Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Explore Biscayne National Park

February 3, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

biscayne bay 1

A fun-filled day packed with water-based activities awaits you at Biscayne National Park. It extends across Biscayne Bay, with most of its 173,000 acres covered by water. This makes it easier for you to enjoy everything the park has to offer, especially since most of the activities are only accessible by boat. Plan your trip to avoid any trouble since there are shallow areas.

There are marinas within the park that provide access. One is Herbert Hoover Marina near the park’s Dante Fascell Visitor Center, which is located at Convoy Point, nine miles east of Homestead. It’ll give you entrance to the park’s south side, and a 1/4-mile jetty trail is available at Convoy Point. Reservations are recommended: call 305-230-3033. It also monitors VHF channel 16, and instructions for docking are given if you call on the channel when approaching.

From Herbert Hoover Marina head to the museum at the visitor center to experience a virtual journey through the park’s four ecosystems using dioramas, audio, and video. Several educational films about the park are shown in the auditorium. The Touch Table lets kids and adults get a feel for bones, feathers, sponges, and corals.

The center’s bookstore, operated by the Florida National Parks and Monuments Association, offers a variety of educational items, and proceeds from the shop’s sales support various educational and scientific endeavors in South Florida’s four national parks. One of the park rangers can also help you plan your visit.

Farther north the Far Black Point Marina allows access to Boca Chita and Elliot Keys, where you can camp overnight. The seven-mile Spite Highway trail is available to campers and those with boat access to Elliott Key. The marina is situated roughly 4.5 miles west of ICW channel markers 5 and 6, or the area better known as the Featherbeds. Reservation are suggested: call 305-258-4092. It monitors VHF channel 16, and docking instructions are provided if you call on the channel when approaching.

From Far Black Point Marina can fish and dive. There’s also Ocean Grill Restaurant, a dockside restaurant and bar, a large picnic pavilion and grill, bikeways, jogging trails, and a jetty which extends 1.5 miles into the bay, enabling fishing enthusiasts to cast from shore. You can walk the seven-mile Highway Trail from Black Point.

Most of the park is open 24 hours a day except for Adams Key, which is south of Elliott Key and only accessible by boat. You can go there for the day, but no overnight docking is available.

All ages are accommodated by activities ranging from snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking to wildlife watching. Jet skis are prohibited. Snorkelers will see a plethora of colorful fish, especially at Hurricane Creek where there are sea squirts, crabs, anemones, and lobsters. Wildlife watchers will see everything from birds and butterflies to crocodiles.

Canoeing and kayaking allow you to explore the park’s mangrove-fringed shorelines and shallow bay waters that aren’t accessible by boat. You can launch your canoe or kayak for free at the visitor center. More experienced kayakers could cross Biscayne Bay’s seven-mile expanse to camp at Elliott or Boca Chita Keys. Guided tours are available from January to April.

For more information: www.nps.gov/bisc/index.htm or 305-230-7275, www.nps.gov/bisc/planyourvisit/events.htm, www.miamidade.gov/parks/homestead-bayfront.asp, and www.miamidade.gov/parks/black-point-marina.asp.

By Melissa McMahon


Additional video and photos online
Video on Biscayne National Park

Snorkeling Underwater Boca Chita Key

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