Biscayne National Park in Florida
Escape to the emerald waters of the Biscayne National Park, one of the great natural wonders of Florida. A habitat for more than 500 bird, crocodile, manatee and fish species, it's a paradise for nature lovers. If you're looking for something completely different to Miami Beach and Downtown, this is one of the best places to get away from it all and unwind, or take the kids on a wildlife adventure they'll never forget!
What to visit at the Biscayne National Park
See the 65-foot-high Boca Chita Key lighthouse, which dates back to the 1930s, or go on an underwater tour and observe the wonderful coral reefs and aquatic life that thrives just beneath the water surface. Go diving with a qualified instructor or try a paddleboard or kayaking trip if you'd prefer to stay above the surface.
The largest island in the Biscayne National Park, Elliott Key is a popular wildlife-watching and swimming area, and is great for picnicking and hiking. The best time to come here is during the winter, when there are fewer bugs and the weather is much less humid than the summer.
The Maritime Heritage Trail
See some of this park's fascinating shipwrecks, and go snorkelling beneath the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse, which dates to the 1870s. The area is also home to the Erl King shipwreck, which sank in 1891, and the Arratoon Apcar, which sank in 1878 at the same time workers were building the lighthouse just a few hundred yards away. Probably not the best advertisement in the world for the new lighthouse!
Other places to visit in the Biscayne National Park
Go to the Jones Family Historic District and Lagoon, the former residence of the local pioneer Israel Lafayette Jones. He was born a slave in North Carolina and gained freedom in 1892, after which he moved to work in south Florida. After having bought land here, Jones and his wife, Mozelle, grew tropical fruits and were able to save up enough money to buy all the land that now makes up the Jones Lagoon.
This impressive house is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the lagoon is a great place to go for a dip, too. Visit the Convoy Point and the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, where you can observe works from local artists, browse some excellent souvenirs from the gift shop, or go on a virtual journey and see the park's interesting ecosystems.
How to get to the Biscayne National Park
By car, the easiest way to reach the Biscayne National Park is to head to 9700 SW 328th Street, Homestead, which takes roughly 60 to 90 minutes from Downtown Miami, depending on the traffic. You'll find the entrance just ahead of the Homestead Bayfront Marina. If you're not hiring a car, don't worry, because you can also take a Free Trolley on the weekends between November and April from Losner Park in Homestead. Just take bus route 38 on the Miami-Dade County public transportation network to 104 N. Krome Avenue Losner Park, or park your car here for free.
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