Bill Baggs State Park - Orlando / Florida Guide
Florida Guide > Places to Visit
Bill Baggs State Park is located at the end of Key Biscayne, to the East of Miami and is connected to the mainland via the Rickenbacker Causeway which passes through Virginia Key. The road onto the islands has a $1 toll which can be negated by stating that you are a patron of one of the restaurants on the islands. Being a State Park the same entrance fees applies $1 per person, $5 per car etc.
The park has two contrasting shorelines; the East coast has white sandy beaches and is lapped by the Atlantic Ocean, while the West coast has a sea wall to protect it from the waters within Biscayne Bay.
The beaches on the East side are idyllic for those who want to relax by the ocean sunbathing, while the rest go for a swim in the Atlantic. There is also an additional attraction to the beach which can seem like a nuisance when you first arrive. Depending on the time of the year beach goers will see areas of the beach ringed off by plastic screens, and children are restricted where they can play using their buckets and spades. These protected areas are monitored closely by park wardens to ensure that no harm comes to the eggs which have been laid by loggerhead sea turtles on the beach and are therefore protected by law and the public with an interested in the future of their reefs and ocean.
The West side is perfect for fishermen, with several small jetties positioned along the wall for those who want to cast off into Biscayne Bay. Besides the fishing the walk along the coast offers fabulous views Vizcaya, Coconut Grove and the sky line of Coral Gables.
If you follow the walk along the West coast you arrive at No Name Harbor, and further on are mangrove wetlands which provide wonderful opportunities to spot native wildlife. For anyone planning on arriving by boat the harbour operates on an honesty policy and is overlooked by a quaint little restaurant which serves freshly cooked seafood. If you would rather cook for yourself there are picnic areas and barbeques located throughout the park.
The park is dominated by the cape Florida lighthouse at the South end of the park. This light house was originally built in 1825. The Seminole Indians then destroyed it in 1836 during the Second Seminole Indian War. It was rebuilt in 1846 and is now the oldest standing building in Miami. Free tours of the lighthouse and the keeper’s cottage museum are offered twice a day, 10am and 1pm, Monday to Thursday for anyone interested in learning the history of the Island and Miami, or getting fit by climbing the 109 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Although your legs may not forgive you, you will be kicking yourself if you turn down the opportunity, as there are panoramic views of Key Biscayne, Virginia Key, the Greater Miami area and the remaining off shore houses know as Stilts Ville.
Your stay here does not need to be rushed as the park has a camp site for anyone interested in staying the night, which gives you the opportunity to watch the spectacular romantic sun setting over Miami, and then the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean. For those who are more practical why not take advantage of the early morning fishing?
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