OLETA RIVER STATE PARK
Florida's largest urban park, Oleta River is located on Biscayne Bay in the busy Miami metropolitan area. Although it offers a variety of recreational opportunities, the park is best known for miles of off-road bicycling trails, ranging from novice trails to challenging trails for experienced bicyclists. Along the Oleta River, at the north end of the park, a large stand of beautiful mangrove forest preserves native South Florida plants and wildlife. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle the river to explore this amazing natural area. Swimming from a 1,200-foot sandy beach and saltwater fishing are also popular activities. Picnic tables and grills are available. Nine pavilions can be rented for a fee. All have water, and the largest one has electricity. Visitors can rent kayaks, canoes, and bicycles. The park has a loaner system for bicycle helmets. For overnight visits, the park has rustic, air-conditioned cabins and a youth campground for organized groups. Located at 3400 NE 163rd Street, off I-95 in North Miami.
The beauty of the river has drawn man to its banks for centuries. As early as 500 BC, the river was home to the Tequesta Indians who camped along the river?s shore. The estuary provided them with a rich and varied diet. When Spaniards first visited the area they encountered bear, deer, panthers, bobcats, wolves, alligators, manatees and numerous birds and small animals.
In 1841, the river was named Big Snake Creek and was part of the route used by Federal troops in the Second Seminole War to travel south from Loxahatchee.
In 1891, Captain William Hawkins Fulford explored the river and settled further inland in the area known today as North Miami Beach.
Once "discovered", other settlers ventured north from Miami and by the 1890s, pineapple and vegetable farms had sprung up along the river in the newly formed town of Ojus. The river linked the Everglades with Biscayne Bay. An Indian trading post was established at what is now Greynolds Park. In 1922, Big Snake Creek was renamed the Oleta River by developers.
The Blue Moon Outdoor Center is open from 9AM until 1-1/2 hours before sunset. The concession rents canoes, kayaks and bicycles. Snack items are also available.
The park has 14 primitive cabins that are available to rent. Most of the cabins are equipped with one double bed, a bunk bed and air conditioning. Cabin #1 is handicapped accessible. Cabin #2 has one double bed only. Cabin #3 has 2 sets of bunk beds. While there are no kitchens or bathrooms in the cabins, a bathhouse, with hot showers, is centrally located. Linens are not provided. For availability and reservations, please contact ReserveAmerica at www.ReserveAmerica.com or 1-800-326-3521.
The fishing pier is always a popular site for fishing as well as the shores of the park along the Intracoastal Waterway that borders the east shores of the park.