Five best parks to get active in South Florida

Are you tired of living the same reality every day since the beginning of last March? The good news is you are not alone. 

A hell-bent pandemic has Americans across the country going stir-crazy. After months of lockdowns, quarantines, travel bans and the like, people are visiting parks more than ever because the risk of contracting COVID-19 is lower outdoors.

Not only can socially-distanced people get the carefree pre-pandemic experience of not wearing a mask, but they can also avoid the mental and physical repercussions that come with being cooped up in the house for too long. Because gyms are considered high-risk areas for exposure to the virus, the great outdoors has also become a safer alternative for exercise. Hours of operation may differ due to the pandemic, so call or check the park website for the latest updates before you stop by.

Vista View hill by Kayla Ayala and playground via

Vista View Park
4001 SW 142nd Ave
Davie, FL 33330
Mon-Sun 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

There is no other park in Broward County that compares to Vista View. Previously a landfill, it was converted into a 270-acre haven that now holds popular events for biking, running, Fourth of July fireworks and more. Sitting at 65-feet above sea level, this park is the highest man-made elevation in Broward County. If you enjoy watching the infamously beautiful South Florida sunsets, this is the place for you. It is also the perfect place to host parties and gatherings. Whether you are a nature lover or a fitness enthusiast, there is always something to do at Vista View. This park is currently a COVID-19 vaccination site, so it is only open to the public Friday and Saturday.

Observatory tower at Tree Tops Park. (Kayla Ayala/ SFMN)

Tree Tops Park
3900 SW 100th Ave
Davie, Fl 33328
Mon-Sun 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Situated within 23 acres of freshwater marsh, Tree Tops Park in Davie is truly an escape from reality. This old dairy farm is the perfect place to walk nature trails, have a picnic, or rent a boat out for a relaxing day on the lake. The ancient oaks that thrive here create a breathtaking canopy of foliage that locals consider a signature staple of the park. The 28-foot-high observation tower makes it easy to take in the terrain in all its glory. The park leads to Pine Island Ridge Natural Area, the highest natural elevation in Broward County known for its expansive network of equestrian trails. Other amenities at the park include a fitness facility, marina, boardwalk, shelter & room rentals, wedding rentals and a special events area. The park is currently a COVID-19 vaccination site, so it is only open to the public Friday and Saturday. 

Visitors enjoying South Pointe Park. (Courtesy of Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau)

South Pointe Park
1 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 673-7006
Mon-Sun 6:30 a.m.- 6 p.m.

South Pointe Park is one of the most stunning parks in South Florida. There are endless Instagram worthy photo ops around the park such as the iconic speech bubble-shaped art piece on the South Pointe Pier gate and a 55-foot lighthouse sculpture, both created by the famous contemporary artist Tobias Rehberger. Visitors come here to enjoy the panoramic views of the Miami Beach waterfront and watch as the ships and yachts make their way across the shoreline. Additional features of the park include an off-leash dog park, walking trails, a mini water park, picnic areas and barbecue areas. Smith and Wollensky steakhouse is also located on the premises. 

Iguana on rock at Topeekeegee Yugnee park. (Kayla Ayala/SFMN)

Topeekeegee Yugnee Park
3300 N. Park Road
Hollywood, FL 33021
(954) 357-8811
Mon-Sun 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Topeekeegee Yugnee Park is a charming and spacious park that offers a variety of activities. Translated from a Seminole language, its name means “gathering place.” This park has over 178 acres of land containing fitness zone, a fishing lake, tennis, volleyball and basketball courts and several paved RV sites. A special feature about this park is the children’s water park known as Castaway Island. It is typically open from March till October but is temporarily closed because of the pandemic. Hollywood resident Jason Cardona said he comes to the park to fish for bass and peacock bass, and thinks it is a great place for metal detecting and soccer. Another feature of the park is a bench in the shape of a butterfly that makes for the perfect Instagram-able moment. 

Tree-lined landscape at David Kennedy Park. (Courtesy of Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau)

David T. Kennedy Park
2400 S Bayshore Drive
Miami, FL 33133
(305) 416-1133
Open 24 hours

David T. Kennedy Park is a scenic recreation area located along 20 acres of Bayfront land. Featuring bicycle paths, an outdoor fitness area, sports areas, a playground and a popular off-leash dog park, David T. Kennedy Park is a great place to get moving. The outdoor gym equipment is conveniently located by the water so you can enjoy the view while you work out. Direct access to the bay makes it a great place to take a walk or sit on the benches and watch as the sun rises or sets. A favorite of many visitors to the park is the famous A.C.’s Icees frozen lemonade food truck which has been a fixture in the park for over 40 years. It has however temporarily relocated just outside the Miami City Hall due to the pandemic but plans to return to the park. Parking is limited, so get there early!

Kayla Ayala is a junior at FIU majoring in Broadcast Journalism. She is keen on discussing women's issues and animal rights. Kayla was a member of her high school’s television production program Cypress Bay Television or “CBTV.” Her ambitions for her career as a journalist is to report for VICE News, as well as work independently to uncover and report on social injustices locally and globally.