It’s safe to say this state park is unlike any other in Florida. Quite literally – this beach was ranked in the top 10 for the US. Just south of downtown Miami, Key Biscayne offers astounding beaches and beauty. The southern third of the island is strictly Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. So not only is Florida’s nature preserved from Miami sprawl, it offers a quick escape to a natural luxury, away from the concrete city.
The history of the park is quite fascinating. Like most nearby areas, this land was cleared mid-twentieth century for development purposes. After the native plants were cleared and construction began, an invasive species of pine took root and overcame the construction projects. Just in time, the editor of the Miami News advocated for this island and was able to acquire it as a state park for Florida. Bill Baggs’s effort changed the ecosystems and social history of South Miami forever. Regarding the invasive pine: Hurricane Andrew greatly destroyed Miami. But one small victory was that the pine was cleared off the island. Thus allowing park rangers to plant the native mangroves, dunes, and wetlands once again.
Within the park you’ll find a plethora of activities. Although it’s hard to miss the nearly 200 year old light house (first built in 1825), make sure you venture inside. Tours are offered from 10:00am-1:00pm and the view from the top is priceless. If you didn’t pack enough snacks, don’t worry there’s also a lighthouse cafe offering much needed food and drink. At the cape you can:
- Hike or bike nature trails throughout the entire park
- Sunbathe or swim on the beaches (which cover half of the coastline!)
- Picnic or rent a pavilion
- Anchor a boat in the harbor to sleep overnight
- Bring a fishing rod and fish off the seawall, you’ll surely catch something
- Launch your kayak and paddle around the island
Never have we seen a Florida park with this many amenities. Additionally, all of their websites and social media sites are well-run and eager to answer any questions you have. The history, nature, adventure, convenience, and all around beauty will have you captivated. Trust us, as we’re writing this article for you, we’re also planning our own vacations there!
Location: Southeast Florida
Additional Resources: Official Website