MIAMI Association of REALTORS




Miami: The Best Combination of Big-City Life and Nature

by | Sep 13, 2016
By Chris Umpierre/ MIAMI Staff

Few places in America can boast Miami’s combination of big-city life and nature. Miami is the only U.S. city bordered by two national parks: Everglades National Park on the west and Biscayne National Park on the east. Each of the parks is less than an hour driving time from Greater Miami.

The proximity to these two parks is one of the reasons why international and domestic home buyers continue choosing Miami to live, work and play. Another reason is Miami’s commitment to green space. Miami-Dade County boasts one of the largest park systems in the country (260 parks, 12,825 acres).

Parks are essential to the health, well-being and happiness of residents and Miami has long shown a commitment to green spaces. More than 50 years ago, Miami-Dade County created a master plan that concentrated on land acquisition and development for what would become of today’s parks.

This year, the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Redfin recently ranked Miami as the fourth-best U.S. city for national park lovers. According to Redfin, Miami had the shortest travel times to national parks of any other city in the top-10. Few other places in America offer urban living and access to awe-inspiring nature.

From Downtown Miami to a National Park in Minutes

In Downtown Miami, residents can live in a state-of the-art condo and work in the fast-growing urban core of Miami. After work, they can hop on a boat and arrive at Biscayne National Park in a few minutes. There, they will see a living coral reef, shipwrecks, marine life and the combination of four ecosystems (the mangroves, Biscayne Bay, the Florida Keys and the coral reef).

Everglades National Park, which is only a 57-minute drive from the urban core of Miami, is another Miami treasure. Crocodiles, manatees, turtles, snakes, herons, alligators and more live across 1.5 million acres at Everglades National Park.

Everglades National Park: A Subtropical Wilderness

Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. It is an important habitat for numerous endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile and the elusive Florida panther.

It has been deemed a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve and a Wetland of International Importance.

Everglades National Park is accessible from Homestead, Miami and Everglades City. Miami residents began trying to preserve the area beginning in the 1920s.

Homestead National Parks Trolley offers a trolley into the park. The Anhinga Trail is one of the park’s most popular trails because of the wildlife viewing. Turtles, herons, egrets and alligators can be spotted there.

Biscayne National Park: The largest Marine Park in the Nation

At 172,000 acres, Biscayne National Park is considerably smaller than Everglades National Park. The majority of Biscayne National Park is accessible only by boat. About 95 percent of the park is underwater, which makes it the largest marine park in the nation.

Guided kayak and canoe trips along the coast are popular here. Manatees, dolphins, jellyfish and even nurse sharks and stingrays are visible.

Elliott Key is the largest key in Biscayne National Park. Elliott Key is the northernmost island of the ancient coral rock that comprises the Florida Keys today.

The boundary of Biscayne National Park comprises the National Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary, which has 2,800 square-nautical miles of protected waters. More than 200 species of tropical fish live here.

South Florida Adding to its Linear Parks, Green Space

Green space can have a revitalizing impact on properties, particularly underutilized ones. As more users gravitate to dedicated green spaces, more commercial investment follows.

When developers improve or build new projects with significant green space, nearby property values are increased and ultimately tax revenue as well.

With that in mind, South Florida developers have plans to add to what is already a significant parks system.

The most publicized upcoming project, The Underline, is a proposed 10-mile long bikeway and linear park that will run underneath the Metrorail tracks in Miami-Dade. The Underline will connect several diverse communities from Dadeland South to Brickell, one of the nation’s largest financial districts. It will improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, create over a hundred acres of open space with restored natural habitats, encourage a healthy lifestyle, provide easily accessible places to exercise, and more. The Underline will increase property values because it will improve the adjacent and connecting property.

The Underline is often compared to New York City’s High Line, a 1.45-mile long elevated linear park. The High Line had a significant impact on property values. The High Line, which had its first section open to the public in 2009, generated $3 billion in real estate development and an additional $1 billion in tax revenue after its creation. High Line Designer James Corner Field Operations has been hired by Miami-Dade County to design Miami’s Underline.

Two other Miami projects, River Landing and Biscayne Line, will feature green space. River Landing Shops and Residences, a $300 million mixed-use development along the Miami River, is setting aside one acre of waterfront space to create a linear park. The Related Group and ArquitectonicaGeo are also proposing a linear waterfront park in Miami. The Biscayne Line, which will span three miles in Edgewater, will include benches, art and shade trees.

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