Within sight of downtown Miami, yet worlds away, Biscayne protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and fish-bejeweled coral reefs. Here too is evidence of 10,000 years of human history, from pirates and shipwrecks to pineapple farmers and presidents. Outdoors enthusiasts can boat, snorkel, camp, watch wildlife…or simply relax in a rocking chair gazing out over the bay.
Biscayne National Park protects coral reefs, mangrove forests, Biscayne Bay, Florida Keys and 10,000 years of human history.
Canoeing and kayaking are great ways to explore the park's mangrove-fringed shorelines and shallow bay waters.
It is a moody place, Biscayne National Park. Some days, Biscayne Bay's shallow waters are glassy smooth, a window on another world. Other times, the wind whistles and whips, creating white waves that bite like teeth at an angry sky. Some days are quiet and still, the silence broken only by the sound of ocean ripples lapping at the mangrove-fringed shoreline, the exhalation of a manatee, or a crab scuttling across the leaf-strewn forest floor. On weekends, the laughter of children, the sizzle of burgers on a grill, or the "woosh" of water being cleared from a snorkel takes over. Some days, the water over the reef is so clear that every detail on the bottom is visible, and zooming across it on a boat can seem like flying on air. Then there are blustery days when it is milky with mud stirred up by wind and wave.
Even the 10,000 year human history of the place reflects its temperamental nature. Idyllic vignettes of a Tequesta Indian man free-diving for conch from a dugout canoe, or a Bahamian woman watching the sunset across a tidal creek after a hard day's work contrast with violent shipwrecks, acts of piracy, and a long, hard struggle for environmental protection.
Since 95% of Biscayne National Park is water, the majority of the animals are associated with ocean or shoreline habitats. The park is home to many threatened and endangered species including the West Indian manatee, eastern indigo snake, piping plover, American crocodile, peregrine falcon, Schaus' swallowtail butterfly, least tern, and 5 species of sea turtle. Learn More