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Bill Baggs State Park, Key Biscayne, FL

by

Jack Kelleher

 

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The next time that you are in Miami, FL visit Bill Baggs State Park; this little known bit of paradise is approximately 8 miles EAST of Miami, FL at the east end of Key Biscayne Island.    The park was severely ravaged by hurricane Andrew in 1992.  The state of Florida has very wisely decided to use this tragedy to correct an earlier error of commission.  Man, in the early part of the 20th century, had introduced many non-indigenous plants to the island; Mother Nature removed them.   Only native plants have been used in the restoration of this state park. 

 The first turn after you enter the park leads to “No Name Harbor” this is an excellent jumping off point of cruisers to the Bahamas and an excellent entrance to Biscayne Bay and Miami.  The anchorage is protected on all sides.  Caution some if the winds clocks to the northwest you may have anchor holding difficulties (see Karl Sydor’s article “No Name Harbor”).   The views the amenities – there is a lovely restaurant, bike and hiking paths hat lead to the beach and Cape Florida Lighthouse.   Whether you come by car or boat there are normally a variety of boats in the anchorage enjoying the beautiful weather or hiding from a cold front. 

 As you continue east through the park you circle around park and suddenly realize that there are houses about a mile offshore.  Yes, a whole rural community of houses built on piling out in the shallow that surround the bay.  This is Statesville as fantastic sight – for more information visit http://www.nps.gov/bisc/stiltsville/stiltsvillewelcome.htm

 Further around the island is Cape Florida Lighthouse originally built in 1825; its job was to protect mariners from the shallows of Biscayne Bay.   Tours are available; however, you should call ahead to be certain that it will be open

 when you are there (Bill Baggs Cape Florida Recreation Area, (305) 361-5811.).   For more in depth information regarding the lighthouse visit http://www.key-biscayne.com/about/light.html. 

 

The most spectacular view is from the beach at the eastern end of the park.  You look south and see the Lighthouse, east and north and you see the open ocean look northwest and see South Beach in the distance.  You suddenly realize how far you have come and yet how close you are to Miami. 

 

 

For additional information on Hurricane Andrew see http://www.mcguinnessonline.com/andrew/index.htm

 

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