used to it after just diving in. Most of the time it didn’t go above my waist and you had to get almost out into the middle to be much higher. There were a lot of families around and it’s the perfect place for kids since the water is very calm and not too deep at all.
After swimming around for a bit we walked around the park. There’s a pathway along the water and you can see all the boats going by (including a few with some very loud speakers and bass that my little brother thought was really funny). We then walked away from the atoll down a path past the marina and through the hammocks. We then crossed the bridge to the boat ramp and watched trucks back boats into the water for awhile. Past the boat dock the road continues through the park and ends in a small grassy circle along the water. There were people picnicking there and hanging out by the water. My little brother and I spent some time skipping rocks and then walked back to the atoll and hung out by the water for a bit.
Matheson Hammock Park has a lot to offer from walking trails, swimming in the atoll, kite surfing, a marina, and a boat ramp, plus great views of the bay and downtown Miami off in the distance. In addition there’s the Red Fish Grill in a beautiful old coral building off the atoll with a lot of seafood. If you’re looking for a place to swim near Coral Gables and Pinecrest (especially looking for someplace with calm water), go boating, or windsurfing check out Matheson Hammock Park!
Matheson Hammock Park-9610 Old Cutler Road Miami, FL