Oleta River State Park: Florida's largest Urban Park - Right Next Door

September 10, 2022

When you enter through the gates of Oleta River State Park in North Miami Beach, a feeling of tranquility will wash over you as you emerge into a quiet world of tangled, tidal mangroves inside this protected river estuary. At just over a thousand acres, this natural oasis — Florida’s Largest Urban Park — is a haven for mountain bikers, paddlers, anglers and swimmers. Enjoy a picnic along scenic Biscayne Bay or unwind at the end of a fishing pole. The lush greenery is set against Biscayne Bay, ideal for kayaking, biking, hiking, swimming and camping. Originally known as the Big Snake River, the area was once a settlement of Tequesta Indians.

To experience what makes Miami’s environment so unique, opt for a kayaking adventure. Oleta offers kayak, canoe and standup paddleboard rentals – perfect vessels for exploring the flat, calm waters of the river estuary. Lined with mangrove trees, this ecosystem is an essential nesting and feeding habitat for most species of Florida’s juvenile fish and birds. Keep your eyes peeled for tiny Black Crabs scurrying along the Mangrove Roots; Wading Birds like: Herons, Egrets or Ibis; Mangrove Snapper, Manatees and other Marine Life.

Whether enjoying the 15 miles of off-road bicycling trails or paddling along lush Mangrove Forests, visitors find it difficult to believe that Oleta River State Park exists 30 minutes from Downtown Miami and right next door to Aventura. With a wide variety of both paved and dirt trails, there are even a few courses designed for dirt bike-style riding with jumps for tricks. Bring your own bike or rent one from the onsite vendor, which offers everything from mountain bikes to cruisers and kids bikes for all levels.

With three miles of nature trails, Oleta is an ideal park for a leisurely hike amid Mangroves, Gumbo Limbo Trees and colorful Wildflowers. You’ll wind your way along the water toward the beach with beautiful views of Biscayne Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway. Be on the lookout for Native Butterflies and Migratory Birds. This is also a prime area to spot Manatees and Dolphins. The sandy bayfront beach with sparkling, crystal clear water is perfect for taking a dip on a hot day. You’ll find a small fishing pier on the south side of the beach where you can cast a line and reel in Snook, Snapper, Mullet or even a Barracuda. Just be sure to bring your own fishing supplies.

For a truly outward bound experience, Oleta River State Park is home to 14 rustic, air-conditioned cabins, as well as a primitive youth campground. While the cabins don’t have bathrooms, there is a central restroom with heated water showers on the grounds. Cabins can be reserved online up to 11 months in advance.

Visitors are required to wear masks and maintain six feet of social distance while visiting the park, in accordance with COVID-19 Safety Measures. Before your visit, it’s a good idea to check the website and double check that all of the activities are open and available, as weather conditions and other factors sometimes impact operations.

Hours: 8:00 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year
Location: 3400 Northeast 163rd Street, North Miami Beach, Florida 33160.
Information: (305) 919-1846
Website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/OletaRiver

Whether you spend the night or just an afternoon, Oleta River State Park is an outdoor oasis that feels miles away from the city without the need to leave town.