Key Biscayne Beach Getaways

beach getaways

Turquoise waters, emerald islands and fish-bejeweled reefs make Biscayne National Park a paradise for wildlife watching, snorkeling, diving, boating, fishing, and other activities. Within the park boundaries are the longest stretch of mangrove forest left on Florida's east coast, the clear shallow waters of Biscayne Bay, over 40 of the northernmost Florida Keys, and a spectacular living coral reef. Superimposed on all of this natural beauty is evidence of 10,000 years of human history, including stories of native peoples, shipwrecks, pirates, pioneers, and Presidents.

Recreational opportunities abound in Biscayne National Park. Locally, it is known as a wonderful place to boat, sail, fish, snorkel, dive, and camp. One area of the park, Convoy Point, is accessible by car. This site contains the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, a picnic area and the concessionaire who provides tours of the park. The visitor center offers a video orientation to the park, museum exhibits, book sales, information and assistance. There is also a boardwalk at Convoy Point that leads one mile to the end of the jetty.

The park consists of 180,000 acres 95 percent of which is water. To see the most of it, one must get in a boat. Visitors who have their own boats have almost unlimited access to the park's resources. (Boaters should use NOAA Nautical Chart 11451 for safe boating operations in park waters). The park concessionaire who offers boat tours and snorkel and dive trips from Convoy Point provides access for visitors who do not have their own boats. Biscayne National Underwater Park, Inc. offers three-hour park tour boat trips and four-hour snorkel trips daily. The park tour trips are normally glass bottom boat tours to the living coral reefs. There may also be trips to undeveloped Elliott Key (the first of the Florida Keys) or Boca Chita Key. Dive trips are also offered for those with SCUBA certification. Canoe rentals for those wishing to explore the mangrove shoreline are also available.

Some hiking is available on the keys located within the park. At Boca Chita Key, there is a one-quarter mile loop nature trail. At Elliott Key, there is a three-quarter mile loop nature trail that takes visitors across the island through the hardwood hammock. A second trail, seven miles long, provides access to north and south ends of the island. Adams Key has a one-quarter mile loop nature trail. Adams Key is a day use area only.

Elliott Key offers picnic tables and grills, restrooms, cold water showers and fresh water. Boca Chita Key offers picnic tables, grills and restrooms, but there is no fresh water.

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