By enjoyFloridaBeaches.com January 2, 2017
Key Biscayne is only 15 minutes from South Miami; however, it has all the allure of South Florida on a five-mile barrier island that feels worlds away from the bustle and excitement of a large city.
Key Biscayne is home to the Village of Key Biscayne, which is sandwiched between Crandon Park to the north and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park to the south. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east of the island, with Biscayne Bay and Miami to the west.
If you’re a bicyclist, getting around Key Biscayne is super easy. Key Biscayne is remarkably bike-friendly, with bike lanes along its main roads and a bike trail that winds through the flat terrain of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. In addition to biking, the island offers a variety of outdoor activities, including tennis, golf, fishing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, boating, and sailing.
Key Biscayne Beaches
The beaches on Key Biscayne are relatively bare, with few facilities. However, they provide the perfect escape from the mainland. Beachgoers feel a world away when on Key Biscayne, which is quiet, tranquil, and peaceful.
Crandon Park is at the north end of Key Biscayne and is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. Its two-mile long beach has dozens of palm trees that provide plenty of shade for an afternoon picnic, and a great place to relax.
The beach at Crandon Park has an offshore sandbar that calms the ocean waves, making it a brilliant-blue escape for children to play while adults relax.
At the southern end of the park, there are cabanas with showers, which are available on a first come, first served basis. And at the northern end of the park, there is a playground, carousel, an area for roller skating, and a tennis center that hosts the Sony Ericsson Open every March.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is at the south end of Key Biscayne. Its sandy Atlantic beach is just over a mile long and was ranked as a top ten U.S. beach by Dr. Beach from 2008-2015.
The park has a bike path, nature trails, a sea wall that's perfect for fishing, and is home to the Cape Florida Lighthouse. The fine, white coral sand beach is perfect for walking, with no rocks on the beach. Swimmers love Cape Florida Beach because the sand and grass beds slope into the ocean and keep the biggest waves offshore.
Virginia Key is a barrier island north of Key Biscayne that’s also accessible via the Rickenbacker Causeway. It features beautiful sandy beaches and is the proud home of Virginia Key Beach Park and the Miami Seaquarium.
Virginia Key Beach Park is rich in civil-rights history, and today sustains the largest mangrove wetland in the state. Amenities include a concession stand, historic mini train, carousel, picnic pavilions, two playgrounds, and a bathhouse. Annual events are held at the park, which is also a beautiful venue for beach weddings.
The Miami Seaquarium is at the southern tip of Virginia Key. It sits on 38 acres and is a marine park with one of the world's largest collections of marine animals. It features marine life exhibits and several daily shows.
Hobie Island Beach Park
Hobie Island Beach Park is on Hobie Island, also north of Key Biscayne, and less than a mile from the mainland. It's one of the best places for windsurfing in Florida, because of the constant wind across the inlet.
There's plenty of parking along the beach, which is also popular with dog owners who bring their four-legged companions to play in the sand and refreshing water.
Attractions and Things to Do on Key Biscayne
As you drive to Key Biscayne, you’ll pass the Miami Seaquarium on Virginia Key, something the entire family will enjoy. The Seaquarium features animal encounters, shows, exhibits, and animal information.
Crandon Golf is a championship 18-hole golf located at the northern end of Key Biscayne. It’s the only public golf course on Biscayne Bay, and it’s surrounded by water, mangroves, and tropical foliage.
On the southern tip of Key Biscayne, in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, is the 19th-century Cape Florida Lighthouse, which is one of the most celebrated landmarks on Key Biscayne. Originally constructed in 1825, the State of Florida owns the lighthouse and historic compound. The complex includes a restored, 95-foot white-brick tower and a replica of the lighthouse keeper's 1825 cottage. Free, guided tours take visitors to the top of the lighthouse to enjoy a scenic, 360-degree view.
One of the most popular spots on Key Biscayne is the artificial reef that’s just offshore. It was made entirely from recycled material, including old tug boats and airplane parts.
For the adventurous, an hour south of Key Biscayne, check out the Maritime Heritage Trail where you can explore the remains of some of the shipwrecks off the Florida coast. While there, you’ll also find some of Florida’s most astounding scuba diving and fishing opportunities at Florida’s only underwater heritage trail.
Of course, you'll find restaurants featuring seafood and American dishes on Key Biscayne. But you can also enjoy Indian, Italian, and Vegetarian dishes. With restaurants offering the simplest of fare to the finest dining, you'll love the food choices on Key Biscayne.
If you’re an early riser, stop by La Boulangerie for your beach-side breakfast. The croissants here are handmade daily. Try the Guava and Cheese Croissant to start your day on the beach.
Hungry for a burger? Don’t miss Dune Burgers On the Beach at the Ritz-Carlton. The restaurant features outdoor seating and a simple menu that hits the spot to keep you going during an active day on the beach.
If you want to enjoy the view as you dine, check out the Rusty Pelican that combines incredible dining with unforgettable sunsets. This upscale restaurant offers views of sparkling Biscayne Bay and the twinkling Miami skyline while featuring a modern American menu with local seafood.
For a local favorite, there’s Boater’s Grill, tucked into No Name Cove in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Located in what was once a pirate and smuggler’s hideaway, this eatery has become one of South Florida’s favorite seafood restaurants.
There are two hotels on Key Biscayne, although the village is dotted with magnificent condominiums, vacation rentals, and apartments.
If you’re looking for luxury, the Ritz-Carlton on Key Biscayne is a beautiful property on the beach. The hotel features separate family and adult oceanfront pools. Furthermore, there’s a full-service, 25,000-square-foot spa, fitness center, and a world-class tennis center.
The Silver Sands Resort features both courtyard and oceanfront rooms, as well as private cottages. The resort is small, quaint, and secluded with the ambiance you expect on a tropical island.
There are dozens of vacation rentals on Key Biscayne. Key Colony for Guests is a 40-acre condominium complex with easy beach access for property residents.
Additional accommodations are usually available throughout the year, some with beachfront access, and most within a short walk to the beach.
The Village of Key Biscayne has several shops and stores, so you’ll be able to find about anything you could need while on the island. Luxury shopping is also close by in Miami, which is just 30 minutes away.
Weddings on Key Biscayne are unique, with many couples proclaiming their vows against an unforgettable backdrop of Florida’s Atlantic Ocean. The Ritz-Carlton can provide everything you need for a beach wedding or a grand resort wedding in a ballroom.
And if you dream of having a beach wedding close to nature in a park, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Crandon Park, or Virginia Key could be the perfect venue for you. Local vendors are ready to help with everything you need, including wedding planners who can coordinate.