Boca Chita Lighthouse at Biscayne National Park, Florida
Boca Chita Lighthouse at Biscayne National Park, Florida

Biscayne National Park

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The basics

Biscayne National Park, managed by the National Park Service, has a unique claim to fame: Most of its 181,500 acres (73,450 hectares) are underwater. That means much of it is only accessible by boat, and that it's highly recommended to experience it with snorkel or scuba gear. Beneath the surface, the park's underwater world explodes with multicolored life, from vibrant angelfish and parrotfish to swaying sea fans and labyrinths of living coral.

Reef cruises and glass-bottom boat tours typically depart from Convoy Point and pass through Caesar Creek to see the more than 50 shipwrecks within the park's boundaries. Mangrove Shore is a nice option for those on a tight schedule and no boat access—simply stroll around Convoy Point and enjoy a picnic. Of the park's 44 islands, only a few are open to visitors. Elliot Key has picnicking, camping, and hiking among mangrove forests; tiny Adams Key has picnicking; and Boca Chita Key has a lighthouse, picnicking, and camping.

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Intimate Sailing Adventure in Miami's Biscayne Bay
Intimate Sailing Adventure in Miami's Biscayne Bay
$129.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Great Trip around the bay!
Great boat captain and got to see dolphins! We felt safe on the water and the captain did a great job of narrating the experience with sailing info and facts about Miami.
Kevin_D, Mar 2024

Things to know before you go

  • The park has no entrance fee, and you do not need to book Biscayne National Park tickets to visit.

  • Boca Chita Key and Elliot Key are open year-round for boat-in camping on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Most snorkel and scuba tours include the use of equipment, but you can bring your own if you like.

  • Nature lovers can combine a Biscayne National Park tour with visits to nearby John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Everglades National Park.

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How to get there

The park is located in South Florida, at the northern edge of the Florida Keys. It is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Miami International Airport via the Ronald Reagan Turnpike. For information, stop at the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, at the park's main entrance, which has maps, ranger programs, and a great film overview of the park.

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Trip ideas

When to get there

Key Biscayne is open year-round, and the water portion of the park is always open. The best time to visit the park's islands is during Florida's dry season, December to March. For the best visibility in its shallow water, summer is best—but be prepared for the occasional afternoon thunderstorm and hungry mosquitoes during this time.

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Biscayne Bay wildlife

Tourists who visit Biscayne National Park's coral reefs and aquamarine waters will come in contact with more than 325 types of fish, shrimp, crabs, spiny lobsters, and even sea turtles. On land and in the mangrove forests, look for the rare peregrine falcon and bald eagle. Barnacles, fish, and other sea creatures also bunch around the trees' half-submerged roots.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Biscayne National Park?
What else should I know about attractions in Miami?
As well as visiting the Biscayne National Park, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: