Located in beautiful South Florida, Biscayne National Park is unique in that 95 percent of the National Park is covered by water and so you should get in it if possible in order to better understand the area. Boating, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling are all excellent ways to explore. We started our day at Convoy Point Visitor Center where we picked up Junior Ranger packets for the kids, browsed the exhibits and watched the excellent park orientation video. There is no fee to enter Biscayne National Park. We were fortunate to arrive just in time to catch a Ranger Program which took us for a short hike on the Jetty Trail where we learned about the plants, animals and history of Biscayne National Park. I have yet to attend a Ranger Program in a National Park that I did not enjoy. If you have a chance to attend one, do it!
If you have access to a boat, camping on Boca Chita Key or Elliot Key would be amazing! Just be sure you are prepared for mosquitoes as they are RELENTLESS in the area. We learned this the hard way when camping in the Everglades.
If you decide to camp in Biscayne National Park, take my advice and:
1. Bring the strongest, most potent Insect Repellent you can find. And use it. Often.
2. Wear long pants and shirts and bring a Mosquito Head Net for when the bugs are especially bad. This is especially important at dawn and dusk.
3. Take along a Screened Canopy to have a protected place to relax.
Sites are first come, first served and are $25. Click HERE for more information.
Combine Your Visit to Biscayne National Park with a Visit to Everglades National Park:
We were only there for a short visit, but Biscayne National Park is one of the few National Parks where you can visit in only one day and still see a great deal which makes it convenient to combine with a trip to Everglades National Park. In fact, if visiting between the months of November to April, you can hop on the National Park Trolley which travels between Biscayne National Park, Homestead Bayfront Park and Everglades National Park which would be a super fun way to visit all three areas. Click HERE for more information.
Snorkeling in Biscayne National Park
If you don’t have access to a private boat, guided snorkel tours are now being offered by Island Dreamer Sailing. Other commercial outfitters also provide tours of the area. Click HERE for more information. You can also check out a dive buoy at the Visitor Center and use your own snorkel equipment to explore the shoreline on your own. While we did this for a bit, we decided to head to one of my favorite snorkel areas about 45 minutes away to spend the rest of the day- Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park where we snorkeled for hours at Canon Beach. Several sunken artifacts are in the roped off area to swim around and the numbers and diversity of fish were amazing to witness. There were also tons of Cassiopea Jellyfish hanging out on the ocean floor. While generally harmless, these large jellyfish did freak out the kids just a little. Snorkel gear is available for rent, or you can bring our own. Since we only have a few sets of Mask, Snorkel and Fin Sets, we did a combination of both. You can also take a chartered snorkel tour here which is an awesome way to spend the day.