Key Biscayne is a world renowned island community just off the coast of Metropolitan Miami. The island features stretches of white sandy beaches and a slew of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy. Whether it’s a day at the beach or a day on the water, Key Biscayne offers a plethera of outdoor activities.
The island is home to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, with it’s famous lighthouse built in 1825 which happens to be the oldest structure in South Florida. The white brick tower has been through Seminole Wars and consequently fires burnt much of it. When the lighthouse was rebuilt in 1855-1856, it was extended from its original 65-feet to its current height at 95-feet. Today, park rangers offer tours of the lighthouse and adjoining cottage to the public.
Crandon Park serves as a public beach with stretches of sandy shores and barbecue pavilion. Open from 8 am until sunset, the park makes up the northern one third of Key Biscayne and is open 365 days a year.
For the boating fiends, Stiltsville Sandbar is just 2 miles offshore and features homes built literally on stilts. Located in the waters of Biscayne National Park, Stiltsville was built during the days of prohibition when gambling was allowed a mile offshore, hence the location of this chain of homes a mile offshore. Clients were taken by ferry to enjoy an evening of gambling and fun. During the 1980’s, aka Miami Vice days, the area was used for seaplanes to drop off contraband goods which were then passed along to speedboats that would race away. Stiltsville has been the site of many film and photo shoots as well as the home to many wild parties. Today, the homes located here are used as shelter from a rainstorm or simply as a place to have a good time.
Key Biscayne is home to the original Lipton Tennis Tournament, currently known as the Sony Ericsson Tournament. Every Spring, the top tennis players from around the world compete for the grand prize in this hard court tournament. The tournament takes place at the Crandon Tennis Center, which during the year is open for public use, perhaps to budding superstars.
The Miami Seaquarium has been a Miami landmark since 1955, when it was the largest marine-life attraction in the world. The Seaquarium is home to many famous stars, including Bebe, a bottlenose dolphin born in 1956. She was featured in a two-page photo spread of Life Magazine, and in the Top Deck Show at the aquarium and was featured in many films and photo shoots. We know her as “Flipper.” From 1963-1967, 88 television episodes and 2 movies were filmed at the Seaquarium starring Flipper who still performs today. Other famous stars include Lolita the Killer Whale (7,000 pounds of beauty and intelligence) and Salty the Sea Lion (featured in the 1967 movie by the same name), performing for Seaquarium audiences still today. Visitors can see Manatees ( a local endangered species) as well as sea turtles, crocodiles and sea turtles and may also swim with the dolphins! Miami Seaquarium teaches visitors to participate in the conservation of wildlife, and was the first place to perform cataract surgery on a sea lion. The Seaquarium offers a summer camp and works closely with the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and the University’s Marine Science department.
A quick drive over the bridge takes you to another world where time stops … and vacation starts.