I’m excited to partner with our sponsor Jeep to share our adventure at the Cape Florida Lighthouse.
I decided to visit the oldest structure in Miami-Dade, the lighthouse at Bill Baggs State Park in Key Biscayne. First erected in 1825, the Cape Florida Lighthouse was originally built to guide sailors around the Florida reef helping them avoid an unfortunate accident. Today, it’s a cultural landmark and has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
You must join one of the free tours to actually go inside the lighthouse and walk up the 109 steps to the top. After that hike up the stairs you’ll enjoy breath-taking views from the wrap-around balcony at the top of the structure. The view is absolutely worth the trek up the rickety stairs.
To the north onlookers get a view of world-famous Miami Beach. To the east swirls the Atlantic Ocean, home to dolphins, stingrays and manatees. In the south, the floating homes of Stiltsville are still visible standing over the water. And in the west, adventure seekers capture an unparalleled view of vibrant Cape Florida and Key Biscayne.
Tours of the lighthouse are available at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., Thursday through Monday. I also recommend taking a look at the lighthouse keeper’s cottage a few steps from the lighthouse. It’s a typical northeastern house from the 1800’s from two fireplaces and stunning views of the ocean.
Can Children Visit The Cape Florida Lighthouse?
Children must be 42” tall (106 cm) and able to independently climb. Infants may be carried in a harness with arms free to use handrail. Pets are not permitted.
Location & Hours
Bill Baggs State Park is open from 8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year; and is located at 1200 S. Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne FL 33149
Other Activities at Bill Baggs State Park
Now that you’re at this beautiful park, enjoy all the other activities available. Bring a swimsuit and enjoy the day at the beachVisitors can delve into history on guided tours through the lighthouse and keeper’s cottage or explore the park on foot, on a bicycle or by boat or kayak.
The park has a 1.5-mile-long paved bike path and unpaved service roads where you can enjoy easy cycling. Ride a few miles in a loop by routing through the various paths and roadways. The terrain is completely flat.
Some paths will take you beneath the trees, and others offer views of Biscayne Bay. If you’re lucky, you might spot an eagle ray or manatee.
Some of the best shoreline fishing in the region is available on the west coast of the park along Biscayne Bay. There are eight fishing platforms, and a section of the seawall at the southern tip of the park available for fishing.
Nature trails are located on the west side of the park. To the north is a trail through the mangrove wetlands, beginning 100 feet north of the Boater’s Grill parking area.
An Invitation From Jorge Brito, Park Manager
“Just 15 minutes away from downtown Miami lies Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, an urban oasis that seemingly transports you to a remote island far away from any busy city life.
Enjoy a walk along our beautiful beach and thriving beach dunes, spotting ghost crabs, shorebirds, rays and fish along the way. During sea turtle nesting season, you’ll see our protected turtle nests as we are a very important natural shoreline for nesting turtles.
Locals know this park as “El Farito,” named for the historic Cape Florida Lighthouse, the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County. First built in 1825, the Cape Florida Lighthouse is nearly 200 years old. During tours, visitors can climb 109 steps to witness the view from 95 feet in the air. Once at the top, we often see schools of fish, rays, sharks and even a dolphin or manatee, if you’re lucky!
We also take pride in our restored hardwood hammocks and mangrove restoration areas, a popular stopover for birds during migration, making this a hot spot for birders to congregate and spot all kinds of warblers, ovenbirds, woodpeckers, thrushes and even the occasional hummingbird.
Butterflies are abundant along our nature trails and enjoy the vast array of wildflowers throughout the wooded areas.
Magnificent frigate birds, osprey, ibis, herons, egrets, manatees and dolphin can be spotted along the seawall and around our eight fishing platforms where visitors spend their days fishing the waters of Biscayne Bay.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is an incredible natural area of restoration and preservation, and our park rangers take great pride in keeping this a paradise for all visitors to enjoy. My favorite thing about being in the Florida Park Service is engaging visitors, bringing everyone outdoors to enjoy the amenities and activities we have to offer here and sharing everything the outdoors has taught me throughout more than 20 years working at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.
I hope you have a memorable visit!” – Jorge Brito