August in Miami, a hot sunny day with sunlight past 8 PM! Summer gives people the perfect conditions to spend a great day outside. Getting ready for a picnic, walking to your favorite spot, carrying a basket, chairs, and blanket. Did you know you just burned a bunch of calories? People don’t realize all the health benefits they’re getting at the same time as spending the day outside. According to Harvard Health Publishing (2010), going outside increases your intake of vitamin D, which helps the body fight conditions like cancer and heart attacks. Plants also produce airborne chemicals that increases the body’s levels of white blood cells, giving us another advantage in fighting off infections, such as the flu.
Spending time outside can also help a person concentrate more and improve their mental health. In the Forbes (2020) article, “Why Going Outside Is Good for Your Health, Especially Right Now” it states increased levels of happiness have also been documented when more time was spent outside. Another effect is decreased levels of stress. Heading outdoors, for even just 20 minutes, provides a relaxing mental escape. It gives people the opportunity to decompress and just enjoy the area around them. Overall, the outdoors offers a positive energy shift, so it only makes sense to take time during the great summer weather to do so.
A great option to receive both the outdoor fun and health benefits is a visit to Miami Dade Parks, which is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 278 parks and 13,769 acres of land. It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world and focused on Placemaking, Health and Fitness and Conservation and Stewardship. One of the best places is the Deering Estate. It is open and welcoming visitors Monday through Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Located right along Biscayne Bay in Miami, it’s a beautiful place to spend an afternoon with friends and family. The Estate has much to offer including self-guided walking trails around the Estate, Deering Point, and you can even go for a bike ride along the Chinese Bridge and Old Cutler Road. Currently, Deering Estate is offering daily on-site kayak rentals. Enjoy kayaking on Biscayne Bay where you can paddle over sea-grass beds and explore the mangroves!
The trails at the Deering Estate are perfect for people looking for a place to hike and see different aspects of nature, like native flora, fauna, and interesting geological features. Visitors may view wading birding, for those who enjoy bird watching, as well as walking through Florida’s Pine Rocklands and Tropical Hardwood Hammocks. Some rare bird sightings in the area have been the Mangrove Cuckoo, White crowned pigeon, and the Black-whiskered Vireo.
For those who want guided walks along the trail, the Deering Estate offers those too, join the next Butterfly Walk on August 22 at 11 AM. Visitors get the chance to see and learn to identify common and rare species of butterflies such as the Ruddy Daggerwing and Atala. Guests may also consider going on the Herp Tour, the next one is on August 8 at 7 PM. Here, guests will join a Deering Estate naturalist to go see some of the reptiles and amphibians in the protected natural areas located within the park.
Deering Point is another fun and exciting place to visit. Here, guests can take advantage of the public access to Biscayne Bay to do activities like canoeing and fishing. The Chinese Bridge is great for those interested in both wildlife and history. In 1918, Charles Deering had this bridge built to cross Cutler Creek. He chose the Chinese theme to remind him of his travels through Asia as a U.S. Naval officer.
Overall, the outdoors is highly beneficial for both health and entertainment and the Deering Estate offers you the perfect place to experience it.
Valeria is a freshman at Doral Academy Charter High School. She is currently a Junior Ambassador for Miami Waterkeeper and a Deering Estate intern.