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Blog Destination Guide South Florida

Kayaking in Miami: Discover Oleta River State Park’s 1,000-acre Tropical Paradise

Located on the shores of Biscayne Bay in North Miami, Florida, you can paddle through mangrove forests and into the bay’s open waters in Oleta River State Park, a hidden paradise with trails and a lagoon suitable for the whole family to enjoy. The 1,000-acre verdant sanctuary provides unparalleled paddling experiences away from the city buzz, located just a short drive from downtown Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Hollywood.

The calm waters of the Oleta River serve as the perfect setting to launch your kayak into the natural yet vibrant ecosystem that sustains a variety of flora and fauna. Mangrove tunnels form overhead creating a spectacular canopy, and the twists and turns in the river bring out hidden coves and very private beaches. Look for various species of birds including the great blue heron and roseate spoonbill and be on the lookout for manatees and a variety of marine life found in this river.

Kayaking on Oleta river

Top Kayaking Spots

Oleta River State Park has some of the greatest and most popular kayaking spots in Miami as well as routes available to paddlers of all levels. Oleta River and Mangrove Trails are a serene, scenic float through mangrove-lined creeks and tunnels. If you’re new to kayaking or paddleboarding, the serene waters of the Oleta River and the nearby lagoon are perfect for you. Oleta River State Park offers an excellent starting point, providing a safe space to practice and build confidence. It’s a gentle introduction to the sport in a controlled environment, making it an ideal destination for beginners.

Advanced kayaking enthusiasts should head to the open waters of Biscayne Bay, or you can attempt to paddle out to the Sandpur Island beach area. Seek solace along a mangrove-entangled creek that winds past the Florida International University-Biscayne Bay Campus, ducking under limbs and branches fallen during the storm.

Oleta River to Biscayne Bay kayak trails

Historical Routes

There is also a popular lagoon area near the launch site for a more sheltered paddle experience where you will find moored boats and paddleboarders. They will also be taken to one of the beautiful beaches of the park where they can use the provided kayaks to kayak their way through the Oleta River to find remnants of Miami’s older past. The land within the park was once owned by the Seminole Native Americans and you can still see signs of the settlements on the banks of the river. The park also contains the remnants of a homestead from the mid-19th century, representing the area’s early settlers.

When to Visit

The park is especially popular for kayaking because incoming tides tend to clear up the water, but the strength of the tides varies. If, however, you visit on a weekend or holiday when the weather is good -especially in winter (December through February)- the park and launch area can be packed. If you prefer to kayak in warm water and have fewer people, weekdays in the summer or winter will be best. Ideal weather for the migration is between 20.0°C and 25.0°C with the prevailing winds from the east, and the “feels like” temperature below 28.0°C. Do NOT go out during extreme cloud cover, heavy rain, or low visibility.

Oleta River State Park Directions and Accessibility:

Oleta River State Park is conveniently located at 3400 NE 163rd Street, North Miami Beach, FL 33160. From Interstate 95, take the Miami Gardens Drive exit (NE 186th Street) and head east. The park entrance will be on your left-hand side. Ample parking is available on-site, making it easily accessible for visitors.

Oleta River State park kayak rentals

Guided Tours and Rentals

If you want to elevate your experience, sign up for an Event + Guided Tour on our website. Our expert guides will not just guide you through the most scenic parts of the park, but will also give you a brief into the history and wildlife of the area. No kayak or paddleboard of your own, no problem, To get started on your journey to Oleta River State Park, simply visit our rental page and rent all the equipment and gear you need.

Click the links below to learn more about Florida kayak rentals, guided tours, and launch sites

Oleta River State Park is an exceptional kayaking destination for anyone who loves the outdoors, natural beauty, and a wide range of amenities paddler’s dream. Plan Your Visit this month and Prepare to Be Swept Away. Be sure to make arrangements to visit now!

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