MATHESON HAMMOCK PARK
Not much left to cover now. South of Key Biscayne, the water's edge becomes mangrove swamp virtually all the way down to Key West. There are a few notable oasis in between. One is...
Matheson Hammock Park
One of Miami's oldest parks, this verdant corner of Coral Gables was laid out in 1930 and other than an attractive entrance with lake and palm tress, is pretty much in its natural state, that is, impenetrable mangroves growing in muck. Don't underestimate this though, as most of the fish in the ocean breed in these brackish waters. We now realize the value of mangroves and they are protected worldwide. If you take my bike tour suggestion, you will cycle right through them on a wooded pathway. This dense area of mangrove trees, partially in the ocean, is called a hammock (hence, the name of the park). At the end of the road there is a yacht marina and surprisingly a man-made atoll pool, which is flushed naturally with the tidal action of nearby Biscayne Bay. Very popular with families. There is quite a spectacular view of the distant Miami skyline. Paradoxically within a coral rock edifice beside the lagoon is one of Miami's better seafood restaurants, Red Fish Grill.
Here is a map of the area.
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Entrance fee US$ 5.00 per car. Walk or bike-ins at no charge.
From the north: Take U.S.1 south and turn left on LeJeune Rd. (SW 42nd Ave.). When you come to the traffic circle, continue in the same direction (note the road is now called Old Cutler Rd). Go past Kendall Dr.(SW 88th St.), and at the next light turn left into the park (large sign on right side of road). Fairchild Tropical Garden is just south of the park, so if you see the Garden you've gone too far.
From the south: Take U.S.1 north to Kendall Dr.(SW 88th St.) and turn right. Take Kendall Dr. east to Red Rd.(SW 57th Ave.)and turn left. Take an immediate right onto Kendall Dr. and continue east to Old Cutler Rd. and turn right. Turn left into the park at the next light (you'll see the large sign for the park on the right).