Guidebook

Biscayne National Park: Escape to Nature near Miami

After boating or paddling to one of the islands, walk these forest paths to find even greater solitude.

Jesse Weber

Description

Biscayne National Park is one of the largest marine parks in the national park system. It’s 95% water, so the vast majority of the natural environment is beneath the surface. The warm, clear waters host a diverse ecosystem with coral reefs, bountiful fish, dolphins, and manatees. That’s why boating, paddling, fishing, snorkeling, and diving are far more popular than hiking in this national park. You won’t want to miss the water activities, but you might also want to stretch your legs on one of the park’s short hiking trails.

The only area of the park on the mainland is the Dante Fascell Visitor Center. That’s where you’ll find the Jetty Trail, a short boardwalk popular with local families for fishing and nature viewing. You can launch your own canoe or kayak from there, or enter by water from elsewhere. Nearby commercial marinas offer boat rentals and charters.

The best time to visit Biscayne is in the winter. The warmer months can still be good for water activities, but camping and hiking become quite uncomfortable with heat, humidity, and bugs. You’ll want a breezy winter day to enjoy perfect temperatures and minimal mosquitoes on the islands.

Upon arrival, Biscayne feels more like a Miami local park than a national park thanks to its free entry, modest facilities, and community atmosphere. You can easily spend a day by seeing the visitor center and museum, walking the jetty, and taking a short paddle trip on the bay. To spend more time and experience the wilder corners of the park, you’ll need to venture farther on the water. You can follow a paddle trail to any of the several keys across the bay, or you can motor to one of their docks. On these islands, you’ll find the campgrounds and the rest of the hiking paths, plus shallow bays and mangrove creeks to explore by canoe or kayak.

Jetty Trail

Jetty Trail

0 - 1 hrs
1.2 km
1 m
1 m
A boardwalk by the national park visitor center, with spots to fish and look out over Biscayne Bay.
Easy
Private
Boca Chita Trail

Boca Chita Trail

0 - 1 hrs
0.9 km
0 m
0 m
Short loop among palm trees and sunny forest on Boca Chita Key.
Easy
Private
Adams Key Trail

Adams Key Trail

0 - 1 hrs
1.5 km
1 m
1 m
A brushy trail beginning from the picnic area on the remote Adams Key.
Easy
Private
Elliott Key Campground Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Elliott Key Campground Loop

0 - 1 hrs
1.9 km
3 m
3 m
A path through the forest where you can find some small, secluded beaches on Elliott Key.
Easy
Private
Spite Highway South
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Spite Highway South

4 - 5 hrs
16.5 km
25 m
25 m
Southern portion of the Spite Highway Trail, beginning from the campground on Elliott Key.
Easy
Private
Spite Highway North
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Spite Highway North

2 - 3 hrs
10.6 km
12 m
12 m
Northern portion of the Spite Highway Trail, beginning from the campground on Elliott Key.
Easy
Private