Florida’s Underwater Playground
What’s your favorite national park? The United States is actually home to a total of 58 national parks. In fact, many of the lesser-known parks on the list are unsung treasures of natural beauty.
In Florida, Biscayne National Park is a 10,000-year-old gem located within eyeshot of Downtown Miami. The Park protects four distinct ecosystems: the shoreline mangrove swamp, the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay, the coral limestone keys and the offshore Florida Reef. 95% of its 172,000 acres is covered by water, so boating can be an excellent way to experience Biscayne National Park.
Reef excursions are provided on glass-bottom boats and other guided tours, offering tourists crystal-clear views of colorful coral reefs, aquamarine waters and the occasional underwater shipwreck. For those willing to venture below the water’s surface, many snorkeling and diving tours are launched daily from Biscayne Bay. On any given day, visitors may even catch a glimpse of the West Indian Manatee, American crocodile, various sea turtles or peregrine falcon, all endangered or threatened species in Florida.
Lobstering, swimming and fishing are also popular activities at Biscayne National Park. With hundreds of different species of fish in Florida, it’s important to know what fish are protected and what fish are not. Biscayne National Park offers a free Fisheries Awareness Class to help anglers learn more about fishing in the park.
Biscayne National Park operates year-round and offers a variety of indoor and outdoor activities for adventurers of all ages. There is no entry fee to explore the park, but visitors with a Senior or Access pass receive a 50% reduction on tent camping and overnight stays.