Biscayne National Park
Bruce Tuten/Flickr/CC by 2.0
Biscayne National Park was established as a national monument in 1968 and re-designated as a park in 1980. The park encompasses 173,000 acres 95% of which is water surrounded by mangroves adjacent to tropical hardwoods on several islands and further inland. Mangroves constitute nurseries for many fish and invertebrates while the coral reefs support a great diversity of colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, and manatees.
Phone Number: 305/230-1144
Park Hours: The visitor center opens year-round 7-5:30 pm. The Water portion of the park is open 24 hours.
When to Go: Busiest: December-April. Least crowded: June-September.
Helpful Links: www.nps.gov/bisc
What to Do: Boating, canoeing, Diving, Fishing, Sailing, Snorkeling, wildlife viewing, bird-watching, viewing videos in English and Spanish. Glass-bottom boat excursions. Rent boats or bring your own boat.
Facilities: Dante Fascell Visitor Center, nature trails, Book sales area, Picnic Tables with fire grills, Gift Shops, and restrooms.
Programs/Events: Ranger-led talks, walks and canoe trips; art
exhibits; videos in English and Spanish; glass-bottom boat excursions;
snorkeling and scuba-diving trips. Family Fun Fest (Dec.—Apr.).
Address: 9700 SW 328th Street, Homestead, FL 33033
Number of Visitors/Year:
469,253 (Year 2018)
Fees and Permits: No pass or fee is required to access the park. Overnight camping on Elliott Key or Boca Chita Key requires a $25 per night. These islands are accessible only by boat and docking spaced is assigned on a first-come-first-served basis. The park does not accept reservations. Camping and marina use fees are due daily upon arrival or no later than official sunset.
Accessibility: Visitor center and most facilities on mainland are wheelchair accessible. Facilities on the islands have very limited wheelchair access.
Pets: Most of the park (95%) is water. On the mainland, pets must be restrained on a leash, never left unattended, and owners are responsible for removing pet waste.
There are several ways to enjoy Biscayne National Park. Outside service providers offer a variety of tours that explore the shallow crystal clear water, coral reefs, and islands.
Bottom Glass boat trips are a popular option. These trips explore coral reefs populated by several hundred species of tropical fish and a colorful assortment of soft and hard coral.
Boat tours will take visitors through the Caesar Creek area name after legendary pirate Black Caesar, who navigated the coast of Florida. The Black Caesar Creek area is known to have over 50 shipwrecks.
For those more adventurous, 3-4-hour snorkeling trips are also offered to visitors. These trips will take to deeper coral reefs that harbor a higher diversity of fish and coral.
Scuba diving trips are also offered. These trips take most of the day, and you will need scuba diving certification to participate.
Tour participants will take an orientation to the park’s fish, coral, invertebrates, birds, mammals, and history of the region before departure. Boats leave from Convoy Point.
One can also explore the mangrove forest on the mainland portion of the park. Herons, egrets, pelicans, and ibises perch on the mangrove or forage at the edge to mangrove’s intricate root network. Thousands of crabs can be seen at the muddy edges of mangrove forests.
Tip: To explore Biscayne National Park you would need your own boat or make reservations to go on boat tours or snorkel or dive trips.
Biscayne National Park’s Summary Reviews
The following are summaries of actual reviews made by visitors to Biscayne National Park.
What is good:
Great fishing, diving, and snorkeling areas, from the boat or from the land. The water is clear throughout the bay system.
Mangroves. Coral. Fishermen. Crystal clear water. and the original spirit of South Florida. Beautiful.
Living in the shadow of Everglades without the crowd levels, the Biscayne N.P is a great place to just be.
Clean and easily maneuverable harbors and the best boat ramp on south Miami. This is a must-visit!
The park rangers and other staff are friendly and knowledgeable, taking the time to tell you about the history, geology, and ecology of the area.
The snorkeling/boat tour was well worth the price and the drive from Miami Beach. If you like manatees, nurse sharks, barracudas, tropical fish, and snorkeling, then this is the place for you.
What is not so good:
They really need to update their website if they do not want to let people rent anything after 1:30 and have better customer service at the rental place.
Please pick up your trash and don’t throw empty beer bottles and cans on the water.
Signal phone in this place is impossible. No machines to pay for the ramp.
Loud people, disrespectful and adult obscenities.
Once it gets dark there are no lights to assist your return to the parking area.
It’s a shame that the ramps are super slippery and with the money, they are collecting they do nothing to fix it.
I warn you: BRING INSECT REPELLENT! (horse flies and mosquitoes for most of the year).
Read more about other national parks:
- Acadia National Park: A Visitor’s Guide
- Congaree National Park: A Visitor’s Guide
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park: A Visitor’s Guide
- Dry Tortugas National Park: A Visitor’s Guide
- Everglades National National Park: A Visitor’s Guide
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park: A Visitor’s Guide
- Mammoth Cave National Park: A Visitor’s Guide
- Shenandoah National Park: A Visitor’s Guide
- Virgin Islands National Park: A Visitor’s Guide