Plan A Beach Day On Key Biscayne And Virginia Key

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By: Shayne Benowitz

Your guide to a day at Key Biscayne’s beaches

In Miami, it’s no secret that we love our beaches. Whether you want to work on your tan, take a dip in the ocean, run with your dog on the sand, or go stand-up paddleboarding, Key Biscayne has just the spot for every type of beach-goer. For a beach day that’s fun, relaxing and decidedly more quiet than most, try the sandy shores of Key Biscayne and Virginia Key. These idyllic stretches of sand promise beautiful views, laid-back vibes and a true taste of sunny Miami.

Historic lighthouse
Visit the lighthouse at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, which is iconic to Miami boaters.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Ponce de Leon named the southernmost tip of Key Biscayne the Cape of Florida when he led the first Spanish expedition in 1513. Today, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is home to the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County: a historic lighthouse first built in 1825. Equal parts quiet and quaint, the park's natural beach stretches 1.25 miles in length and has repeatedly been listed as one of the best beaches in the country.

Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent for a relaxing day under the South Florida sun, while more active beach-goers can rent ocean kayaks, canoes or hydro bikes. If you decide to take a break from the sand, Bill Bags Cape Florida State Park has plenty of activities to take advantage of. Go fishing along the seawall, tour the lighthouse or anchor your boat at No Name Harbor. Grab a bite to eat at either of two restaurants: the Lighthouse Café or Boater’s Grill. Or pack a picnic and host a BBQ at one of the covered pavilions, which are available to rent for a fee.

Crandon Park Beach
Enjoy a beachfront picnic at Crandon Park Beach

Crandon Park Beach

Crandon Park Beach stretches two miles in length and was once a coconut plantation. The heirs of Commodore William John Matheson donated the beach and surrounding parklands to Miami-Dade County in 1940 with the purpose of becoming a public park. In addition to its white sand and calm waters, there are beachfront picnic tables and grills available for use. Near the North Concession area, you'll find stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, kite boards and cabana rentals. Beach wheelchairs are also available to rent. Nature lovers will enjoy Crandon Park’s vast ecosystems, from a mangrove boardwalk and fossilized reef overlook, to dunes, mangroves, a coastal hammock, sea grass beds and more. You can go on a guided, or self-guided, nature tour. You can also play tennis at the Crandon Park Tennis Center or go for a round of golf at Crandon Park’s championship 18-hole golf course.

Rent a kayak and explore Virginia Key Beach's waters

Historic Virginia Key Beach Park

Located just off the Rickenbacker Causeway en route to Key Biscayne, Historic Virginia Key Beach Park is located on the 82-acre barrier island of Virginia Key. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. In addition to its quiet, mile-long stretch of beach, Virginia Key is home to an antique carousel, a miniature train, a playground, vast picnic areas and pavilions, a nature boardwalk coastal hammock trails and a 4.1-mile bike path.

Hobie Beach
Bring your furry friend to dog-friendly Hobie Beach (a.k.a. Windsurfer Beach)

Hobie Beach / Windsurfer Beach Causeway

One of Miami’s most popular dog-friendly beaches, Hobie Beach/Windsurfer Beach Causeway is located on the Rickenbacker Causeway. It is one of the only beaches in Miami where dogs are allowed to run around off-leash on the sand. A popular spot for windsurfing, Hobie Beach is a great place to rent windsurfing equipment, kayaks or stand-up paddleboards and head straight into Biscayne Bay.

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