Key Biscayne, just south of downtown Miami, is one of America's Top 10 beaches according to "Dr Beach". Accessed via the Rickenbacker Causeway (small toll payable), you will find yourself a castaway on a tropical island beach just minutes after leaving the choking traffic of Brickell Ave, Miami.
Drive past Crandon Park Golf Course on the right and look for parking beside the 3-mile long stretch of sand and shallow warm waters in Crandon Park. Walk the boardwalk, relax beneath the palm trees, pick up a cold drink or sit and watch families having fun on the sand and in the sea.
If you drive on further, you will pass some desirable condos on the left along with the plush Ritz Carlton Resort and several beach shops, mini-malls and restaurants. Keep on until you enter the green oasis of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. If you drive right to the far end of Crandon Blvd, you come to the Cape Florida Lighthouse.
Climb to the Top of Cape Florida Lighthouse
Built in 1825, this historic black and white lighthouse was reconstructed in 1846/ It is the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County. (Even South Beach was not built until the early 20th century!)
Guided tours of the lighthouse and the nearby lighthouse-keeper’s cottage are available daily (excluding Tuesday and Wednesday) at 10am and 1pm. There is a video presentation and then 109 spiral steps to climb if you want to enjoy the view. Within the state park there are a couple of eateries – the Lighthouse Café and the Boater’s Grill, which offer mainly Cuban cuisine and meat-packed deli sandwiches.
If you have brought your own picnic, make use of the picnic tables or reserve the pavilion and light up the grill. Beach chairs, bicycles and umbrellas can all be rented to make the most of this “Top 10” beach. It offers a mile of postcard-pretty white sand, washed by the Atlantic waves that just beg you to dive in and cool off.
Brief History of Key Biscayne
It was Ponce de Leon who gave the area the name of “Cape Florida” when he led a Spanish expedition to this area in 1513. The island was once a departure point for runaway slaves and anyone who sought passage to the Bahamas just offshore. Sea captains no doubt made a good living from this human smuggling trade until the Cape Florida Lighthouse was built, bringing their dubious activities to a swift end!
The original state park was called Cape Florida State Park, but in 1971 it was renamed in honor of Bill Baggs, the former Miami News Editor. He was influential in bringing about the purchase of the land and securing the beauty of Key Biscayne for Miamians and visitors to enjoy.
In 1992 Key Biscayne suffered massive damage from the 160 mph winds of Hurricane Andrew. Restrooms, concession stands and even trees were flattened and have all since been rebuilt.
This informative book offers details of 20 best beaches and coastal cities in Florida
It is also available to download as an ebook:
20 Best Florida Beaches and Coastal Cities