In Homestead, south of Miami is where you’ll find Biscayne National Park in Florida. There are coral reefs there, as well as uninhabited islands, mangrove shores, animals, and some of Florida’s clearest water.
The Biscayne National Park Institution is the park’s main authorized tour provider. The Florida National Park Association collaborates with the nonprofit organization Biscayne National Park Institute.
Their goal is to assist tourists in better understanding, appreciating, and respecting Biscayne National Park by teaching them on the grounds while they are on their guided tours.
10 Fun Things to Do in Biscayne National Park Are:
1. Visit Dante Fascell Visitors’ Center
Stopping at the visitor center is one of the nicest things to do at Biscayne National Park.
The lone visitor facility in Biscayne National Park is the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, and it’s also one of the very first things you see as you enter the park.
When making travel arrangements to Biscayne National Park, park rangers are a fantastic resource. There are a few quick videos in the theatre and a number of informative exhibits inside the visitor center.
The exhibits display Biscayne Bay environments, including coral reefs and mangrove shorelines. There’s an art gallery with varying art displays inside the visitor center.
The natural history and fauna of South Florida serve as inspiration for the artwork.
It is highly recommended to spend some extra time in the visitor center admiring the artwork created as a result of this lovely park.
2. Visit Boca Chita Key Lighthouse
The park’s Boca Chita Key receives the most visitors. One of the top activities to do while visiting Biscayne National Park is to make a trip to this location.
You can only get there by boat. The renowned lighthouse, which Mark Honeywell constructed in the 1930s, will first welcome you as you enter the port.
When the 65-foot lighthouse is open, take advantage of the opportunity to ascend to the top and visit the observation deck for the beautiful scenery of the bay, the ocean, and the Miami cityscape.
A park officer will enable you to ascend to the summit of the lighthouse if you are taking a tour of Boca Chita. Visitors are not allowed in any other case.
Take the island’s half-mile loop trail for a walk. With views of the surrounding Sands Key, it is a lovely stroll. Additionally, there is a little, lovely beach that really is worth exploring, as well as a picnic place.
On Boca Chita Key, there are facilities but no water sources. Bring sunblock and insect repellent, and clear out all rubbish. All seasons are plagued by mosquitoes.
The pastime of fishing is highly well-liked at Biscayne National Park. Just keep in mind that you will require a Florida Fishing License.
For the most recent information and instructions on obtaining a fishing license, please refer to the fishing regulations and rules.
4. Try Kayaking, Paddleboarding, and Canoeing
You may explore the park’s shallow bay waters and mangrove shorelines up close by kayaking along one of the several paths available.
An excellent site to watch rays, jellyfish, fish, and birds are Jones Lagoon. Lagoons, channels, and creeks make up this region, which is located south of Adams Key and Caesar Creek. You must keep 300 feet away from a bird rookery!
Another wonderful location for kayaking and snorkelling is Hurricane Creek, which is surrounded by mangrove plants. Crabs, fish, anemones, and other marine life can be found in this region of the mangroves.
You can kayak across Biscayne Bay to Boca Chita Key or Elliott if you have experience doing so. Eight miles one way, approximately. Along with the beach, Elliott Key also features a visitor center and hiking paths.
The Mowry Canal Paddle is a simple 2-mile trail that travels north and through mangroves and is suitable for beginners. It begins at the tourist center. During the colder winter months, the manatees visit frequently.
One of the enjoyable activities in Biscayne National Park is camping, which is possible on Elliott Key and Boca Chica Key. These two campgrounds are only accessible by boat.
On the most visited island in the park is the Boca Chita Key Campground. Picnic tables, grills, a lovely grass lawn, and spectacular waterfront views are all provided at the campground.
There are restrooms, but no showers, basins, or running water.
On the largest island in the park is Elliott Key Campground. There are restrooms, picnic tables, sinks, grills, and cold water showers, at the campground.
Elliott Key has drinking water, although it is strongly advised to carry your own because the system does occasionally fail.
6. Explore Trails
6.1 Jetty Trail:
Take a stroll from Convoy Point to the jetty. This will lead you through the park’s marina and out to the bay, and the walkway is bordered by water on both sides.
If you’re fortunate, you might see many fish species and even a bottlenose dolphin or manatee.
Black Point is an excellent area to watch a Mangrove Cuckoo and other shorebirds if you’re actively searching for birds.
6.2 Adams Key Loop Trail:
This quick hike will bring you across the woodland region on Adams Key as you explore the island. This semi-circular trail has two trailheads.
The first is situated between the two residences of the park rangers, while the second is next to the brown Adams Key sign.
Despite being a well-kept track, there is not much to view along the way. Smooth dirt makes up the route. There are no views of the sea. The trail merely circles the woodland.
6.3 Elliott Key Loop Trail:
The Elliott Key Loop Trail, in contrast to the trail on Adams Key, offers breathtaking views of the key’s bayside & Atlantic side in addition to spectacular views of the key itself.
This U-shaped, 1.1-mile route has trailheads on both sides of the port. The simplest trailhead to locate is close to the picnic tables on the harbour’s left side.
It appears that a portion of the trail washed away as you were hiking.
You can reconnect with the path by simply continuing on straight through that part. Although there is a walkway all along the Atlantic Ocean, the trail is mostly made of dirt.
6.4 Boca Chita Key Trail:
The portion of Boca Chita Key distant from the campsite and pier has a tiny loop that is just 0.5 miles long. About five minutes into the trek lies the cove.
6.5 Spite Trail:
Due to its length, this hike is by far the most lengthy and difficult trek in Biscayne National Park.
The total stretch of Elliott Key is covered by the Spite Trail.
After the Biscayne National Monument was established in 1968, plans to cut the route into a six-lane motorway traversing the center of the island were abandoned.
Because the track does not entirely end to end, you cannot be picked up a place at a single end by a boat, so it is an out-and-back trail. It takes roughly 6-7 hours to climb the complete 14 miles.
6.6 Maritime Heritage Trail:
Countless shipwrecks, most of which date from the late 1800s and early 1900s, can be found at Biscayne National Park because of its shallow seas and reef system.
Six of these shipwrecks make up the Maritime Heritage Trail, which can be visited by snorkelling or scuba diving.
Another of the recent shipwrecks on the path is the schooner Mandalay, which went down in 1966. There are a ton of fish and coral in this area, in addition to being able to see a section of the submerged hull.
7. Snorkelling and Scuba Diving
Scuba certification and prior experience are necessary for the scuba and snorkel trip offered by Biscayne National Park Institute. Weights and tanks will be provided, but you are still required to carry your own scuba gear.
Snorkelling is one of the top activities in Biscayne National Park, which is regarded as a snorkeler’s paradise. The snorkelling trips are the most well-liked tours provided by the Biscayne National Park Institute as a result.
These tours range in length between 3.5 to 6 hours and are available year-round at various times of the day. You can bring your own equipment or rent a snorkel, mask, or fins from the park.
Depending on the weather, snorkelling can be done at wrecks, offshore reefs, or on the shore. And via Biscayne National Park Institute, located at the visitor center, these areas are only reachable by boat. All year long, they provide a wide range of snorkelling experiences and fascinating background information about Biscayne National Park.
Small structures were built offshore of Miami during the 1930s when gambling and alcohol were prohibited.
These buildings served as homes for nightclubs, bars, and gambling establishments, creating an offshore retreat and party location. Stiltsville had a number of 27 structures at its peak.
Now there are only a few. Only seven structures were unharmed by Hurricane Andrew, and only recently did one catch fire and leave little behind.
The buildings can only be visited with a permit. Otherwise, it’s a pleasant area to sail through.
From this viewpoint, Biscayne National Park may be enjoyed in its totality as well as Miami in the distance.
If you possess a boat, be aware that motorized boat launches are not permitted at the visitor center or park. A few marinas in the area offer that service.
Motorized boats can be launched at the Matheson Hammock Marina, Homestead Bayfront Marina, Crandon Marina, and Black Point Marina.
Just south of Convoy Point park is the marina at Homestead Bayfront. The boat launch is there, along with a lovely beach and bathing area.
Black Point Marina is an additional amusing choice. There is a canoe and kayak launch, a biking route, a fishing jetty, and a café.
Coconut Grove, where marinas and sailing clubs are abundant along the waterfront, is where the majority of Stiltsville Bout Tours depart from.
The Grove is a vernacular name for this affluent Miami neighbourhood. It is the longest constantly inhabited Miami neighbourhood in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
A great selection of stores, boutiques, and outdoor cafes can be found here. This offers a fantastic day when paired with an hour-long boat tour of Stiltsville.
The tour also passes the well-known Cape Florida lighthouse and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park before concentrating on the surviving Stiltsville homes. A lot of valuable knowledge regarding the area is provided by the boat guides.
10. Tour of the Islands
The Biscayne National Park Institute offers seven different island experiences.
These various tours provide a range of sight-viewing opportunities, including snorkelling, boat-only excursions, sailing, and seeing the several park keys, among other things.
Some of the 42 or so islands that make up Biscayne National Park are accessible on these visits.
In the End
These were the 10 fun things to do in Biscayne National Park. Remember that there is no entrance fee for Biscayne National Park and that it may be toured in a single day or even half a day.
You should schedule a trip with the Biscayne National Park Institute if you want to see some of the nicest and most stunning regions of the park.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Where can I go snorkelling in the park?
On the day of the tour, the captain chooses the snorkelling spots. Locations for snorkelling depend on the weather and the captain’s preference for a better snorkelling experience.
The snorkelling excursion may visit mangroves, reefs, or shipwreck sites depending on the weather, which includes wind, rain, and other factors. If the weather is terrible, you might visit an island instead of going snorkelling.
You will also be given the captain’s phone number when you make a reservation and get an email confirmation, so you can call and inquire about the trip’s destination.
2. Are meals offered in the park?
On any of their trips, lunch is not provided. Their shops do provide drinks and snacks for your comfort, but these items are not a sufficient replacement for a meal. There is a cooler aboard the boat, however, you are allowed to bring a compact carry-on to protect your food.
3. How long will the boat cruise last?
On tours that incorporate activities, the travel time to your location can be anything between 30 and 45 minutes. The majority of the trip on heritage and wildlife watching tours would be spent aboard the boat.