Biscayne Bay National Park: Perfect Snorkeling Key in Miami, FL

Biscayne National Park is one of the most popular parks in the United States. Located in Miami, south Florida, it’s a paradise for tourists and nature lovers alike. The park is home to many different plant and animal species, as well as some of the most colorful coral reefs in the world. In this article, we’ll explore everything Biscayne National Park has to offer. From its rich history to its ecology, there is so much to learn about this amazing place.

History of Biscayne Bay National Park

Biscayne National Park was established in 1968 and covers a huge area of acres. The park is home to more than 500 species of fish, birds and other wildlife. Today, the park is home to an abundance of endangered species, including the peregrine falcon and the hawksbill sea turtles. The park also contains a rare combination of aquamarine waters, mangrove forests, and coral reefs.

The National Park system is one of the great success stories of America, and Biscayne Bay National Park is a perfect example of why. The park has a long history of human occupation, dating back to the years when the first Native Americans arrived in the area. The park dates back to the early 19th century, when it was used as a base by the US Navy during the Seminole Wars. In the early 20th century, the area was developed for agriculture and tourism.

What to do in Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park offers a variety of water activities for visitors to enjoy. Visitors can explore the coral reefs, go canoeing with a park ranger, hiking or snorkeling. The ocean water here is so clean and clear that it tops the list of the bluest waters in Florida.

Biscayne National Park How To Go
Biscayne National Park marina Aglez the City Guy

Biscayne National Park snorkeling and scuba diving

Snorkeling and scuba diving is an activity that everyone can do. If you have a boat, there are many areas where you can snorkel and explore underwater. The park has a long coastline and many islands to explore, and there are also a few shipwrecks that can be explored by scuba diving.

Biscayne Bay National Park Wreck Map
Biscayne Bay Key, Wreck and Reef Map

Biscayne National Park Institute is the most popular company that organizes sightseeing tours of the region. It organizes snorkeling experiences at the shipwrecks around the National Park, guided boat tours & boat trip, guided paddle tours where you can see creatures such as baby sharks, jellyfish, stingrays or manatees. Scuba dive is a popular activity in the park and there are many dive sites to choose from. Snorkeling tours are also a popular activity in Biscayne National Park. The wrecks in the park have been mapped and buoys have been placed in the areas where they are located.

Boca Chita Key Snorkel
Biscayne National Park coral reef Biscayne National Park Institute

Kayaking Biscayne National Park

There are also companies offering canoe rentals and tours in the national park. Canoeing and kayaking is a best way to see the park’s mangrove forests and birdlife. Paddle boards tours allow you to explore Jones Lagoon and see baby sharks and other sea creatures.

Biscayne National Park Lighthouse (Fowey Rocks)

Further north of Biscayne National Park is the Fower Rocks Lighthouse. You can only go here by boat. Many snorkeling tours are organized in the area where the lighthouse is located. This historic lighthouse, which is 40 meters high above the sea, is still active.

Biscayne National Park Fowey Rocks Lighthouse
Biscayne National Park lighthouse Captain Wilson

Wildlife in Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park is home to incredible wildlife. The park’s subtropical waters are full of fish, turtles, dolphins and manatees. On land you can find iguanas, snakes, crocodiles and various species of birds. Visitors to the park often come for the chance to see these amazing animals in their natural habitat. There are various ways to see the wildlife in the park. You can go on a boat tour, snorkel or dive, or walk along the trails.

8 tips for visiting Biscayne National Park

You can also tent camp in Biscayne Park or swim at its beaches. I have covered these topics separately in the article Biscayne National Park Beaches and Camping, those interested can also check this page. There are some important things to consider when visiting the park. Pay attention to these items for a smoother trip.

  • When visiting the park, you need to be aware of the tides and currents that can be strong in some areas.
  • It is also important to wear sunscreen and a hat as the sun can be very intense in this area.
  • There are no restaurants or food vendors inside the park, so visitors should bring plenty of water and snacks.
  • As you explore the different barrier islands within the park, you should also make sure to stay on designated trails to protect sensitive ecosystems.
  • You should plan ahead as this is not a place you can get to by car and is only accessible by boat.
  • If you want to fish in Biscayne National Park and even in many parts of Florida, you will need a saltwater fishing license.
  • Take your fly and insect repellent with you to the campgrounds. Do not forget to wear long sleeves.
  • It can be very crowded during the sea season, especially on weekends.
  • If you’re visiting during hurricane season (June 1-November 30), be sure to check conditions before you go and be prepared for possible closures. Hurricane Andrew hit Biscayne Bay National Park in 1992 and damage was severe in some areas of the park. The main road through the park, Spite Highway, was closed for several years after Hurricane Andrew. During dry season (December-May), weather conditions are typically ideal for outdoor activities.

Where to stay at Biscayne National Park?

Biscayne National Park is a US national park located in southern tip of Florida, adjacent to Miami. The park surrounds Biscayne Bay and its offshore reefs, shipwrecks and aquatic life. Biscayne is home to different ecosystems, mainly mangrove forest, hardwoods, marine environment and coral reef. In this article, you will find beaches to swim in and campsites with overnight stays in Biscayne National Park. We don’t have many options, but we still have options where we can spend unforgettable hours.

Camping Near Biscayne National Park

There are no accommodation options such as hotels or motels within the borders of Biscayne National Park. The closest place to stay in such establishments is Miami. There are no RV camping near Biscayne National Park, but there are two campgrounds in Biscayne National Park for those who want to pitch a tent. These are also places where you can have a daily picnic.

Elliott Key Campground

Elliott Key Campground is one of two campgrounds in part of Biscayne National Park. It is located on Elliott Key, the largest of the Florida Keys, and offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. There are restrooms, sinks and cold water showers. There are also picnic tables and grills. However, be cautious about drinking water and bring your own.

Boca Chita Key Campground

Biscayne National Park‘s most popular campground. This small island is a great place to relax and enjoy the Florida sun. What makes it even more popular is that it’s right next to Boca Chita Key beach.

Boca Chita Key Sky View
Biscayne Bay National Park camping Patrick Lynch

The campground is well maintained and the ground is grassy. There are picnic tables and grills in the area. There is a toilet, but there is no shower or sink. You also need to bring your own drinking water.

Biscayne National Park Boca Chita Key View
Key Biscayne National Park camping Jennifer Vasallo
Biscayne National Park How To Go
Camping is one of the things to do in Biscayne National Park Aglez the City Guy

If you are planning to stay in campgrounds, you can complete your payment transactions by scanning the QR code on the kiosks on the island through the recreation.gov mobile app. Unfortunately, these campgrounds cannot be booked.

Adams Key Campground

Another area in Biscayne National Park, but there is no tent camping here. It is only open for day use. You can stay here until sunset and enjoy yourself.

Boca Chita Lighthouse

When you go to Boca Chita Key, you will come across a lighthouse. The lighthouse is another popular spot on the island. You can climb up to get a view of the surrounding area from above and watch the surroundings from a height of 65 feet (20 meters). Of course, in order to go up, you need to get a lighthouse attendant to open the lighthouse.

Biscayne National Park Boca Chita Lighthouse
How to get to Boca Chita Key Alex M

The Best Key Biscayne Beaches

The state of Florida, and especially the area around Miami, has beaches where you can swim many months of the year. At Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Crandon Beach and Rickenbacker Caouseway Beach, you can also enjoy swimming, sunbathing, fishing and picnicking.

Boca Chita Key Beaches
Key Biscayne National Park beach NoFear2No1

FAQs About Biscayne Bay National Park?

Can you swim at Biscayne Bay National Park?

Yes, you can swim at Biscayne Bay National Park! The park has many different beaches to choose from, so you can find the perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, or just relaxing.

When is the best time to visit Biscayne Bay?

The best time to visit Biscayne Bay National Park is from December through April, when the weather is dry and sunny. From May through November, the park experiences wetter conditions and increased mosquito activity.

What should I bring with me when I visit Biscayne Bay?

When visiting Biscayne Bay National Park, be sure to bring sunscreen, insect repellent, hats, sunglasses, towels, and plenty of water. You should also bring any food and drinks you will need for your visit.

Biscayne National Park entrance fee

There is no entrance fee to the park. However, if you want to camp and overnight stay, you have to pay a nightly fee.

What about Everglades National Park?

Biscayne National Park is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor to the south, Everglades National Park. But Biscayne is a unique and beautiful national park in its own right and well worth a visit. If you are planning a multi-day itinerary, you can also include Everglades National Park, located in the south of Florida, west of Miami.

Hotels near Biscayne National Park

There are many hotels near Biscayne National Park, so visitors have plenty of options to choose from when planning a trip. The closest hotel to the park is the The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami. Other nearby hotels include the Marriott Stanton South Beach, the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, and the Hilton Miami Downtown. All of these hotels are within a reasonable distance to the park and offer a variety of amenities for guests.

How to get to Biscayne National Park?

The park is located at the southern Florida, just near the city of Miami. The park can only be reached by boat. The island and the national park have no connection with the land. If you have your own boat, you can reach the islands by following the necessary procedures. To reach the islands as a tourist, you need to apply to the Dante Fascell Visitor Center in Miami.

Visiting Biscayne National Park is a must-do for those who love the outdoors and want to explore all that Miami has to offer. With its stunning turquoise waters, beautiful coral reefs and diverse plant and animal life, the park will provide you with unforgettable hours.