Key Biscayne

This tiny island paradise off the Miami coast has one of America’s finest beaches, mangrove walks and palm-tree lined parks. 

Key Biscayne is an island retreat southeast of Miami, in the sheltered saltwater cove of Biscayne Bay. The island is home to the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, which includes a wildlife refuge and the historic Cape Florida lighthouse. Its white sand beaches are suitable for beach walking, surfing and swimming.

Key Biscayne is only seven miles (11 kilometers) long. It was once the largest coconut plantation in North America and owned by William Matheson. In 1940, his heirs donated land for a public park on the northern end of the island in exchange for the completion of a causeway to the mainland. The public park was named Crandon Park and now has golf courses, nature trails and an amusement center. Office blocks, shopping malls and residential estates make up the village’s main road, Crandon Boulevard. 

The island retains much of its original natural beauty. Head south to visit the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Stroll the mangrove boardwalk to see some of the fauna of the Florida Keys. Rent a beach chair or umbrella to lounge in the sea breeze, or rent a bike or kayak to explore the rest of the park. Don’t miss the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County: the Cape Florida Lighthouse. After a destructive attack by a native tribe, the lighthouse was rebuilt in 1846. The photogenic landmark now stands 65-feet (20-meters) high. If you are feeling energetic, climb the 109 steps to take in the panoramic views from the southern tip of the island.

Key Biscayne is about 11 miles (18 kilometers) from downtown Miami. The Rickenbacker Causeway connects the island to the mainland. This toll road runs past the Miami Seaquarium on Virginia Key. The Metrobus also runs services from downtown to the island. If you stay for the day, bring a picnic or try one of the many restaurants on the island.

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