Located in the coastal area of Homestead south of Miami, The Biscayne National Park is a nature reserve of wildlife and sea life in which four ecosystems coexist: the shoreline mangrove, the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay, the coral limestone keys and the offshore Florida Reef.
Its mission is to protect and preserve Biscayne Bay and its offshore coral reefs. The coastline of Biscayne National Park boasts the longest stretch of mangrove forests of South Florida and features the world’s third longest coral reef tract.
Structure of Biscayne National Park
The park is one of the most popular natural attractions in Miami covering 173,000 acres of land with 95% of it submerged underwater. It is located in the northernmost zone of the famed Florida Keys. The park is formed by three islands, Elliot Key, Chiquita Key and Adams Key, which are only accessible by boat; while on the mainland, at what is known as Convoy Point, we can find the park main headquarters that are accessible by car.
Entrance to the park facilities is free. Once inside you find the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, a dedicated location that provides tourist information and local knowledge to the visitors touring the park. It features a museum displaying the local wildlife, an art gallery, a bookstore and an auditorium where you can make a virtual journey through the park’s ecosystems as well as watch movies and documentary films about the history of the park and its development.
If visitors want to be part of any tour or are planning to spend a weekend on some of the islands, they should take note of rental fees for equipment and camping related costs.
The Biscayne National Park offers visitors the opportunity of camping on Elliot Key and Chiquita Key. The only access to these keys is by boat but the trip must be paid by the excursionist, hence why it is important to plan ahead. Services are very limited on the islands; they only have campgrounds, picnic areas, restrooms and cold water showers. For lodging it is advisable to visit the park’s official website since fees and regulations are very specific for each one of the islands.
Most popular activities in the park
The most highlighted activities in the area are snorkeling and scuba diving. In the depths of Biscayne National Park’s waters there are shipwrecks containing ten thousand years of history and a rich and diverse aquatic life that includes sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, sea cucumbers, jellyfish, and over 500 species of fishes.
For those who would rather be on the surface, there are guided tours on kayaks and canoes across the mangroves and shallow bay waters where you can admire the magnificence of the aquatic forests home to a variety of birds, crabs and manatees
The visitor center opens daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. Further information about norms and regulations of the park can be found on their website.
For a pleasant and a hassle-free tour it is advisable to plan ahead for your visit and remember to bring with you the following items:
Fresh and fast-drying clothing
A trash bag to clean up litter
Address: 9700 SW 328th Street Sir Lancelot Jones Way Homestead, FL 33033
Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Phone number: (305) 230-1144
ADMISSION FEES: Free
CAMPING COSTS: Visit the website for more information
- Wheelchair access
- Snorkeling and scuba diving
The Biscayne National Park is located in Homestead in zone 3 of Miami Smith’s map.