Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Grasses and pond at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Folks come to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park to enjoy more than a mile of white sandy beach beneath the watchful eye of a lighthouse first built in 1825 and reconstructed in 1846. The lighthouse is the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County. Tours are offered twice daily, Thursday through Monday at 10 am and 1 pm. Be prepared for 109 steps to an incredible viewpoint. This is the only lighthouse in the United States that was ever attacked by Indians. The park is also listed by the National Park Service as part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom because escaped slaves set sail from here for the Bahamas, before the lighthouse was first constructed.

The 1.25-mile beach at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is consistently rated as one of the ten best beaches in the United States. The concession stand offers rental umbrellas and chairs, hydro bikes, ocean kayaks and bicycles in addition to the usual snacks, drinks, souvenirs and sundries. There are also a couple nature trails on the west side of the park. One runs along a coastal strand, the other through mangrove wetlands.

The vast majority of activities at the park are limited to daytime only. Boat camping is allowed at No Name Harbor: $20 per boat per night. Youth/Group Camping is allowed at a primitive site on the road to No Name Harbor but campers are essentially restricted to the camping area from sunset to 8 am. Fees: $1.13 per youth per night (includes tax), $5.65 per chaperon per night (includes tax).

For day users, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is open from 8 am until sunset every day of the year. Entry Fees: $8 per vehicle for two to eight occupants; $4 for single occupant vehicles; $2 each for pedestrians, bicyclists and extra passengers. Picnic Pavilions: Three large pavilions with 10 tables each for up to 80 people: $150 each (plus tax) per day. Electric at the big pavilions costs an extra $15 per day. Fifteen smaller pavilions with six tables each for up to 40 people: $100 each (plus tax) per day. There's also a $50 cleaning fee if you don't clean the mess before checking out. Reservations can be made one day in advance by paying the fees at the park entrance station. Pavilion fees do not include park entry fees. All fees quoted are subject to change.

To get there: Take Interstate 95 to Rickenbacker Causeway, then follow the causeway to its end. The park is located off Rickenbacker Causeway at the southern end of Key Biscayne.

Folks walking one of the paved foot trails at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
On one of the foot trails at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Map of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Photos and map are courtesy of Florida State Parks  
Key West area map

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Area map courtesy of National Geographic Topo!