Plan Your Trip to Biscayne National Park

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Plan Your Trip to Biscayne National Park

With 95% of Biscayne National Park on and under the turquoise water of the Florida subtropics, think of this park as a water playground. Fishing for bonefish, snorkeling over a coral reef, diving a shipwreck along the Maritime Heritage Trail or kayak at sunrise – these are just some of the experiences you can have at this unique national park. Visiting this “water park” takes more planning than some other parks, but no worries – here’s everything you need to know to plan your trip to Biscayne National Park.

Getting to Biscayne National Park 

Depending on traffic, the drive from Downtown Miami could take anywhere from one hour to 90 minutes. You can reach the Dante Fascell Visitor Center from Florida’s Turnpike (take Exit 6/Speedway Blvd. and go left on Southwest 328th Street) or take US 1 to the visitor center. On weekends during winter and early spring, you can also hop on a free trolley that takes you to the visitor center. 

On your way to the park, stop by the Tropical Everglades Visitor Association and get more information about everything you can see and do in the area.

Boat Launches and Nearby Marinas 

While the Dante Fascell Visitor Center inside Biscayne National Park has no marinas or boat ramps (it does have a kayak, canoe and paddleboard launch), you can launch boats from several nearby public access points that flow into Biscayne Bay. Those include:

Best Time to Visit Biscayne National Park 

  • While Miami enjoys mild winters, each season offers you a different experience at Biscayne National Park. 
  • The water is clearest in the coldest months, but the park will be busier. If you want to spend a lot of time in the water, a 3 mm wetsuit will keep you comfortable longer while you’re snorkeling, swimming or diving.
  • Thunderstorms are common in the summer months, so if you plan to visit in these less-busy months, make plans to return to land before the afternoon storms begin.
  • Fall through spring makes for excellent sailing weather, but those same winds can make visibility less ideal for snorkeling or diving. 
  • Campers in March, April and November enjoy warm weather with relatively low humidity, but September remains the least-crowded month, so if you want solitude, that’s your best bet.
  • Holiday weekends can get busy on the water. These are not the best days for taking out kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. 

Tips for Visiting 

  • The glorious Miami sun will make you thirsty; make sure you have at least one gallon of water per person, per day, especially at Boca Chita Key, which has no fresh water.
  • No matter the season, you will need mosquito repellent – be sure to get one containing DEET. If you plan to camp, pack incense-style mosquito repellent, too. 
  • Wear reef-safe sunscreen and bring enough to reapply it every two hours (more if you’re in the water).
  • Due to COVID-19 precautions, the park currently doesn’t allow boats to raft, or boats tying to one another. 
  • Campers, take note: It’s an island, and if you don’t bring it, you won’t have it. 
  • Fishing of any kind in Florida, be it from the shore or from a boat, requires a license.
  • Paddlers, have a float plan and make sure someone not paddling with you knows it. 
  • Only Elliott Key and the Dante Fascell Visitor Center allow pets. 
  • No boat? No problem. You can find SCUBA and other guided tours to explore the park on or in the water. Biscayne National Park Institute runs guided boating and kayaking tours, sailing trips and snorkeling adventures.
  • Make reservations in advance for campsites, guided tours and watercraft rentals – especially in the cooler months.

Dante Fascell Visitor Center

The Dante Fascell Visitor Center is the only part of the park on the mainland. Point your GPS to 9700 SW 328th St., Sir Lancelot Jones Way, Homestead, FL 33033.
 

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