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Oleta River State Park

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Oleta River State Park

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Just a 30 minute short drive from downtown Miami leads to Oleta River State Park, a natural oasis covering more than 1000 acres, making it the biggest urban park in all the state.

Oleta River State Park is a fascinating natural sanctuary, moving along the river bearing he same. The winding river shaded by mangroves and the hiking paths around the area make the park a popular location for hikers, kayakers, anglers and as an ideal picnic destination.

Oleta River State Park Walking Path 1600

The park has a 14 mile network of paths and trails varying in length, terrain and difficulty. These trails lead cyclists and hikers to the most picturesque areas around the park. Some of the easier paved trails are often also used for inline skating or roller-blading. To explore the areas true beauty, its waters are an excellent place to start. Visitors can paddle-board, kayak or canoe around the winding mangroves along the Oleta River or visit the area surrounding Biscayne Bay. The park also serves as a respite for paddlers following the1,515 mile trail around Florida.
Visitors are invited to bring their own equipment or alternatively rent out kayaks, paddle-boards or bicycles from the Oleta River Outdoor Center concession, which is open from 9am to one hour before sunset. The shop also sells snacks and other beach gear. Visitors can launch the equipment from a series of kayak and paddle-board launch areas. Similarly the underwater world at the park can be explored through snorkeling around the area. The Sandy Beach and Biscayne Bay are perfect locations for a cool refreshing dip, however keep in mind that no life guards are on duty.

The Eatable River State Park is overflowing with flora and wildlife, coming together to create the most surreal of landscapes. The chirping of birds echoes through the park as wading birds including herons, eagles and hawks own the skies. The waters are home to a variety of fish, as well as amphibians and reptiles including frogs, snakes, turtles and hermit crabs roaming around the mangroves. Larger mammals like dolphins and manatees have also been spotted in the area surrounding the park. Bass and Cat Fish thrive in the waters making for a lovely catch, as a result the area is popular among anglers. Visitors can obtain a fishing license to fish along the pier and the shore, as long as they follow the guidelines of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation.

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The Oleta River State Park’s Butterfly garden is a charming garden covering 0.4 acres. The well kept garden gets its name from the large variety of butterflies that roam freely around the garden, especially as the first sun-rays hit the garden after rainfall. Educational tours are also offered on request. 

The park’s natural beauty and close proximity to Miami makes it an ideal relaxing picnic location, particularly the area overlooking Biscayne Bay. Picnic tables and grills can be located around the park, however these are only available on first-come first served basis so plan to go as early as possible. For larger groups it is worth considering one of the 11 picnic pavilions at the park, varying in size and in the number of guests they can cater for. The pavilions range from ones accommodating 12 guests at $58.85 per day to much larger pavilions seating up to 100 guests which can be rented out at $267.50 per day. The largest pavilion, named the White Ibis, is equipped with 25 tables, electricity, and water, and can be rented out for $346.75. The park and beach, along with the pavilions, have become a highly sought-after location for dream wedding celebrations and incredible photo opportunities for many brides and grooms. However, it is important to book ahead to reserve the location.

For families with young children the playground is a fun area to visit. Restrooms and shower stations are located around the park and marked on the park map. In efforts to reduce wastes and the use of unnecessary plastic, refillable water bottle stations have been installed around the park, so visitors can refill their bottles with potable water as they go along their trails, camping or picnics. There are 4 water stations in all, located close to restroom around the park.

Oleta River State Park Blue River 1600

Visitors to the park have a variety of camping options to choose from. The primitive group camping area is available for youth groups under the age of 18, with one adult required for every 10 youths. There are three primitive campsites that can accommodate up to 90 guests. While the campsites are equipped with restrooms, showers, and tables, there is no access to electricity.

For those seeking a bit more comfort, air-conditioned cabins are also available. There are 14 small cabins that offer a great resting spot. Most cabins are equipped with air-conditioning and can sleep four people, with one double bed and a bunk bed. One of the cabins is also accessible for wheelchair users. Please note that the cabins do not have access to kitchens or restrooms, so visitors will need to use the communal restrooms. The cabins can be rented for $55 per night, with reservations available for an additional fee of $6.70 through the Florida State Parks reservations website. Additionally, there is also a campground area available for organized groups.

The park aims to be accessible to people with most abilities. Wheelchair Accessibility has been ensured to the beach, especially through the provision of beach wheelchairs. The Boat launch, the fishing pier and part of the butterfly garden are also accessible, as are the grills, picnic areas, pavilions and restrooms. For overnight stay options, one of the cabins is also accessible.

Oleta River State Park River Entrance 1600

Admission to the park costs $6 per vehicle and tickets can be purchased online in advance. The park is open every day from 8am to sunset. However, during peak season and on weekends, the park may reach its maximum capacity, and management may have to close the park for the day. It is therefore highly recommended to visit early, especially due to limited parking and to utilize pavilions. Visitors can also check online and sign up for one of the sunset tours or full moon tours to explore the park’s beauty at night under the light of a full moon. Paddling tours can also be pre-booked. There are a number of parking locations located around the park, however they can fill up on busy days.

The Oleta River was a significant location as it once connected the Everglades with Biscayne Bay, attracting early Indian settlers in the early 1800s. Before it was even named Oleta in 1922, the river was utilized by troops during the second Seminole war in 1841. More Settlers began to explore the area in 1881, taking advantage of the river’s benefits and cultivating produce in the surrounding area. The Blue Martin Fish House Restaurant, an iconic smokehouse that had been closed since the 1980s, reopened in 2007 and is now a well-known landmark in the area.

Despite being so close to the city, Oleta River State Park is a remarkable destination that offers easy access. It’s the perfect place to spend a day out with family or friends, enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings. With so many activities available, it’s also a great option for an extended retreat. Hikers and kayakers alike are drawn to the area for its scenic beauty and abundant opportunities for exploration.

Oleta River State Park Photos

Check out Carefree Creative’s photos of Oleta River State Park

Oleta River State Park Address & Directions

Oleta River State Park, 3400 NE 163rd St, North Miami Beach, FL 33160

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