When you tell people you went star gazing in Miami, they might think you mean you were creeping outside the Soho Beach House hoping for a quick sighting of Leonardo DiCaprio or Miley Cyrus. But that’s not what we’re talking about. Instead, we’d like to recommend a different sort of star gazing, out in the darkest parts of the Magic City. Whether you’re looking for a romantic date idea or want the best seats in the house for the next meteor shower, this list has you covered.
One of Miami’s greatest natural areas is at the Oleta River State Park. And if it’s stars you seek, you’ll certainly find them by either enjoying a moonlight kayak tour or by simply camping on-site. The full moon tours can be done on kayak, canoe, or paddle board, guided along through the mangroves of Biscayne Bay.
3400 NE 163rd Street, North Miami Beach; 305-919-1846
Shark Valley is one of the most popular entrances to the Everglades. It features a boardwalk, a hammock trail, and a lengthy bike path perfect for encountering animals and beautiful sights. Best part is that folks are able to go for night bike rides, and the way the stars shine here is beyond breathtaking.
36000 SW 8th Street, Everglades; 305-221-8776
Located in the depths of Palmetto Bay, this small natural area is the observatory site for the Southern Cross Astronomical Society. The SCAS host weekly events every Saturday (weather permitting) in the park that are open to the public. The group bring telescopes and invite others to do so as well, and anyone is welcome to come and take a look up into the night sky.
17555 SW 79th Ave., Palmetto Bay; 305-255-4767
This beautiful park is situated just off Old Cutler in one of the darkest parts of town, and features a marina and restaurant (Red Fish Grill) just beyond its entrance. Though the park technically closes at 5 p.m., the restaurant is open later, so visitors can head into the area and park off to one side to get a nice view of the stars.
9610 Old Cutler Road, Old Cutler; 305-665-5475
Another spot to see the stars is up in Alligator Alley. You’ll want to be extra cautious here of course because, as the name suggests (and just like in most of the Everglades), there are gators around. You’ll catch the Alley on the north side of Miami while on I-75 and few stretches of highway near the 305 are as poorly lit as this. That does mean, however, that it’s a great area for stargazing.
While the sands of South Beach can be pretty popular at night with friends hanging out by the water and couples making out in the sand, the light pollution doesn’t allow for room for seeing the stars. That said, there’s is definitely less lighting on North Beach, and the few secluded public spaces in the area are excellent for some night sky viewing. Areas like Allison Park, North Shore Open Space Park, and Pier Park are nice stopping points for a night of viewing celestial bodies.
If you’re from the south side of town, you can always head to Key Biscayne and check out the stars from there. Sneak onto the sand in Virginia Key or Hobie Beach, or a little further in between the high rises. It won’t be as good as the Everglades but hey, it’s better than nothing.
Chekika used to be a wonderful natural area out in the Redland side of town, but closed down in 2013 due to lack of funds. That said, one can drive up to or close to the old Everglades-based entrance, turn off the headlights, and look up. You’re guaranteed to see plenty of stars in this secluded spot.
24200 SW 160th Street, Redland
If you want to drive further south, through Florida City, you can make it out to the Royal Palm Visitor Center and check out the stars along the way. It’s situated just on the edge of the Everglades, meaning the light pollution is practically non-existent. Make sure to pick up some tacos beforehand in Homestead so you can stay out there for a while, just you, some carnitas, and some shiny constellations.
40001 State Road 9336, Homestead; 305-242-7700
This is another great option for those who’d like to take a moonlit canoe ride. Deering Estate offers guided trips nearly every month, taking you from the property and out to Chicken Key, where you’ll enjoy a fun campfire as well. You’ll also get to hear fun facts about the local ecology while taking in some spectacular views of the night sky.
16701 SW 72nd Avenue, Palmetto Bay; 305-235-1668