Matheson Hammock Park - Old Cutler Road at SW 99 St.
Take LeJeune Road South from downtown Coral Gables until it ends at Cocoplum Circle. Continue directly South on Old Cutler Road, following the sign on the circle for Fairchild Tropical Gardens. Matheson Hammock is on the East (left) side of Old Cutler just South of the intersection at SW 88th Street/Kendall Drive. There are signs for the park and the Red Fish Grill outside the entrance to the park. On holidays and weekends there is a $4.00 charge per car to enter the park.
The atoll pool beach at Matheson Hammock Park is the ideal beach for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. It is a small, enclosed, waveless beach on a beautiful sandy beach lined with (somewhat shady) swaying palms. By nine am on weekends, the shoreline is dotted with toddlers and their sleepy parents and grandparents...enjoying the safety and peacefulness of this quiet beach.
Other lovely features of the beach include vistas of downtown Miami and Key Biscayne in the distance; a paved walking path around the enclosed pool beach; coral rocks, benches, and shaded picnic tables for relaxing and people-watching; and a wide expanse of shallow water alongside the parking lot where kite surfers gather to practice their sport, to the delight of everyone watching. The beach is so picturesque it is a favorite of local photographers and on any given weekend you will often see two or three families at a time having professional photos taken, and every now and then you will see a photo shoot featuring professional models wearing avant garde designer clothes. There is also a small marina adjacent to the beach, and boat-lovers might enjoy a walk around the marina.
Practical features of this beach include: plenty of parking, lifeguards, bathrooms, showers, changing rooms, and a snack bar that sells hotdogs, burgers, fish sandwiches, fries, chips and drinks mid-day on weekends. The snack bar is part of the Red Fish Grill, a lovely, small beachfront restaurant that is rather formal (although they will make a plate of buttered pasta for little ones) and often hosts private events (especially weddings). The Red Fish Grill is not open during the day.