In most of the country, fall may mean orange leaves, bonfires and a crisp morning chill. Miami has its own version of fall, and its arrival is subtle. For us, fall is when we start thinking about turning off the air conditioning and opening the windows. No longer is it extremely hot. It's just warm.
For outdoor fitness buffs, fall is when you can start moving your workout outside. Miami has many beautiful places for outdoor fitness, whether your sport is walking, running, yoga, bicycling, inline skating, kayaking, paddle boarding or playing competitive sports, such as soccer and volleyball.
The first place to start your outdoor exercise, of course, is the beach. Nearly all of South Florida's beaches are public, and you can run and walk for miles. Most of the time, the Atlantic Ocean is calm enough for swimming, but there are lifeguards only at public beaches.
You can play beach volleyball at Eighth Street and Ocean Drive in South Beach, or find a Meetup group to play at another location. By donation yoga classes are offered every day from November through March at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the south end of Miami Beach. Classes are 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. the rest of the year.
A number of entities operate public parks in Miami-Dade County, including:
- Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department
- Miami Beach Parks and Recreation Department
- City of Miami Parks and Recreation Department
- Coral Gables Parks and Recreation Department
- U.S. National Park Service
- Florida State Parks
Some of Miami-Dade's smaller cities also have parks. The larger departments not only operate passive parks, but organize all sorts of sports and recreation programs for both adults and children. Environments range from waterways to beaches to fields to mangrove forests. Some parks have outdoor exercise equipment.
If you're looking to exercise with a group or play a sport, Meetup.com offers numerous outdoor fitness activities in the Miami area, from bike rides to dance classes. Adult soccer is very popular.
Here are some of Miami's favorite outdoor activities in fall and winter:
If bicycling is your love, fall is the time to do it. Urban cycling can be hazardous in Miami-Dade traffic, but people do it frequently. The favorite urban cycling event is Miami Critical Mass, which is usually held the last Friday of the month in different South Florida urban centers. The Miami Bike Scene has the schedule for other bicycling events, including group rides.
If you like a calmer, closer-to-nature bicycling experience, visit one of Miami-Dade's bike trails. One of Miami's favorite riding spots, Shark Valley in the Everglades, is temporarily closed while the park cleans up after Hurricane Irma but the 15-mile loop (round-trip) is likely to reopen this winter. Several other bike trails in the Everglades are open.
Yoga and Fitness Classes
Free outdoor yoga, or yoga by donation, is popular in Miami. Being in a beautiful outdoor setting adds to the calm vibe of the experience. Classes come and go, but some of the longest-running free yoga classes are in South Beach, by the Third Street lifeguard station, every morning and evening. On the other side of the causeway, you can find free outdoor yoga every Monday through Friday evening at Miami's Bayfront Park, which also has a class on Saturday morning. Nearby, Museum Park offers yoga classes Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings and Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The City of Miami and Miami-Dade County offer a variety of free outdoor fitness classes in county parks. Schedules vary. If you're looking for something very Miami (well, really, it's Brazilian), try the capoeira – a form of martial arts — class at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays in Bayfront Park.
Kayaking is a great workout for the arms, plus it gives you a whole new view of Miami's nature areas. You can rent kayaks and explore waterways in Miami Beach, at Oleta State Park in North Miami Beach, at Matheson Hammock in Coral Gables, in Key Biscayne, Homestead and in the Everglades. If you have your own kayak, you also can go into many suburban canals and lakes.
Fall and winter are the best times for running in Miami. You can run alone in your neighborhood, on one of the many park trails or on the beach. Or you can join a group and participate in community runs. Baptist Health sponsors a number of running clubs towards the south end of the county, but you can find clubs all over. Miami’s Run Club Network is a good source for running options.
The easiest and most popular outdoor activity is walking, and fall is the time to get started. You can walk around your neighborhood and get to know your neighbors. Many neighborhood parks have walking trails, and Miami Beach has an elevated boardwalk along the beach. Or, walk on the beach.