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Paddle Oleta River State Park, Miami, kayak, canoe, FloridaPaddle Oleta River State Park, Miami, kayak, canoe, Florida

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Trip report: December 2017

Oleta River State Park... A Diamond in the Rough

Located on upper Biscayne Bay, in the middle of the busy Miami metropolitan area, Oleta River State Park is an amazing getaway, offering a variety of outdoor recreational activities. The park is well known for its miles of off-road bicycling trails. For kayakers, canoeists, and paddle boarders, this is truly a diamond in the rough. It offers pristine, mostly clear water padding opportunities, away from the wind and busy boat traffic of the open bay. (Detailed map and photos below.)



View Larger Map
Distance: Various
Location: Miami-Dade County
Difficulty:
Easy to moderate
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: Oleta River State Park (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: Oleta River State Park (link, above right)
Nearby points of interest: Miami, Miami Beach

Here paddlers will find a 1,200 foot white sand beach (nice stop, pullout to left), a short fishing pier, and canals through mangrove preserve, containing increasingly rare native South Florida plants and wildlife. Visitors can rent boards, canoes, and kayaks (sit-on-tops, our choice) from the park concessionaire, BG Oleta River. Ask for Faye and get advice from a real kayaker.

Tip 1… prevailing winds are normally from the east. Paddlers can ‘play’ the wind by using the canal to the immediate left when leaving the launch. Then when exiting the canal at the tip of the Park, the wind is at your back on return (passing pier and beach). This path can be reversed based on wind direction.

Tip 2… Water clarity is usually best during incoming tides, as the Park is situated across from Haulover Inlet.

Paddling at Oleta River State Park
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
Launch and Concession
BF Oleta River Outdoor Center has kayak/canoe/paddleboard rentals and tours; also bicycle rentals, picnic area and a store
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BG Oleta River Outdoor Center and store Kayak, canoe, paddleboard rentals Launch area
From Launch, through Canal to Bay
From the launch, go left into the canal (see Tip 1 above). Along the way, paddle through two culverts under park roads and past several picnic areas before exiting onto the bay.
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Launch area Leaving the launch into cove On the canal Culvert under a park road
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Continuing on the canal Picnic table Another culvert Continuing on the canal Approaching the bay
Bay, lagoon, beach, launch/pullout
The canal exits onto Biscayne Bay. Some paddle to Sandpur Island and its beach area from here - recommended for experienced paddlers - but we did not on this trip. Rather, we paddled to the beach and a lagoon with many boats, jet skis, kayaks and paddleboards.
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Onto the bay, looking toward Sandspur Island Toward beach Fishing pier Approaching beach and pullout Paddling tour group
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On the beach at pullout Picnic area at the beach Toward the lagoon, more boats Into the lagoon Paddleboarders
Paddling through Mangrove to Portage and Return to Launch
We paddled from the lagoon into a mangrove-lined creek, passing Florida International University-Biscayne Bay Campus. We went as far as the portage but did not go over - it's rather long and steep. Instead, we returned to the lagoon and then back to the launch
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Up a creek off the lagoon (FIU on the left) Creek narrows Obstacles through here, ducking under a downed tree (one of several) Continuing on the creek End of trail, must portage over
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Other side of the portage, back onto the creek Back to the lagoon Through a canal Back in the cove Return to launch

See also biking at Oleta River State Park

More information on paddling at Oleta River State Park (opens in a new window):

- Florida State Parks - Oleta River State Park

Top of Page

Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe
Oleta River State Park

Outfitters/Rentals

BG Oleta River Outdoor Center


Support and Advocacy

Friends of Oleta River State Park

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