Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park photo by F. Setiawan via Shutterstock.

Biscayne National Park, found in Florida, showcases a mix of vibrant coral reefs, islands, and shoreline mangrove forest. Primarily accessible by boat, it’s a paradise for snorkelers, divers, and boaters.

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Fast Facts

State(s): Florida
Area: 172,971 acres (699.99 sq km) – 35th largest national park of 63
Highest Elevation: Totten Key – 9 ft (2.74 m)
Lowest Elevation: Sea level
Date Established: June 28, 1980
Annual Visitors: 701,023 visitors in 2022
Nearest Town: Homestead, Florida

Recommended Day Hikes

Given the unique aquatic environment of Biscayne National Park, traditional “hikes” are replaced with water trails and short walks, offering unique experiences within the park’s marine landscape.

  1. Jones Lagoon – A serene kayaking or SUP adventure through mangrove swamps, offering peaceful exploration with opportunities to see marine life such as sharks, sea turtles, and various fish species. This activity emphasizes the tranquility and beauty of the park’s less trafficked waterways.
  2. Maritime Heritage Trail – This underwater trail features a series of shipwrecks that can be explored via snorkeling or scuba diving, offering a glimpse into the maritime history preserved within the park’s waters. The Mandalay shipwreck is a notable site, surrounded by vibrant marine life.
  3. Fowey Rocks Lighthouse Snorkeling – Known as the “Eye of Miami,” this historic lighthouse marks a fantastic snorkeling spot, where visitors can see an abundance of fish among the lighthouse’s metal pilings, making it a favorite spot in the park.
  4. Snorkel or Scuba Dive on the Off-Shore Reefs – The coral reefs east of Boca Chita, Elliott, and Adams Keys provide excellent spots for snorkeling or diving, with numerous shipwrecks and vibrant marine life to explore. Biscayne is highlighted as a premier location for snorkeling within Florida.
  5. Elliott Key – While not a traditional hike, visiting Elliott Key offers a chance to experience the largest island in the park, with campgrounds, picnic tables, and fishing spots. A short hiking trail and the remnants of Spite Highway provide a land-based exploration option.

🧗🏻‍♂️ Popular Activities in Biscayne National Park

Biscayne is about more than just the above, though. See below for some of the best activities to do in Biscayne National Park.

  1. Snorkeling and diving among the coral reefs
  2. Wildlife viewing (e.g., manatees, sea turtles)
  3. Boating in Biscayne Bay
  4. Fishing from a boat or the shoreline
  5. Joining ranger-led canoe trips

🛎️ Where to Stay Near Biscayne National Park

While there are ample camping and vacation rental options near most US national parks, I personally highly prefer staying at Hilton-branded properties when traveling to national parks. As such, below are the five closest Hilton properties to Biscayne National Park.

  1. Hampton Inn Homestead Miami South – 15.3 mi from park
  2. Hilton Garden Inn Homestead – 15.7 mi from park
  3. Hampton Inn Miami Dadeland – 16.3 mi from park
  4. Hilton Miami Dadeland – 17.5 mi from park
  5. Home2 Suites Florida City – 18.2 mi from park

🍔 What to Eat Near Biscayne National Park

After hiking and exploring Biscayne National Park, odds are high you’re going to be hungry. Here are five of the best restaurant options within and near the park.

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