The Biscayne Times

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Oct 17th
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Written by Janet Goodman, BT Contributor   
October 2018

Haulover Park is for water lovers

ParkPatrol_1Between Bal Harbour and Sunny Isles Beach is Miami-Dade County’s longest stretch of undeveloped beachfront property: Haulover Park.

At 177 acres within its 1.4-mile north-to-south expanse -- the Intracoastal Waterway and Biscayne Bay run along its western perimeter, while the Atlantic Ocean and beach lie to the east -- this park is filled with amenities aplenty to satisfy numerous weekend visitors, and they’re spread out enough so that it never feels crowded.

The initial parkland was acquired in 1935; later the beachfront was purchased in 1940 with a $2 million municipal bond that also bought what would become Crandon Park in Key Biscayne. Haulover Park officially opened in late 1948.

The BT drove in from the north on 163rd Street in North Miami Beach, from Biscayne Boulevard to Collins Avenue (A1A), which runs right through the length of the park. Visitors also have the option of entering on the south end of the park at Bal Harbour.

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On the Intracoastal side of Collins Avenue, the first thing you’ll come to is the Haulover Marine Center, which is the largest dry boat storage facility in Miami. The center advertises that it has capacity for 508 boats and is built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Outdoor dry-dock space is also available near the restaurant Las Delicias Colombianas. Public boat launch ramps have convenient boat trailer parking lots and street access, and Baker’s Haulover Cut leading to the ocean is only a mile away.

More parking lots with hundreds of spaces are available up and down the park, mostly along the bay side. On a busy, beautiful Sunday afternoon in early September, there were still ample spaces for the taking. Weekday parking rates are $5 for cars, except in the North Lot and Lot #1, which are $6, and $15 for buses and RVs. Weekends and holiday rates go up to $7 for cars.

The picnic areas are also spread out through the vast park. Picnic shelters with several tables, garbage bins, and grills are by reservation only. Two medium-size shelters are located on the bay side, and two more are located on the east side of Collins Avenue. Rental rates are $157 plus tax for medium shelters, $224 plus tax for large shelters. Call 305-947-3525 for reservations.

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Travel south on A1A to get to the newly renovated Bill Bird Marina building, which has a rental room with a 52-person capacity. Rental rates are seasonal, from $401 plus tax from November to March and $347 from March to November. Located south of the building are 152 boat slips, with a dozen charter fishing boats. Parking here is free with a paid fishing trip reservation.

Not into fishing or boating? On the southern tip of Haulover Park is Skyward Kites, with a large selection of colorful kites, wind spinners, and windsocks that can be flown on a breezy open field located near Skyward’s solar-powered trailer, which keeps Good Humor ice cream and soft drinks cold. Bill Bird Marina is also the site of Food Trucks Tuesdays from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m., featuring music entertainment and free parking.

On the east side of Collins Avenue by Baker’s Haulover Cut is the Bark Park, the only area in Haulover where dogs are allowed off leash. It consists of two chain-link fenced yards, one for dogs under 35 pounds and one for dogs over 35 pounds. The small-dog park is one of the most spacious in the county at approximately 1.8 acres. Shade trees are everywhere here, and a concrete foot path leads to a water fountain and a pet waste station. I counted six picnic tables, all placed in the shade. The only flaw was its wonky gate and latch.

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The large-dog park is approximately 3.8 acres but doesn’t have the trees necessary to keep cool half the year. It does have three picnic tables, a bench, a water fountain, and a pet waste station with bags. There was no unattended poop on the ground -- remarkable for an active dog park.

A short distance away is the ever-popular Dog Beach, located between lifeguard towers #2 and #3. Dogs are supposed to be leashed in this area, but there was hardly a tether used on the 25 dogs romping in the sand and surf during the BT’s visit. Dog Beach is now open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Dogs aren’t allowed anywhere else in Haulover besides Dog Beach and Bark Park. One cool amenity is the dog wash, where owners can hose off sand from their furry companions before getting back into their vehicles.

Bike rentals are available outside the dog park, which is only several yards from the new hybrid skate park and pump track that officially opened August 7. This free 7500-square-foot paved wonderland for bicyclists, in-line skaters, skateboarders, and kick scooter enthusiasts has been a long-awaited amenity since the closing several years ago of the skate park at Peacock Park in Coconut Grove.

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One dad with two young sons lives nearby and tells the BT that they come to the skate park for four hours on weekends. “It’s great outdoor family fun. We see the same faces here each week and make new friends.”

Walkers can go north along the beach or along Atlantic Way, which runs parallel to the beach. Several bathroom buildings dot the route, as do sea turtle nests. From May 1 to October 31, these nests are managed and monitored by Miami-Dade Parks’ Sea Turtle Conservation Program.

One mile north, almost back to where our journey began, you will come upon the nude beach -- or as the county prefers to call it, Clothing Optional Beach or Naturist Beach. It’s located between lifeguard towers #12 and #16. The county website describes it as “a family-friendly portion of the beach.” But if you’re old-fashioned like me, take your kids to the other two-thirds of this remarkable beachfront, one of two public beaches run by the county.



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Park_map

Haulover Park

 


10800 Collins Ave.
Miami, FL 33154
305-947-3525

 


Park Rating

palm-1palm-1palm-1palm-05palm-0


Hours: Sunrise to sunset

Picnic Tables: Yes
Barbecues: Yes
Picnic pavilions: Yes
Dog Park: Yes
Beach: Yes
Night lighting: Yes
Skate Park: Yes
Playground: No

 

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