Matheson Hammock is a Miami-Dade County park south of Coral Gables. This is another one of those parks that I found by looking on a map and driving to see what the green blob was. There is a $5/car fee, then once you drive in you can go toward the marina or follow the road to toward the lagoon at the end.
I went here on a weekday do it was nearly dead. I hear it can get somewhat busy in weekends, and understandably so. The lagoon is man-made but very cool. The water comes in naturally from the tide coming in from Biscayne Bay on the other side of the barrier. The entire area is very calm and the water looked like glass. It was actually probably the smoothest and flattest water I’ve ever seen. It’s the kind of shit that makes you think you can pull a JC and walk right over it. There’s a restaurant with an outdoor patio that looks like it could be nice at night but they were closed when I was there.
Miami-Dade Eco-adventures operates a mobile stand for renting paddle boards, kayaks, and kite boards that is set up right in the parking lot. I would go back and paddleboard here. You have the hammock, mangroves, and beach at the park and a view looking across the bay at the full Miami skyline. I’m told there was a shark barrier built out in the water years ago, so that’s why the water is so flat.
Following the road a bit further you come to a dead end hammock area and trails. There were so many birds strolling around the trail, it was very cute. I walked along the trail for awhile and saw different twisted groups of trees and some snakes. The hammock is bordered by the water, so you can go through the mangroves to the edge along the rocks. This section had a somewhat sulfuric smell to it so I wouldn’t want to hang out there all day, but it’s worth checking out. As I stood amidst the mud and muck at the edge of the mangroves, I watched the water come with the slow and steady tide and marveled at how it looked like straight up mercury: thick and metallic as it glistened in the sunlight. I’m not being facetious.