Life’s a Beach at Haulover Park

July 15th, 2020

Summer is here, so let’s hit the beach. Learning from Miami invites you to kick off your shoes and enjoy a historical beach day at Haulover Park.

Baker’s Haulover Cut was named after a local sponge fisherman in the late 1800’s named Philip Edward Baker. Baker would regularly fish off the South Florida coast at what is now known as Haulover Park. He and his crew created passageways with machetes through mangrove forests near the inlet in order to cross the shoal to the beach. Baker and his men were seeking a quicker route to “haul over” their catch. Fishermen soon began to use the shortcut and named it Baker’s Haulover.

In 1940, the Dade County commission acquired the area just north of Baker’s Haulover Cut then known as North Beach, after County Commissioner Charles H. Crandon lobbied for a $2 million municipal bond. This bond was also used to purchase land on Key Biscayne which eventually became Crandon Park. In 1941, construction began on Haulover Park’s beach facilities which were located on a shoal between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, north of the Broad Causeway and along Collins Avenue. Construction on the new beach abruptly came to a halt as a result of World War II.

In 1945, the development of Haulover Park resumed. Five underpasses were built after the land was cleared. The passageways provided pedestrian access across the A1A highway. Renowned landscape architect William Lyman Phillips designed the layout of Haulover Park. The park’s name was changed from Baker’s Haulover Cut to Haulover Park in January 1947 and opened to the public the following year in 1948.

In 1991, a local naturist organization known as South Florida Free Beaches decided to turn the northern section of Haulover into a nude beach. Miami-Dade County agreed, and officially designated that section as the only clothing-optional beach in Dade County.

Today, Haulover Park’s white sandy beaches are still a popular tourist destination. One of Haulover’s most popular events is the bi-annual “Kitetober” fest. For the past 28 years, Miami-Dade Parks and Skyward Kite shop have hosted the renowned kite festival at Haulover Park. This free festival features a color convoy of hundreds of kites. Highlights of the event include a 100-foot flying squid, a 30-foot scuba diver and a monster rainbow stingray. Activities at Kitetober fest include live music, food trucks, kite-flying demonstrations, kite making, and kite competitions.

-Ursa Gil


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