Top five places in the Pinecrest area

When people think of going out in Miami-Dade County, they usually picture bright lights, bottles and clubs. But there’s so much more to our area than spending money on a lavish lifestyle. For starters, the nature in Miami is incredible. There are a variety of things to do outside: strolling on the beach, hiking the everglades and visiting gardens filled with unique flora and fauna. Here’s a list of the top five things to do in the chill, family-friendly, suburban setting of the city of Pinecrest.

Main entrance of Pinecrest Gardens (Alexa Velez/SFMN)

Pinecrest Gardens 
11000 SW 57th Ave
Pinecrest, FL 33156
(305) 669-6990

Pinecrest Gardens has been a part of Miami for about 20 years. It opened on the former site of Parrot Jungle. This historic property is about 14 acres of natural beauty. It includes over 1,000 species of rare and exotic tropical plants surrounded by native palm trees, banyans and hardwoods. This botanical garden is the perfect place to spend the day with family. There’s a little splash park and petting zoo for kids and a picnic area and café for adults. General admission including the Splash n’ Play water park is only $5. For seniors 65 and older the cost is $3, and veterans get in free with ID.

Pinecrest Gardens Farmers Market (Alexa Velez/SFMN)

Pinecrest Gardens Farmers Market
11000 SW 57th Ave
Pinecrest, FL 33156
(786) 667-6992

After you’ve strolled around the gardens, you can’t leave without shopping and eating at the Pinecrest Farmers Market. It’s located in the lot in front of the main entrance. Rows of white tents fill the space, each selling something unique. You can buy locally sourced honey, fruits, veggies, flowers and herbs. And you can fill your belly with food from different parts of the world. Make sure to swing by Lily’s Blazin’ Guac and Tacos for an order of barbacoa and carnitas street tacos for $10 and some fresh guacamole. Or check out Mamá Chana’s tent for Venezuelan empanadas for $4 as well as Imperial Roasts for a cup of the best Madagascar vanilla iced latte you’ve ever had. But mark your calendars because this market is only open on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Matheson Hammock Park & Marina beach area (Alexa Velez/SFMN)

Matheson Hammock Park & Marina
9610 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156
(305) 665-5475

If you need to take a dip in the water to cool down from a hot Florida morning, Matheson Hammock is the perfect spot. Unlike Miami Beach, this county park has quick convenient parking right next to the beach. The entrance fee for cars is $5 on weekdays and $7 on weekends and holidays. It’s open from sunrise to sundown. The beach is manmade, but only a sliver of land separates the lagoon from the open ocean. Besides lying on the sand soaking up the sun, other activities include bird watching, bike riding through trails, fishing, boating, kayaking, kiteboarding and eating at Redfish by Chef Adrienne. It’s also a great place to introduce small children to the water, since the lagoon is calm, shallow and flat. Just remember to keep an eye out for the cute and tiny Sand Fiddler crabs that like to burrow in the sand!

Wayside Market sign (Alexa Velez/SFMN)

Pinecrest Wayside Market
10070 SW 57th Ave
Pinecrest, FL 33156
(305) 661-6717

If you’re craving a refreshing drink, Wayside Market should definitely be your next stop. This outdoor market sells fresh produce, homemade pies, popsicles, smoothies, juices and so much more. It’s in the heart of Pinecrest next to the Snapper Creek Canal on Red Road, open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday (except on Sundays they close at 5:30 p.m.). Their top seller is the strawberry shake, but the mamey shake is also one of their best– both blended with fresh fruits. If you’re in the mood for something less thick and more refreshing, try their carrot and orange juice. All their juices and smoothies begin at $5 for a small, $5.50 for a medium, and $6 for a large.

Inside of Books & Books Pinecrest (Photo from Books & Books)

Books & Books
11297 S Dixie Hwy
Pinecrest, FL 33156
(786) 552-3290

After touring the city of Pinecrest all day, what better way to end the evening than with a coffee and book in this quiet, lesser-known Books & Books location. It’s located in the Suniland shopping plaza, opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. The other locations are oin Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and Bal Harbour. The Pinecrest one is quiet and quaint creating the coziest environment surrounded by books. There’s also a children’s book section where the kids can pick out any book and read. Be sure to lookout for any upcoming events and guest speakers!

Alexa Velez is a senior at FIU majoring in broadcast media with a concentration in English. She has written for PantherNOW and Caplin News and is a recipient of the NBCU Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Scholarship. She completed her first internship on a national radio station, SLAM! Radio on Sirius XM 145, during the summer. She aims to network with others within the field and continue gaining experience in an effort to grow professionally and perfect her craft as a journalist.