Biscayne National Park Guide

Home to undeveloped islands, coral reefs, mangrove coasts, and diverse wildlife, Biscayne National Park is a watery wonderland that is well worth a visit. 

If you want to witness rare fishes, stunning aquatic life, exhilarating water activities, and everything else in between, then Biscayne National Park is a paradise for that.

According to National Parked, 95% of the park- nearly 173,000 acres is underwater. And other than the Convoy Point area, you will need a boat to access the park.

So in this guide, we’ll cover best hotels to stay near Biscayne National Park, best things to do, where to stay, weather, maps, and much more. Let’s begin!

Where Is Biscayne National Park


ParkBiscayne National Park
Founded 1974
Things To Do Kayaking, Snorkeling, Scuba diving and many more
Hotels Near Biscayne National Park Roseville Hostel, Travelodge and many more
Price Free Entry
Camping Location Multiple Locations

Where Is Biscayne National Park?

Biscayne National Park is located in south Florida towards the east of Miami. The closest cities to Biscayne National Park are Florida City and Homestead, which are 9.3 and 8.9 miles, respectively.

If you are traveling via flight, then you can book a ticket to Miami Airport, which is only 21.6 miles away from Biscayne National Park.

Some other airports in close vicinity include West Palm Beach, Key West, Lauderdale-Hollywood International, etc.


This Park is one of the unique national parks in the United States since 95% of the park comprises water.

Located between the Miami and Florida Keys, Biscayne is home to four distinct marine ecosystems and the third-largest coral reef in the world. 

It is the largest marine sanctuary in the national park systems encompassing over 172,000 acres of coral reefs, tropical islands, turquoise waters, mangrove forests, and 10,000 years of human history.

It is also home to exotic animals like peregrine falcons and American Crocodiles. 

It is a perfect family-friendly destination where you can enjoy a pyramid of fun activities on both water and land, such as hiking, Kayaking, boating, and fishing. 

Biscayne National Park Guide


This Park has a long history spanning over 10,000 years when ocean levels were low, and Biscayne Bay was empty. Water levels rose around 4,000 years ago and flooded the bay. 

In 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon was the first-ever European to discover the Florida Key. Spanish explorers came to the region in the late 16th century and Florida under Spanish rule.

The bay’s name has been attributed to the Basque shipwreck sailor who lived in the area. 

In 1890, as modern communities began to grow in and around Miami, developers started to look at the underdeveloped keys in the south of Key Biscayne as significant territory.

An industrial seaport was then proposed for Biscayne Bay mainland shores in 1962. 

In 1968, the bay was designated as a national monument, and a few years later, in 1974, Biscayne Bay was redesignated as a national park by an act of congress. 1

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Things to Do in the Park

Since 95% of the park is under, it offers many water activities and outdoor adventures. Here top five things to do in this Park: 

Take a Boat Tour

One of the best ways to see the Park is by getting into the water.

The Park institutes many different tours and cruises that take you through the turquoise waters and provide the perfect opportunity to learn about the park’s ecosystems and history.

Take a guided boat tour to the Boca Chita Key and lighthouse to see the mangroves and a lot of wildlife, or cruise to the beautiful Biscayne Bail to enjoy the calm waters of the bay. 

Canoeing and Kayaking

Kayaking and canoeing are some of the most fun ways to explore the mangrove coastlines lining the bay.

Along the canals and creeks, the water is calm, making paddling easy for beginners. Spring and winters are ideal for Kayaking and canoeing as the mangroves teeming with wildlife.

You can also watch several kinds of bird species along the shores and nests on the trees.

Keep your eyes open for the tiny crabs on the beach and a fleeting view of a manatee snout coming out of water for air. 

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Scuba diving snorkeling is one of the most popular activities to do in the this Park.

The Maritime Heritage trail is the ultimate spot for snorkeling, where you can explore six different historic shipwrecks from different eras.

The course is accessible by boat, and you can book the 3-hour tour to experience the reef, explore the shipwrecks and sponges in the mangroves. 


Another great way to explore the natural beauty and unique landscape of this Park is Paddleboarding.

Launch your paddleboard or hop on a paddle tour with Biscayne National Park Institute.

In addition to paddleboarding, they also offer Kayaking and canoeing to explore the mangrove canals of the Jones Lagoon.

You can also take guided tours to the most remote areas to see the places seen by only a few people.  2

Best Time to Visit 

Thanks to Florida’s favorable weather throughout the year, there’s no wrong time to visit this Park.

But still, the best time depends on what you want to do there. If diving or snorkeling is your plan, water is warmest in the summer that you won’t even need a wetsuit.

For those who want to camp, winter would be the best time to visit the park. 

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Make sure to download the map of this park showing all the highlights, boating routes, reefs, and water navigation aids to simplify your trip planning and make the most of your time.

Click here to download the PDF Map of the park or visit NPS Website

Camping Locations

This Park has two campgrounds on Elliot Key and Boca Chita Key islands, accessible only through the boat. 

Elliot Key is a campground that is the biggest in the park and includes tent sites and boat docking. 

Boca Chita Key Campground is quite popular among tourists for its beautiful waterfront views and lush green campground.

Camping is available on a first-come-first-served basis, so no advance reservations are required. 3

Weather of Biscayne National Park

Thanks to its subtropical climate, this Park receives abundant sunshine year-round. Seasons are divided into November to April, dry season, and May to October wet season.

In the dry season, temperate averages between 66 and 76°F while wet season temperatures average between 76 and 85°F

Summers are hot and humid, while winter brings mild and dry weather with occasional rain.

Due to its location, this Park is also affected by hurricanes and frequent thunderstorms, which can lead to the park’s closing.

Make sure to check the current weather before visiting. 

Best Hotels Near Biscayne National Park

There are tons of accommodations near the Park, including a range of hotel chains in Homestead, Miami, and the keys.

Here are some best hotels that give you easy access to the park:

  • Roseville Hostel
  • Travelodge
  • Best Western Gateway to the Keys
  • Hilton Garden Inn Homestead, FI
  • Tru by Hilton Florida City, FI
  • TownPlace Suites Miami Kendall West

Entry Fee & Passes Of Biscayne National Park

This park has no entry fee, and is visitors can visit the park free of cost 24/7 all year round. 

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Checklist of Things to bring

Here’s a list of basics you should pack before venturing in the Park: 

  • Large Day Backpack 
  • Right clothing 
  • Bathing suit 
  • Sturdy Hiking shoes 
  • Waterproof shoes
  • Sun Protection items 
  • Water and high energy snacks 
  • Binoculars 
  • Camera
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Power bank
  • First-aid kit 
  • Map & Compass


How much time should I spend in Biscayne National Park? 

Biscayne National Park is not like any other national park where you can drive, hike, and set off exploring. It can be explored easily in half a day to one full day.

What makes the Biscayne National Park so unique?  

Biscayne National Park is home to one of the top scuba diving areas in the United States and the world’s third-largest living coral reef, which formed over thousands of years. 

Is Biscayne National Park Safe to Visit?

Biscayne National Park is one of the most secure and calming places to visit. It’s family-friendly and makes a perfect holiday destination for kids and adults alike. 

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The National Planning Cycles is committed to producing high-quality content that follows industry standards. We do this by using primary sources, such as white papers and government data alongside original reporting from reputable publishers that were appropriate for the accuracy of information while still being unbiased. We have an editorial policy that includes verifiable facts with due credit given where applicable.


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