Bill Baggs State Park has predictably made it to the Top Ten Beaches in America for the last ten years running, but this little oasis barely 15 minutes from downtown Miami, is more than just a beach.
Cape Florida State Park, or "El Farito" as it is also known, is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered with its scenic beaches and crystal clear waters, fishing piers, boardwalks and nature trails for wildlife viewing, biking paths, and the hallmark and centerpoint of the park, a picture-perfect lighthouse with a colorful history.
Its location at the tip of Key Biscayne gives you excellent views of the Ocean as well as Biscayne Bay, and marvelous vistas at both sunrise and sunset.
You can also catch a glimpse of Stiltsville, the legendary village that seems to be floating in the middle of Biscayne Bay, from the very tip of the Key:
Bill Baggs State Park Map
This great State Park has much to offer.
Bill Baggs is a great place to come and enjoy for a whole day, there is plenty to keep you busy, between the great beaches, the fishing jetty, the marina, the restaurants and the many nature trails to traverse either by foot or on a bicycle. And don't forget "el farito", the park's signature landmark that offers some fantastic views from the top.
Spend a few hours at the beach or an entire day exploring, there is really something for every one and this is where it all is:
View Bill Baggs State Park in a larger map
The beaches at Bill Baggs are wide sandy stretches on the Ocean side. Very low key without the glitziness of South Beach, this is a great beach for a day of relaxing.
There is also snorkeling, kayaking and hydro-bikes if you want more action.
The beaches are quite protected with gentle waves for the little ones. However, be advised there are NO LIFEGUARDS at Bill Baggs.
Here's more on Beach and concessions at Bill Baggs.
The Seawall and Fishing Piers
There is a seawall that runs along the Biscayne Bay side on the west. A path runs all along and there are small overhangs that provide some of the best places for fishermen to cast their lines.
You might require a fishing license. You can check the salt water fishing license requirements and order a licence online from the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Mangrove Wetlands and Nature Trails: Walking and Biking
There are many trails and paths that wind around the park and take you along the water for great scenic views, or through the mangrove wetlands and the nature areas in the park.
You can walk around or explore more of the park by bike, bring your own or rent at the concession stand but regardless, watch out for wildlife both inland and in the water.
Here's more on the Nature Trails, Biking Paths and Rentals
The Cape Florida Lighthouse at 95 feet tall, it stands proudly overlooking the grounds, beaches and crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay.
You can visit the Lighthouse and its grounds, climb up to the watch tower for some incredible views.
Here's more on Visiting the Cape Florida Lighthouse.
Pavillions, Picnic Tables, Grills
Lots of shady areas with picnic tables as well as pavillions and barbeque grills all throughout the park. The majority are in the area between the parking lot and the beach, but there are no tables or pavillions directly on the water.
Pavillions are great for larger groups and can be rented from the park.
For rental fee and reservation information visit the Florida States Park site.
Unlike most parks and beaches with a limited offer of snack and fast-food items, the two restaurants at Bill Baggs Park offer a nice alternative for an affordable meal in great surroundings.
There are two restaurants: the Lighthouse Cafe which is by the beach and overlooks the ocean, and the Boaters Grill, at the No Name Harbor on the north side on Biscayne Bay.
Both offer casual dining menus i.e. burgers and sandwiches for lunch, in a relaxed, family friendly atmosphere with killer views and are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Marina: day and overnight docking
There is no overnight camping per se at Bill Baggs State Park, unless you come by boat.
Overnight docking is available at the Marina at the No Name Harbor on the Biscayne Bay side for $20 per boat. Fee for boats entering the marina but not staying overnight is $2.
Also at No Name Harbor is the Boater's Grill restaurant and the start of some of the walking/biking trails.
Getting to Bill Baggs State Park: Park Entrance, Fees, Parking
Bill Baggs State Park is located at the southernmost tip of Key Biscayne. Getting to Key Biscayne from Miami is easy via the Rickenbacker Causeway, which is a toll bridge. It will cost you $2.25 to cross, you only pay once when entering Key Biscayne.
Follow the main road until the very end, you will see the sign for the park entrance.
There is plenty of parking but on weekends, the lots fill up quick. There are two main parking lots that provide access to the beaches, and a smaller lot near the Marina and Boaters Grill restaurant.
You can also get to Bill Baggs State Park by boat and anchoring at the Marina. Entrance fee for visitors arriving by boat is $2 if not docking overnight. Entrance fees are collected on the honor system.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park at a Glance
Where?: Southern Tip of Key Biscayne at 1200 South Crandon Boulevard
Parking: Plentiful, but tight on weekends.
Entrance Fee: Charges are similar to other State Parks and based on number of people in the car.
Vehicles with up to 8 persons $5 - $10, vehicles with single visitor $4 - $6, extra visitors and others i.e. walk-ins and entering by bicycle $2 - $5 per person
Restrooms and Showers: Yes
Other ammenities: beach chair and umbrella rentals, kayak rental and launch, hydro-bike rentals, fishing from seawall piers, nature trails for walking and biking, biking rentals, restaurants, marina for day and overnight mooring and picturesque lighthouse with great views from the top.
Guided tours of the Lighthouse Thursday through Mondays at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Bill Baggs State Park
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