Welcome to Key Biscayne

This sunny sliver of land just a short drive from the big city offers visitors the complete package for a terrific holiday. Enjoy the outdoors on the beautiful beaches and two major parks, while underwater adventurers will be dazzled by the coastal barrier reef.

History

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Nestled on 10 acres of shoreline, this National Historic Landmark, which was once home to the agricultural industrialist James Deering, has been beautifully restored to its Gilded Age heritage. In the main house, you will see European antiques and art, while lush tropical gardens surround the property. After a tour, enjoy lunch at the Vizcaya Cafe and Shop.

Cauley Square Historic Village

Step back in time and stroll along the landscaped pathways and peruse antique shops and boutiques. Visit the Village Chalet Restaurant and the Tea Room, filled with delicate china, crystal and lace.

CULTURE, ARTS & CRAFTS

Ballet Flamenco La Rosa 

Watch traditional and new works from this company of professional flamenco dancers and take a class in salsa, belly dance, tango and jazz.

BEACHES, SURFING, PARKS & RIVER CRUISES

Miami’s Natural & Artificial Reefs & Wreck Dives

Explore the abundant marine life of the coral reef and mangrove islands. Be wowed by The Florida Straits, 220 miles of protected ecosystem. It’s the third-largest barrier reef in the world and the only one in North America. Be awed by vibrant yellow and red coral canyons, spy tropical fish like yellowtail snapper and parrotfish and glimpse stingrays, sea turtles and even nurse sharks. See these incredible creatures weave their way around the impressive wrecks of sunken ships and keep your eyes peeled for pods of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.

Get up close to the ocean’s shipwrecks and reefs with Diver’s Paradise. It offers day and nighttime dives. It also offers three-day Open Water certification course and various advanced courses.

Emerald Reef

Skill Level: Novice
This small shallow-water reef is considered one of the most beautiful in Miami. The clarity and colour of the water make this a spectacular snorkel or dive location.

Long Reef

Skill Level: Intermediate
You can find almost all kinds of diving here, from 20-foot to 60-foot dives. Explore the wreckage of The Alicia, which went aground on Long Reef off Elliott’s Key in 1905.

Neptune Memorial Reef

Skill Level: Novice
The largest artificial reef ever built. Based on The Lost City of Atlantis, it has concrete statues, columns, domes and arches to scuba.

Wrecks

Alicia

Skill: Moderate
This 345-foot steamer from 1883 makes for an impressive underground scene. It’s alive with colourful reef fish, sponges and coral and the shallow depth makes it a great spot for snorkelers and novice divers.

Sheri-Lynn

Skill Level: Advanced
Launched in 1952, the vessel was broken up across a wide area by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The variety of wreckage, from the severed bow to 50 Chevron tanks, gives plenty of opportunity for exploration.

Biscayne Freighter

Skill Level: Intermediate
Located 4.5 miles east of Key Biscayne, this 120-foot ship used to transport bananas from Central America and the Caribbean Islands. Its shallow sinking at just 55 feet makes it a great location for divers; its depth and coral covered hull makes for astonishing night diving.

DEMA Trader

Skill Level: Intermediate
This 165-foot freighter lies in 80 feet of water about 3.5 miles off Key Biscayne and was sunk in 2003. The ship is keel down in the sand. Large openings were cut in the sides of the superstructure to allow dives into the former galley and cabin areas. Most of the dive can be seen at 60 feet of water.

Rio Miami

Skill Level: Intermediate
This 105-foot tug lies in 72 feet of water and is one of the most intact wrecks in the area. Easily explored, you’ll see barracudas, angelfish, jewfish and many forms of coral.

Almirante

Skill Level: Advanced
This 200-foot steel freighter was sunk in 1974. Divers enjoy exploring its many areas of twisted metal and spotting red gorgonians, jewfish and many other varieties of life. Depths reach below 135 feet making this suitable for a more experienced diver.

Half Moon Preserve

Skill: Novice
A ship with an incredible history. Built in Germany in 1908, it was one of the fastest racing yachts of its day. After capture during World War I, it was converted into a floating saloon permanently moored in Biscayne Bay throughout Prohibition. It ran aground in 1930 and the Half Moon became an Underwater Archaeological Preserve. The shallow waters are usually very calm and it’s a terrific spot for snorkelers and beginner divers. You’ll enjoy the soft corals and sponges that cover the hull and spot angel fish swimming by.

Orion

Skill: Advanced
Sitting at 95 feet, this ship was used during the widening of the Panama Canal in Central America and then as a floating mechanic school. It went unused until it was absorbed it into the artificial reef program. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew tore off the pilot house, which landed in the sand next to the ship and now contains schools of baitfish. Watch out for strong currents brought by The Gulf Stream.

Boat Tours

Step aboard Thriller Miami’s 42-foot vessel and zoom past sites like Monument Island, Fisher Island and South Beach to the open Atlantic Ocean, at speeds of up to 50 mph. Ocean Force Adventures sets out from the Miami Beach Marina on high-speed Zodiacs and tours include Star Island’s celebrity homes and Biscayne Bay’s historic Stiltsville homes. Tropical Sailing boasts a fleet of sailing and power catamarans docked at Miamarina. There are daily trips and activities include snorkelling and sunset sailing.

Vessels from fishing boats to mega yachts are available for private hire, with or without a local guide. Check out Y Charter Miami, Tropical Boat Charters or Biscayne Lady Yacht Charters. The Boatday app and Sailo.com offer charter options tied to the sharing economy. If you wish to spend a little longer on the water, take a Caribbean cruise from PortMiami, home to all of the major cruise lines.

Biscayne National Park

A great base to explore Miami’s unique coastline and ecosystem. Offshore snorkelling takes place at the outer reefs, such as Half Moon and Emerald Reef, and there’s also snorkelling along the mangrove coastline. The Maritime Heritage Trail offers the opportunity to scuba or snorkel around the remains of six wrecks. The newest addition to the trail is the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse.

Crandon Park

Relax on the beach, kiteboard or get sporty at the tennis centre and golf course. From the marina, you can join a sea kayak and snorkel adventure and watch the sunset as you paddle through a mangrove forest.

Oleta River State Park

Popular for its 15 miles of mountain biking trails, this 1,000 acres of green space it’s also a prime spot to explore the mangrove estuaries by water. Take a sunset or full moon kayak tour. See tiny black crabs scurrying along mangrove roots and wading birds like herons and egrets.

Sailboards Miami

Rent kayaks and paddle your way towards the historic Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Twin Sisters Sandbar and a tangle of mangrove estuaries. Windsurfing and paddle boarding available and lessons too.

Miami Seaquarium

Entertain the family at this marine-life entertainment park with daily shows. A killer whale dives through the air while sea lions make children laugh. See slithery moray eels lurk in coral reef caverns and giant sharks patrol their territory. It’s also home to endangered sea turtles and manatees.

HEALTH, WELLNESS & SPA TOURISM

Bayfront Park hosts free Miami yoga classes during the week at the Tina Hills Pavilion overlooking Biscayne Bay and at Little Havana’s Jose Marti Park and the Little Haiti Cultural Centre in the spring and summer months.  Test your strength and balance while convening with nature by practising yoga on a stand-up paddleboard with SUP Yoga at Crandon Park.

ECOTOURISM, WILDLIFE & THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Deering Estate at Cutler

Go wild on the 444-acre Deering Estate at Cutler, a reserve that offers environmental, archaeological and historical treats. The Estate offers daily tours of the historic houses – the Stone House and Richmond Cottage, as well as expert-led tours of the lush natural areas where fossil bones have been found that date back 50,000 years. The Canoe Tour is a popular excursion from September-May with a stop on Chicken Key, a seven-acre mangrove island and bird rookery about a mile offshore. See manatees and sea turtles on the morning paddle, while moonlight tour-goers can enjoy a campfire with s’mores on Chicken Key.

sport

Fishing

A deep sea fishing trip will take you into the blue of the Atlantic Ocean in search of big fish like tuna, cobia and kingfish that skirt the Gulf Stream. Flats fishing is done in the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay or Florida Bay and is accessed through the Everglades. You’ll be hunting for tarpon, redfish and even sharks.

Fishing conditions are typically best late Autumn through to late spring. There are restrictions on particular species for sustainability purposes. Take advice from a guide to be in the right place for a great catch.

Experienced anglers will want to charter a private boat that typically accommodates up to six anglers and costs around £550 for a half day. Night charters through Biscayne Bay’s flats are popular as certain species, like swordfish or tarpon, are more active. Try chartering from Top Gun Fishing Charters, Miss Britt Charters, Outcast Sportfishing and Bouncer Dusky 33.

Novices can join the ‘party’ boats, larger vessels designed to accommodate 100 anglers where crewmembers are still on hand to ensure everyone is getting their bait on the hook. Try Reward Fleet or the Kelley Fleet. In both private charters and party boats, bait, tackle and equipment are typically provided.

Golf

Crandon Golf is a leading public course. This 18-hole, par-72 championship course offers seven saltwater lakes, challenging sand traps and mangrove thickets with holes overlooking dazzling Biscayne Bay.

The two golf courses at Turnberry Isle Miami include contoured fairways, clever doglegs, challenging bunkers and water features. Named a Best Resort Course by Golfweek, these rolling greens cater to all abilities and the centre offers lessons and clinics.

Running

The magnificent views from The Rickenbacker Causeway make it a popular running destination area, especially from The William Powell Bridge. There are bathrooms and showers along the way and public water fountains to keep you hydrated on this challenging route, which includes a 700-metre climb. For a more tranquil run, continue to The Crandon Park Nature Trail.

Dining

ido Restaurant & Bayside Grill

Bright umbrellas on the deck, a fresh Mediterranean menu and sweeping views of Biscayne Bay make this a top outdoor dining spot. The menu emphasises high quality and organic meats and fish and biodynamic wines. 

Lighthouse Café at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Visit the historic lighthouse dating back to 1825 and then enjoy a fresh fish sandwich from this café perched steps away on a beautiful beach. Open for breakfast and lunch.

Shopping

Bayside Marketplace

Overlooking Biscayne Bay, big names include Gap, Wet Seal and Victoria’s Secret, while small carts and kiosks sell leather goods and gift items. Street performances and concerts take place in the plaza.

Bal Harbour Shops

An outdoor mall lined with tropical palms, koi ponds and art installations. Peruse Chanel, Prada, Valentino and Versace. Or head to boutique Oxygene for Lanvin and Alexander Wang. French bistro Le Zoo is a local hotspot and the perfect place to refuel.

Southland Mall

In South Miami’s Cutler Bay area, this is home to over 120 retailers including Macy’s, Sears and Old Navy. Children’s Attractions include a carousel, indoor playground and bounce house. Grab a bite to eat at one of Southland’s eateries, and then settle into a seat at the 16-screen Regal Cinema.

Village at Gulfstream Park 

Shops along the outdoor palazzo include Bang & Olufsen and Crate and Barrel. Entertainment includes a bowling alley, casino, dance classes and even a race track and there are over 25 restaurants to choose from.

Hotels

Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne

Escape to a luxurious Miami resort that captures the spirit of the Caribbean. Take a dip in one of the pools, get pampered in the spa and energise at the gym or on the tennis courts. Once you’ve finished being busy, you can dine on dishes from across the globe at one of the finest Biscayne Bay hotels. If you’re travelling with children, they can have an adventure of their own at the Ritz Kids club.  

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