Located just off the southeast corner of metro Miami, Key Biscayne is an idyllic island that’s connected to the mainland by a bridge, making it easily accessible.
Key Biscayne has a population of just less than 13,000 residents and is well-known for its stunning beach parks, unique historic lighthouse, and all-around cool vibe that’s similar to Key West and Key Largo – but much closer to civilization.
There are a variety of dining and lodging options on Key Biscayne, and whether it’s fishing, golfing, boating, or just relaxing on the beach you’re interested in, you’ll find plenty to do.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Key Biscayne, Florida.
1. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park lies on the south end of Key Biscayne. It’s the perfect destination for those looking to experience unspoiled Florida nature without hoofing it to a more remote location like Key West.
In addition to its awe-inspiring beaches and amazing ocean vistas, the state park is home to a historic lighthouse that’s among the oldest structures in the county.
Lighthouse tours are available, and most visitors choose to spend an entire day in the park enjoying its historical and natural attractions together.
There are several multi-use trails, and covered seating and picnic areas too.
2. Crandon Golf Course
Crandon Golf Course is considered by many golf aficionados to be one of the state’s best values. Though there are less expensive options, most of them can’t hold a candle to Crandon’s fantastic design and scenic but challenging holes.
Crandon’s 18-holes play just shy of 7,500 yards, making it longer than the average course, but there are a variety of tee box options to accommodate players of most ages and skill levels.
It’s not uncommon for celebrities and pros to play at the course when in the area. Tee times go quickly during peak times, so if that’s when you’ll be playing, make your reservations in advance.
3. Ayesha Saffron
For a unique dining experience with a bit more class and refinement than you’ll find at many local restaurants, Ayesha Saffron on Crandon Boulevard would be a great choice.
Featuring a full menu of Indian dishes – including naan bread, tikki masala, lentil soups, and a variety of curries, – previous guests have noted that the exotic spices and fresh ingredients made for a winning combination.
Ayesha Saffron probably isn’t a good fit for those looking to feed a large, finicky family on the cheap, but for those in search of a unique dining experience who don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, it’s well worth a stop for lunch or dinner.
Stiltsville is a conglomeration of abandoned homes and businesses jutting from the ocean on stilts a little more than a mile off the coast of Key Biscayne.
The structures were built decades ago as a way for shady entrepreneurs to get around booze and gambling laws that didn’t extend past the shoreline.
Many of the buildings have been destroyed in hurricanes over the years, but the ones that are left are being preserved by a local non-profit organization.
Boat tours to Stiltsville are easy to catch from local marinas, and the area is a popular destination for fisherman and SCUBA divers as well.
5. Crandon Park
Crandon Park sits at Key Biscayne’s northern end, opposite the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, and it tends to get more tourist traffic than its southern neighbor.
Crandon Park features a two-mile stretch of scenic beach and includes beach volleyball courts, a nature center, and covered gazebos that are the perfect places to escape the sun and enjoy a bite to eat.
During peak times on the weekends and when schools are out during the summer, Crandon Park can get crowded, but during the week and in the morning, it’s still possible to find a bit of your own space.
6. Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Bay Nature Center
Named after a local environmentalist who dedicated much of her life to preserving south Florida’s wild areas, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Bay Nature Center is comprised of more than 160 acres of undeveloped land in Crandon Park.
Though it’s possible to see the Miami skyline from the center, in many ways, it’s worlds away. It’s a popular destination for those interested in learning about and immersing themselves in local ecosystems.
The center is home to an impressive fossilized reef and a variety of trails. Several tour and activity options are offered regularly as well.
7. Key Biscayne Village Green Park
Key Biscayne Village Green Park is located near the center of town. Though it’s not as large as some of Key Biscayne’s other parks, it’s a popular outdoor recreation destination, especially for those with kids.
There’s a large playground and splash fountain, and for parents who’d rather watch from a safe distance than join in the fun, there are shaded seating areas nearby.
For dog owners, there’s a dog park. Runners and walkers often follow the park’s borders, especially in the morning and afternoon hours when it’s generally cooler.
The park is free to use, open from sunrise to sunset, and there’s free parking nearby.
8. Biscayne National Park Guided Tours
Though most of the area’s popular attractions are perfect for do-it-yourselfers, many visitors would rather have a professional take care of all the little details.
Biscayne National Park Guided Tours are perfect options for the latter group. There’s no better way to get unique insights into the area and the things you’re seeing than as part of a guided tour.
Biscayne National Park Institute offers visitors a variety of tour options that include both natural and historic sites, like the Maritime Heritage Trail, Jones Lagoon, and the lighthouse in the Boca Chita Historic District.
Tours can be booked online or at the national park visitor’s center, and there are options appropriate for those of most ages and interests.
9. Biscayne National Park’s Maritime Heritage Trail
Florida has more coastline than any other state with the exception of Alaska, so it’s no wonder that the state has such a rich nautical history.
The waters off Florida’s coats are littered with shipwrecks, and they attract historians, anglers, and divers year-round.
Biscayne National Park’s Maritime Heritage Trail is the perfect way to see a variety of wrecks and learn about how they went down.
Maps and brochures are available at the park’s visitor center, and guided tour options are available as well.
Wreck sites are accessible by boat only; some offer SCUBA excursions in addition to sightseeing tours.
10. Miami International Boat Show
The Miami International Boat Show is one of the country’s premier annual boat shows, and it’s taking place over five days in mid-January 2020.
It’ll be held at the Miami Marine Park in nearby Virginia Key. For dreamers interested in getting up-close-and-personal with fabulous boats and yachts, there’s no better place to do it.
Standard and VIP admission tickets are available, and the show has always been known for its fantastic food, live entertainment, and variety of new boats and yachts, many of which are officially unveiled at the show each year.
Most guests end up staying at the show longer than expected, and those looking to avoid the crowds should consider a morning visit.
11. Rusty Pelican
The Rusty Pelican is perhaps Key Biscayne’s most iconic restaurant. It’s especially popular with the weekend brunch crowd, who like to sip champagne, savor fresh local seafood, and gaze out at the beautiful bay.
The restaurant has been around since 1978 and attracts visitors from all walks of life. Though it’s among the more expensive of Key Biscayne’s eateries, it consistently provides guests with a unique and unparalleled dining experience.
Their fare ranges from traditional to contemporary and includes many international influences, particularly from the Caribbean and Latin and South Americas.
12. Adrienne Arsht Center
Local performing arts centers don’t generally rank very high on the to-do lists of those visiting the Sunshine State.
Vacationers in Florida are usually seeking theme parks and beaches, but for those interested in art and culture who find themselves in the Miami and Key Biscayne areas, the Adrienne Arsht Center is the perfect place to spend a few evening hours.
The center is composed of an opera house, concert hall, and theater for performing arts, and productions include classical music, dance, and dramatic plays.
Previous guests have commented on the center’s state-of-the-art light and sound systems, comfortable seats, and amazing variety of year-round offerings.
13. Miami Seaquarium
Though the Miami Seaquarium is full of amazing marine animals of nearly every size, shape, and description, it’s far from being just another aquarium.
It’s one of South Florida’s premier children’s attractions, and for weary parents tired of hopping from one location to the next to keep the little ones occupied, it’s the perfect solution.
In addition to entertainment, Seaquarium’s staff are dedicated to education; to this end, they offer a variety of engaging, staff-led activities that are hits with those of all ages.
Discounts and seasonal offers are often available online, so do a little research before heading out.
With so much coastline and warm, shallow water, the bay and ocean around Key Biscayne are home to a vast array of sport fish, and the area draws serious saltwater anglers from all over the country.
Shore fishing is a popular method of angling, and many of the aforementioned parks on Key Biscayne are prime locations. But for those who’d rather get offshore with a professional guide, there are a seemingly endless number of options as well.
Tarpon, snook, permit, grouper, and bonefish are among the most sought after quarries. Though some are relatively easy to catch, others really require local knowledge and specialized equipment.
Ask for a local referral or two and check guide’s reviews online before booking.
15. Deering Estate
Charles Deering was a wealthy Midwest Industrialist who purchased an estate along the Miami coast in the ‘20s and turned it into his family’s winter retreat.
The Deering Estate is in the southern portion of Miami just across from Key Biscayne; it’s considered one of the state’s most unique and significant historic sights.
The grounds are nothing less than stunning, and the home is filled with period art, antiques, and housewares that were the height of luxury by the standards of the day.
The estate’s grounds also feature archaeological items, gardens, and fountains. Guided tours are available, as are special events and educational programs.