Larry and Penny Thompson memorial park and Campground is one of the best parks in Miami for outdoor and nature lovers. And if you are a nature and outdoor lover just like me, then you don’t want to miss this park when you are in the city. In fact, Larry and Penny Thompson Park is probably the best-hidden gem in Miami-Dade for camping and relaxing.
This vast park provides an incredible getaway from the busy urban surroundings. If you are looking for peace and natural beauty, then you are sure to have a memorable experience at Larry and Penny Thompson Memorial Park thanks to its wide variety of recreational opportunities, gorgeous settings, and well-kept camping amenities.
Having had a first-hand experience of the park, here are some of the exciting things you need to know:
Why Larry and Penny Thompson memorial park and Camground?
A little bit of history doesn’t hurt right, and here is one you will love. Larry and Penny Thompson memorial park and Campground opened in 1977 and has since gained popularity with campers, hikers, bike riders, and environment enthusiasts.
The park and campground are named in memory of Larry and Penny Thompson, a married couple who made a significant contribution to the creation of Miami-Dade County’s park system. They worked nonstop until this lovely park was created. Both Larry and Penny fought to increase the number of parks, trees, and flowers in Miami-Dade County.
The park, which covers more than 270 acres, is a symbol of their commitment to protecting nature for coming generations and is home to a wide range of species including birds, alligators, snakes, turtles, and birds.
There is something for everyone in this sizable park. If you find yourself in south Miami, it is worthwhile to visit.
Campground and Camping sites
There are numerous camping options available at the Larry and Penny Thompson Memorial Park and Campground for overnight stays. Although it appeared to be there was some construction work going on there when I visited, but it was still open.
There are 240 sites and a pool at the 60-acre including tent sites, RV hookups, and cabins. Every site has a grill, picnic tables, and access to sanitary restrooms and showers. There is also a historical exhibit about Larry Thompson and his column in the campsite office
Things to know
- No firewood on site but there is a big fire pit available to be used. If you want to do smores, bring wood and sticks.
- No little market on site.
- Tent sites include a communal water spigot.
- Lots of RV parking
Natural Attractions and outdoor activities
If you are fascinated by the beauty nature beholds, then you will enjoy coming to this park. I was enthralled by the remarkable collection of natural treasures in Larry and Penny Thompson Memorial Park. The park offers an immersive experience in the center of nature with its rich vegetation, a large freshwater lake with its own beach, and a water slide (open seasonally) with lifeguards on duty. Although the water slide wasn’t operational when I went.
Larry and Penny Thompson Memorial Park and Campground also offer well-marked hiking and biking trails that wind through the park, allowing you to explore its natural wonders. These trails offer a chance to observe the local flora and fauna up close and provide an opportunity for peaceful walks or invigorating exercise.
In addition, the freshwater lake in the park offers a cool haven for boating, swimming, and even picnic opportunities.
Community gatherings, festivals, and celebrations are frequently held at Larry and Penny Thompson Memorial Park and Campground throughout the year. These gatherings unite the neighborhood and provide guests with a chance to interact with the customs and culture of the area. Some of these events include the annual Head & Neck 5K/2-Mile Walk, cross-country course, and more.
This park is unbeatable in terms of location. The beach/downtown area is within 20 to 30 minutes (during non-rush hours). Key Largo is only 40–50 minutes away if you wish to take a day excursion to the Keys. Depending on seasonal traffic, it may take 3–4 hours to reach Key West once you enter Highway 1, which has just 2 lanes (one lane north and one lane south).
In fact, the park’s location offers a sense of seclusion and tranquility while still being easily accessible from the surrounding urban areas. Its proximity to Miami allows visitors to enjoy a nature retreat without venturing too far from the vibrant city.
Facts about Larry and Penny Thompson memorial park and Campground
1. The park is adjacent to Zoo Miami, which is one of the largest zoos in the United States.
2. It is the largest campground/ park in Miami.
3. The park was named after Larry and Penny Thompson, a husband-and-wife team who were both active in the community.
Larry and Penny Thompson memorial park and Campground photos
The park offers a getaway from the bustle of daily life thanks to its stunning landscapes and variety of leisure opportunities. Larry and Penny Thompson Memorial Park is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered, whether you’re looking for adventure, leisure, or family-friendly enjoyment.
Note that the campground usage varies by season (and so do hours for the beach/pool, etc.), you will definitely want to check ahead to ensure the hours these attractions will be open.