It’s called the Sunshine State for a reason. Those visiting the Miami area before boarding a ship for a cruise vacation are ready to enjoy some fun in the sun. However, those who like to stay active and healthy may be worried about all the unlimited food and drink that comes with a cruise. Thankfully, there are ways to enjoy the Miami sunshine that involve breaking a sweat as well. Those staying at popular art deco Miami Beach hotels like the Hampton Inn Miami South Beach – 17th Street aren’t far from most of the city’s attractions. Here are some of our favorite ways to catch a tan and get some exercise while you explore this tropical paradise.
Paddle Boarding in Oleta River State Park
Florida isn’t known for being a great surfing destination, but the people here make due riding a slightly different kind of board. Thanks to the warm, shallow waters of the intracoastal waterway and Biscayne Bay, Miami is a fantastic place to go paddle boarding. For those unfamiliar, imagine a big surfboard that you stand upright on while using a long paddle to move through the water. Paddling all day is a serious workout for your arms, shoulders and back and with plenty of unique spots all over Miami-Dade County, there’s more than enough to explore.
Our favorite paddle board spot? Oleta State Park in North Miami Beach. The park is less than two miles from popular North Miami Beach hotels like the DoubleTree Resort & Spa by Hilton Hotel Ocean Point and offers an exciting system of waterways on which to paddle. Explore the serene mangrove channels which seem a world away from the bustling downtown of Miami Beach. Those who are new to paddle boarding will enjoy the calm waters or switch out that paddle board for a kayak and relax in the sunshine. If you’re lucky, wildlife like egrets, herons, hermit crabs and even manatees may appear!
Go Biking on Virginia Key
South Florida is dotted with little islands known as “keys”. You’ve probably heard of the most famous one, Key West, but there are a number of them each with unique features and activities to enjoy. If you don’t want to make the lengthy trip down to Key West, Virginia Key is just south of Miami Beach and offers some of the best bike trails in the area.
The Virginia Key Outdoor Center makes it easy to rent bikes and explore the island’s miles of trail on your own or with a knowledgeable guide. Bike in the morning then hit the water in the afternoon in a kayak or paddle board, Virginia Key offers it all. A commitment to keeping the area pristine means guests are immersed in the local wildlife to better understand how people can help the environment continue to flourish. Spot manatees in a clear-bottom kayak during the winter as they float in the lagoon or come in the summer and experience bioluminescent organisms lighting up the water in the evenings. It’s amazing how close Virginia Key is to downtown Miami while still feeling miles and miles away from civilization.
Yoga at Bayfront Park or 3rd Street Beach
If you’re one of those people who loves the ocean, Miami has plenty of ways to enjoy it while still getting active before you head out on that cruise vacation you’ve been looking forward to for months. Yoga is a popular pastime here in Miami and there are several places which offer free beach or ocean view yoga sessions both in the mornings and evenings.
If you’re staying at one of the many Hilton hotels in and around Miami Beach, hop out of bed before sunrise and head over to 3rd Street for a free yoga session on the beach with certified instructors each and every morning. Meet by the lifeguard tower and bring a beach towel to watch the sunrise and work on your inner zen. People of all ability levels are encouraged to attend.
Those staying at a hotel in downtown Miami, Bayfront Park is another spot where yoga lovers can enjoy morning or evening sessions. With the gorgeous Biscayne Bay in the background, it’s a wonderful spot to unwind before you head out on your cruise vacation. While the classes are free and open to the public, donations are accepted and appreciated!
Get Closer to Nature in Everglades National Park
If paddle boarding, biking or yoga in the Miami sunshine won’t make you sweat, might we suggest standing mere feet from a hungry alligator in Everglades National Park? The Everglades are one of Florida’s most important natural resources and are home to a number of plant and animal species not found elsewhere in the state. Visitors to Everglades National Park have their choice of how to explore the area, whether it be on a bike, a hiking trail or perched in the seat of a fan boat as it rips through the tall grass and shallow waterways. A guide can point out species of birds, snakes or even gators, from a safe distance, of course.
Everglades National Park has spots for camping, fishing, birdwatching and more. How deep into the wild you explore is up to you! Programs for kids are fun and educational and kids can earn the title of Junior Park Ranger.
Anyone who’s visited Miami can tell you that breaking a sweat isn’t hard, but there are fun ways to make it happen. If you’re booked on a cruise out of this South Florida port, make sure you fly in at least a day early to take advantage of all the different ways to enjoy the outdoors.