Similar to snorkeling in Miami, you can go kayaking almost anywhere because the city is surrounded by water. Grab a paddle and head out to sea; there are adventures to be had in the ocean, the bay, and even the Everglades. Pack plenty of sunscreen and water bottles (snacks, too!) and get ready to explore the city by water instead of by land. Don’t be surprised if you run into manatees, tropical fish, dolphins, and maybe even sharks!
Matheson Hammock Park
You might not think of Coral Gables as a place to go kayaking, but in actuality Matheson Hammock Park is perfect for when you want to spend a day on the water. Located on Old Cutler Road, Matheson Hammock provides kayakers with the opportunity to choose their own adventures. You can go on a little self-guided tour if you please. But you can also sign up for a two-hour kayak tour for $30 per person — it's a little over 2 miles long — called the Matheson Mangrove Kayak Trek. Bring the kiddos, if they’re 9 years old or older, and prepare to immerse yourself in a mangrove forest. Birdwatching is fruitful here; keep a lookout for brown pelicans, osprey, great blue herons and other wildlife.
Head to Crandon Park in Key Biscayne for all kinds of recreation including tennis, barbecuing, golf and, of course, kayaking. Rent a kayak or canoe at Crandon Marina and get ready to explore Biscayne Bay. Here, you’ll find more mangroves, seagrass beds, coastal hardwood hammocks and dunes. You also have the option to rent a kayak on Rickenbacker Causeway if you want to paddle toward the breathtaking Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. You can also try windsurfing and stand-up paddleboarding here.
Black Point Marina
If you’ve never been to Homestead’s Black Point Marina, it’s about time you take a trip there. Not only does this secluded area have nature trails and picnic pavilions, it also has a delicious restaurant. Live bands play music multiple times per week — the perfect excuse to dance and sip piña coladas. Hop on a kayak route at Black Point Marina and paddle through mangrove estuaries for a unique perspective on Miami. There’s a good chance you’ll spot some wildlife out here, too. Remember, it’s never a good idea to feed manatees or any other wild animals, so snap pics and wave from afar, but always respect your animal neighbors.
Get a taste of Sunny Isles with a kayak tour at Oleta River State Park. This 1,000-acre green space along Biscayne Bay has 15 miles of mountain biking trails, but it’s also great for kayaking amongst the mangrove estuaries. The coolest thing about Oleta is that the park offers sunset kayak tours every Friday as well as full moon kayak tours once a month. Paddle out to Biscayne Bay with glow sticks in hand or a lighted kayak for an hour-long ride on one of the most peaceful and serene parks. Pricing and details vary so be sure to check the Oleta River Outdoor Center website to reserve a spot on the tour of your choice.
Sunset Harbour is an ideal place to grab a kayak and take it out for a spin. With multiple great restaurants (Stiltsville, Pubbelly, Lucali and more), you can fuel up before or after kayaking. It is an arm and shoulder workout, after all. Paddle around the Venetian Islands with South Beach Kayak and check out the multi-million dollar mansions. You can also stop at Flagler Monument Island, which is only accessible by water, to take a swim before heading back to the mainland.
Biscayne National Park
Biscayne National Park is 95 percent water and you know what that means: more space for watersports and in-water activities. Kayaking here is like discovering a whole new world since the park covers 172,971 acres of land and even includes Elliott Key. There are mangroves galore to navigate through, as well as the Florida Reef, one of the world’s largest coral reefs. Kayaking in Biscayne National Park allows you to explore the mangrove swamp, coral limestone keys, the Florida Reef and the bay’s shallow waters — four distinct ecosystems. It’s also a really neat place to learn about soft corals, molluscs, crustaceans, manatees and other tropical vegetation (more than 200 species of fish, sea turtles, birds, whales and hard corals, along with 16 endangered species, are said to live here, too!). It doesn’t really get better than that, does it?
The Everglades are a must-visit part of town when in Miami, no matter how you decide to spend your time there. You can take an airboat ride or indulge in a meal of BBQ frog legs and gator (some people consider this a delicacy). You can also explore the Everglades’ freshwater marsh and mangrove forests along canoe and kayak trails, which are part of the Florida Bay’s 99 miles of incredible waterways, easily accessible by kayak no matter how experienced of a kayaker you are. Pack lots of sunblock and bug spray for this excursion; this area is known for its mosquitos and bugs, which live amongst the rest of the area’s wildlife, including snakes, alligators, and more.