BILL BAGGS STATE PARK

Beach Scene

Bill Baggs State Park

The jewel in the crown is Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Have you ever been on a beach that was voted one of the Top 10 Beaches in the U.S. looking out to sea and asking can it get any better than this? The entire southern third of the island was wrenched from the hands of developers in 1967, in large part due to the efforts of Bill Baggs, editor of the Miami News, for whom the park is named. The award winning one mile stretch of beach is never overly crowded as the park gates close after a certain number of visitors enter. This being the case, make sure to arrive early in the day. Although the beach is totally natural (no replenishment is needed on a natural beach) and the sand amazingly soft and white, there is often a line of seaweed at the high water mark which may give shelter to flies and mites. There are also beds of turtle grass a short distance from the shore. If you get into them it is like walking through a wet soggy lawn. This is not a manicured beach...this is the real thing.

Thanks to Hurricane Andrew in 1992, all the vegetation is now native. Before then it was covered in Australian Pine and Ficus trees, which Andrew blew to smithereens. The park was closed for a considerable time after this, but now it's better than ever.

The big attraction is the Cape Florida Lighthouse. There are guided tours of the restored 1825 Cape Florida Lighthouse from Thus. to Mon., 10 AM & 1 PM (Tues. and Wed. closed). Situated on the tip of Key Biscayne, the Cape Florida Lighthouse is the oldest structure in Miami-Dade County. Cultural displays depicting early island life may be seen in the lighthouse keeper's cottage. A video presentation is shown in the former cookhouse.

Anglers can throw in their lines from the seawall along Biscayne Bay for some of the best shoreline fishing in the region, and there are innumerable other activities available such as renting a bike, sailboat, kayak, beach chair, umbrella, paddle boat, to see and enjoy the park both on and off of the water. There are miles of paved roads that are closed to automotive traffic that make for a great family ride or roller-blade.

The park has two fair restaurants, Lighthouse Cafe and Boater's Grill, specializing in fresh seafood with a Cuban touch. The Lighthouse Cafe is on the beach beside the lighthouse and Boater's Grill is overlooking No Name Harbor, which boasts some of the best sunsets anywhere. The restaurants are open seven days a week, Lighthouse 9am to sundown and Boater's Grill from 9am to 9pm.

Parking
Admission Fee: US$8.00 per vehicle, including up to 8 visitors. Single-occupant vehicle is US$4.00. US$2.00 each per bicycle/individual walk-in.

Bill Baggs Beach

Cape Florida Lighthouse
Bill Baggs Beach
Cape Florida Lighthouse

Bill Baggs Beach

No Name Harbour
Bill Baggs Beach
No Name Harbour

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