After a long work week, it's easy (and tempting) to stay on the couch for a TV binge. But there's no better way to unplug and recharge from the week than with a great hike around one of the Miami area's many beautiful trails, followed by a decadent brunch. Here are four places inside the perimeter where you can get in a scenic morning workout, then unwind with some good eats.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
The hike: This popular state park proudly houses the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County: Cape Florida Lighthouse, which was built in 1825 and reconstructed in 1846. After seeing it for yourself, and hopefully climbing all the way up to the top for panoramic views of Key Biscayne, take the park's less-traveled nature trail. Starting at the parking lots, this 1.5 mile loop leads you through ficus and mangrove trees, over sand dunes and along the Biscayne Bay waterfront. Expect plenty of wildlife sightings, and, if the season is right, keep your eyes peeled for manatees while cruising the park's beaches.
The brunch move: Once you've gotten your fill of nature, it's about a three mile drive to one of the most popular breakfast joints in Key Biscayne: Donut Gallery Diner. In business since 1972, it's got a cozy counter, fresh-squeezed orange juice and all your greasy-spoon favorites are served all day long.
Oleta River State Park
The hike: Florida's largest urban park is best known for mountain biking and kayaking, but hikers need not be strangers. Popular among trail runners, backpackers and mountain bikers as well as day hikers, Oleta River State Park Trail's well-traveled two-mile loop is a scenic option, especially when wildflowers are in bloom. The difficulty level is considered moderate and leashed dogs are welcome.
The brunch move: Once you're done breaking a sweat, it's about a 15-minute drive north to Avila Bistro, a homey Venezuelan-fusion joint that's a second home for many Aventura locals. It's worth trying the traditional arepas and cachapas (of course) but if eggs are what your after, go for the Andino, an arepa with scrambled eggs, avocado and cream topped with plenty of white cheese.
Matheson Hammock Park
The hike: While the main attraction is the tranquil man-made pool along Biscayne Bay, in-the-know hikers are in for a treat. The 1.4 mile-loop takes you through the dense, protected forest as well as lush meadow lined by Cuban royal palms.
The brunch move: Before you head out, make a reservation at Coral Gables hotspot Swine Southern Table & Bar. Pulled pork and eggs, bacon buttermilk pancakes topped with banana caramel, peanut butter mousse and spiced apple pie jelly, or shrimp and grits will help you refuel properly.
Miami Beach Boardwalk
The hike: Spanning from Indian Beach Park in the north to South Pointe Beach and Pier on Miami Beach's southernmost tip, the 4 mile boardwalk meanders along the Atlantic coast. Quieter than most South Beach landmarks, South Pointe Park is an excellent place to start or end up—especially at sunset. The waters are clear, shores are rocky, and views of the city skyline, massive ships and rollerbladers passing by will keep you occupied. Then, when you're ready for a thrill, you won't be too far from South Beach's lively scene.
The brunch move: Whether you finish your stroll at 11am or 9pm, the griddle will be hot at The Front Porch Cafe, an Ocean Drive staple for nearly a generation. Breakfast is served all day with a wide range of well-priced options, including french toast and pancakes, scrambles and omelettes, plus breakfast pizza and burritos.