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Biscayne national park is an underwater gem of a national park just outside of Miami, Florida, not far from it’s neighbor, Everglades National Park. While they’re close to each other, Biscayne receives far fewer visitors and is a totally different experience.
Most people skip Biscayne because it is a mostly water park, but today I’m sharing seven reasons Biscayne National Park is worth visiting!
It may not be one of the least visited national parks, but it sits comfortably in the middle, visitation wise. It’s not a park you hear much though so that’s what I’m here for right now.
But before we get into that, you’ll need somewhere to stay and Miami is the perfect option. Plus, there are so many unique and cute hotels to choose from no matter your budget.
Jurny Suites is a gorgeous bright option near the beach, though it is a little pricey. Casa Pellegrino Boutique Hotel is a more affordable option right near Hollywood Beach Boardwalk but is just as cute.
It’s also great if you want to cook for yourself as the rooms have kitchenettes.
If you really want to splurge, The Setai is a beautiful luxury boutique hotel with amazing views and is right on the beach. Another high-end option on the beach is Mandarin Oriental, Miami on Brickell Key.
The Marlin Hotel is another great mid-range option in an amazing art deco building with beautiful rooms in South Beach. It’s also great for families.
The Vagabond Hotel and Casa Victoria Orchid are two more (somewhat) budget friendly options with super stylish rooms near MiMo Biscayne Boulevard Historic District and in South Beach.
If you do decide to travel right now, please do so safely and at your own risk. Wear a mask, wash and sanitize regularly, check any government regulations before going, and book accommodations with flexible cancellation policies, just in case.
There is no entrance fee
That’s right! There is no fee to enter Biscayne National Park. If you want to camp, do a boat tour, rent kayaks, or do other activities there will be fees but to just see the land part of the park, there is no fee.
This means you can walk the mangrove trail or fish from the shore (with a Florida fishing license) for free. While the land portion of the park isn’t brimming with activities, it’s still worth visiting if you’re in the area and short on time.
You can camp on the keys
There are two campgrounds in the park, both only accessible by boat, on Elliot Key and Boca Chita Key. They aren’t exactly beach camping since they’re in grassy areas, but they are very close to the water.
There are a couple of hiking trails on these keys so while you’re camping you can explore the islands easily. They are $25 per night and first-come, first-served. I would love to go back to camp here!
It’s almost all underwater
Most parks people visit to hike, but this is a park for all you water lovers out there. The majority of the park is underwater (95%!!) and they even have a snorkeling/diving trail to explore easily this way.
The Maritime Heritage Trail takes you to a lighthouse and six shipwrecks. The trail is done by boat (the only way it is accessible) but you can stop and explore them. Some sites are better suited to snorkeling versus diving.
Biscayne National Park Institute offers guided tours along the Maritime Heritage trail as well as a few other areas of the park so you can really see a lot of it that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
It’s close to Miami
This makes it super easy to visit since you don’t have to find somewhere to stay in the middle of nowhere with limited options and it doesn’t take a couple of hours of driving to get to and from, just one hour(ish) depending on where you stay.
It’s not quite what I consider a “city park” (a park spread out in or near a city with towns and farms and people living in it) like Cuyahoga Valley or New River Gorge but it’s still super easy to visit from a big city.
It has tons of paddling trails
If you want to be on the water instead of in the water, consider some kayaking! They don’t rent kayaks in the park, but you can bring your own, rent them in Miami, or join a tour from the Biscayne National Park Institute.
The paddling trails range from 2-17 miles so whatever you do, you’ll want to make sure you choose one for your experience level. Let someone know your plan of where you’ll be and when you expect to be back.
Make sure to check for high wind and storms before leaving but be prepared for any weather, just in case. If you’re not an experienced kayaker, I would join a tour just to be on the safe side.
It’s great for wildlife viewing
While you won’t see the bears or moose from out west here, you will have the opportunity to see tons of Florida wildlife. Some of the things you could possibly see:
- Sea turtles
- A variety of snakes
- Tons of birds
- Even more fish
You can Geocache in the park
The park isn’t brimming with caches, but most parks don’t even have them so I was super excited there were actually physical caches, not just EarthCaches.
You can find one on Elliot Key, one on Boca Chita Key, one by the visitor center, an EarthCache, AND a letterbox also by the visitor center.
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Have you been to Biscanye National Park? Do you think Biscayne National Park is worth visiting? What did you do there? Do you want to go?