As home to fish-bejeweled coral reefs, emerald islands, and beautiful aquamarine waters, Biscayne National Park is a scenic destination for nature lovers. Covered by 95% water, this national park located in Homestead, Florida, offers excellent opportunities to enjoy water-related pursuits and other recreational activities. It is no wonder that the park is dubbed a “watery wonderland”.
As you visit the park, prepare to enjoy boating, canoeing, and kayaking on the park’s waters where you’ll get to see the beautiful marine life in the creeks and bay waters. Fishing is also open to all who enjoy the activity. If you came with your binoculars, then you should not miss out on the exciting bird-watching opportunities the park offers. The mangroves in the park are also a sight to behold. Besides all these, guided boat tours can offer you even more in the park.
Keep in mind that RVs can only access a small portion of the park on the mainland, where you can visit the Dante Fascell Visitor Center or take a hike on the jetty trail. You must take a boat or go on a guided boat tour to visit the islands of the park. There are no RV camping options within Biscayne National Park as primitive island camping is the only available in-camp option. You can only access the park's two campgrounds by boat. There are still so many things to see and do at Biscayne National Park, making it well worth a trip, despite the lack of RV camping options inside the park.
Biscayne National Park is located in Homestead, Florida on SW 328th Street, around the Homestead Bayfront Marina. It's important to note that Biscayne National Park is divided between two parts: the mainland and the islands.
If you are arriving in your RV, you can access the mainland section of the park, off of US Highway 1 from the North and South in Homestead, where you will find the Dante Fascell Visitor Center. Here, you can check out all the exhibits the Visitor Center has to offer or take a stroll on the jetty trail. If you want to venture beyond the Visitor Center, however, you will need to travel by boat.
The majority (95%) of the park is covered by water, which is often referred to as the islands section of the park. In fact, most visitors to the park arrive by boat. There are no bridges or ferries to the islands or campgrounds in the park. If you are itching to see the islands but your rig isn't towing a boat trailer, you can park your RV at the Visitor Center and take a guided boat tour. It's recommended that you book a boat tour ahead of time.
There are no RV parking services available at Biscayne National Park, however parking spaces are available at the Visitor Center in Homestead.
Homestead National Parks Trolley offers public transportation services from downtown Homestead to the Dante Fascell Visitor Center as well as the Homestead Bayfront Marina
Elliot Key Campground is located on the largest island in the park, Elliot Key. Tents are allowed in designated areas and access to the island is by boat only. There are restrooms, showers, grills and picnic tables in the campground. Drinking water is also available.
Swimming, fishing, hiking, and picnicking opportunities are available in the campground. Pets are allowed in the campground.
Reservations are not accepted, so the campsites are available on first-come, first-served basis only.
Boca Chita Key Campground sits on Boca Chita Key, the most visited island in the park. Access to the campground is by boat only and tents are allowed in designated areas. No drinking water, electricity, nor showers are available; however, restrooms, boat dock and lighthouse are present. Pets are not allowed in the campground, but service animals are permitted.
Short hiking trails are available in the campground. Campsites are available on first-come, first-served basis only.
One of the best ways to explore the shallow bay waters and shorelines of Biscayne National Park is in canoes and kayaks. If you are an experienced kayaker, then you can set out to cross the seven-mile Biscayne Bay and end up at Elliot Key and Boca Chita Key. Should you choose to explore the park from the south, then you’ll find the launching from Adams Key is good for you.
The creeks and lagoons within the park are best suited for canoeists and kayakers, and several paddling trail guides are also available.
Interesting, fun-filled and educational guided tours are offered at Biscayne National Park to visitors on various features and activities in the park. You could participate in any of the eco-adventures in the park, including snorkeling at a shipwreck on Maritime Heritage Trail, exploring Jones Lagoon, and sailing on Biscayne Bay. Cruises to Boca Chita Key and lighthouse are also available.
All these guided tours are offered by The Biscayne National Park Institute and participants are advised to make advanced reservations.
Various fish habitats are available in Biscayne National Park, offering wonderful and diverse fishing opportunities to angling enthusiasts and visitors to the park. Hundreds of fish species are available in the park’s waters, all ranging from less than one inch to more than ten feet in length, so anglers have plenty to aim for. Most of the fish in the park are marine species, with only a few documented freshwater species.
Fishing in the park is governed by Florida saltwater fishing and lobster regulations.
Biscayne National Park is home to hundreds of florae including some endangered species. The most popular and interesting flora species in the park are the mangroves, which occur in long continuous stretches on the Florida East Coast. These mangroves in the park always bring to mind the jungles in old movies. The trees are very evident in the park with their beautiful emerald leaves and tangled roots.
Other plant species include Semaphore prickly-pear cactus and Sargent’s Palm, believed to be the rarest native palm in Florida.
Explore Biscayne Bay in your boat to enjoy the fully immersive experience that comes from visiting emerald islands and seeing the living coral reefs in the park’s water. Your boating experience plays a part in how much fun you will be able to have as it determines how much access you will have to the magnificent water resources.
Personal watercraft are prohibited, including jet skis and waverunners, and safe boating practices are recommended in the park. There are nearby marinas that provide access to boaters.
If you don't have your own boat, you can reserve a spot on a guided boat tour. Head to the Visitor Center for more information.
Biscayne National Park is designated an important bird area as it offers great birding experiences and opportunities to view beautiful birds. Significant varieties of wading birds and protected species, as well as nesting birds have been sighted in the park. Some areas in the park are particularly known to be inhabited by birds on migration.
To recognize the birds in the park, watch out for their markings, colors, postures, flight patterns and other features. You may want to use binoculars, notebooks and field guides to enhance your viewing experience.