South Florida has incredible natural beauty and endless recreational opportunities for the lover of the outdoors. The area is surrounded by the white sand beaches of South Beach, the state parks of Key Biscayne, and the lush landscape of the Florida Keys. With warm weather all year round, there are opportunities to enjoy golf courses, public parks, biking paths, running, and walking. For the swimmers and beach-goers, the ocean is minutes away with temperatures that rarely dip below 75 degrees.
Librarians and staff love to stay outdoors when they are off the clock!
With the blue waters of the Biscayne Bay as your backdrop, this park features a huge variety of outdoor activities. You can take yoga classes at the Tina Hills Pavilion, try a flying trapeze classes at the Flying Trapeze School, test out the aquatic-themed playground with your kids, or you can just people-watch with excellent views of the Biscayne Bay. Occasionally, there are also live music performances at the Klipsch Amphitheater.
There are no shortages of beach options here. Everyone has their favorites from Fort Lauderdale down to the Keys, but Miami Beach beaches tend to be a popular option. You can ditch your car and take the open air water taxi to Miami Beach from downtown Miami. You will be dropped off in one of Florida’s largest marinas where you can take a short walk to the beach. You might get tempted to stop at one of the many outdoor dining options on the way.
The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is very popular with librarians and staff, very close to campus, and a wonderful place to spend a few hours. The garden gives you an education in the locally documented botanical specimens, an eyeful of beautiful horticultural displays, as well as a taste of the classic landscape design by William Lyman Phillips. There are also annual plant sales where you can pick up that rare palm tree you have always coveted.
Fitness is an obsession for South Florida locals. From South Beach to the suburbs of Kendall, everyone’s trying to stay in shape. There are running, cycling, kayaking, and yoga clubs throughout the area which meet all year round outdoors.
The Everglades is another great place to explore during the winter, with activities like hiking, camping, kayaking, biking, birding, and of course looking for alligators.
There are so many great parks and natural areas of the Keys to explore. At Dry Tortugas National Park, you can explore the area on the park’s ferry or use our own boat. Fish for the day, go snorkeling, or maybe even explore the pentagon-shaped Fort Jefferson. At John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the adjacent Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, you have 178 nautical square miles of coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove swamps. People love to explore the coral reef, go scuba diving, or tour the area by glass-bottom boats.
The Venetian pool is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been open since 1924. It was built from an old coral rock quarry. Inspired by the Venetian Lagoon in Venice, Italy, the pool has Venetian style-bridge and classic mooring posts. People love the waterfalls, the coral rock caves, and general atmosphere of a truly unique South Florida spot. They also have swimming camps and lessons for children.
If you want a more urban outdoor experience, librarians and staff always go to the Wynwood Walls, a collection of murals and paintings free to the public. The open public art is colorful, inspiring, and a bit surprising in its range of subjects.
In downtown Miami, the Miami Center for Architecture & Design offers a two-hour walking tour of downtown Miami’s best historic buildings. Also, in Miami Beach, the Miami Design Preservation League regularly offers 90-minute walking tour of the Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival, and Mimi Modern (MiMo) architectural styles.