Key Biscayne, FL
Key Biscayne is a not-too-close, not-too-far escape from both the city grind of Miami and the tourist haven of its beaches. Active travelers, boaters, cyclers, and nature-lovers will benefit from a day trip here. It's an island just past Virginia Key, which requires either a car, boat, or bike to get to.
Parking and public transportation at Key Biscayne
Crandon Park is located on the northern end of the island, and offers $5 parking. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is south, with parking included after paying an $8 entry fee. Walkers and bikers pay $2 - 4. Biking from Miami Beach to the end of the island is roughly 30 miles long, with several bridges to cross before reaching Key Biscayne.
Best and worst time go to Key Biscayne
To beat the crowds and traffic, weekdays are best for visitors. Boater's Grill, also known as No Name, is a popular restaurant for both boaters and pedestrians and fills up quickly at lunch time on the weekends.
Admission to Key Biscayne
Entry to the island itself is free of charge. Key Biscayne is home to a little more than 10,000 residents, making it almost a suburb of Miami. Venturing through neighborhoods lined with mansions, dining in local restaurants, and shopping in fancy boutiques are several alternatives to the natural draw of the island. State parks generally charge an entry or parking fee, see above.
Must see/do at Key Biscayne
Bill Baggs or Crandon Park are must-sees. Both parks, aside from providing a natural oasis from the city, have areas for hiking, picnicking, beaching, and biking. The historic Cape Florida Lighthouse is open Thursdays - Mondays with short, guided tours twice daily.
Other places to visit near Key Biscayne
Boater's Grill is a very popular, word-of-mouth restaurant located on the water in Bill Bagg's Park. Known for its fresh fish, especially the whole fried fish, and cold beverages, it is a great spot to enjoy a casual lunch with a gorgeous view.
Insider tip for visitors to Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne is misleading in that one might mistake it as a Florida Key. It is not. The first official Florida Key is Key Largo, which is about an hour drive from Miami International Airport.
Author's bio: Bethany Platanella is a freelance writer, yoga instructor and obsessive traveler based in Miami Beach. Follow her stories at www.bethanyplatanella.com.