Biscayne National Park encompasses 173,000 acres of coral reefs, mangroves, tropical fish and small islands surrounded by the sapphire waters of South Florida’s Atlantic Ocean. Located in Homestead, Florida, this tropical destination gives visitors a glimpse into marine wildlife, unique habitats and native plants and animals. Entrance to the park is near Homestead Bayfront Marina.
The unique aspect about Biscayne National Park is that most of the park is water. There is only one mile of roadway in the mainland of the park. Beyond the visitor center, there is only boat access to the rest of the park. There aren’t any bridges or ferries for motorhomes or an RUV to access other areas. This is the time to fill up that diesel RV or Class A Toy Hauler and hit the road with kayaks and paddleboards.
Dante Fascell Visitor Center
The Dante Fascell Visitor Center is located at Convoy Point. It has a museum that highlights the park’s ecosystems, educational films and a gallery with local artwork. The center offers a full schedule of events, boat tours, programs and nature excursions as well as a gift shop.
Entrance Fees and Restrictions
There is no entrance fee to get into Biscayne National Park. Motorhomes will have to park along with other vehicles in the parking lot. The only campgrounds in the park are located on two of the islands, which are only accessible by boat. Visitors can launch a boat and carry camping gear out to one of the islands, but there are no ferries to take campers to the islands.
Homestead National Parks Trolley makes Biscayne National Park runs on weekends from November through April. Visitors can board the trolley at Losner Park in Homestead. There is free parking at the trolley stop.
Leashed and attended pets are allowed in the area around the visitor center as well as the developed areas on Elliott Key. Only service animals are allowed in other park areas.
Sights to See
Biscayne National Park is home to four ecosystems:
• Mangrove forests
• The southern section of Biscayne Bay
• The northernmost Florida Keys
• Part of the third largest coral reef in the world
The Atlantic Ocean is home to a wide variety of tropical fish and marine mammals such as angelfish, eels, parrotfish, sunfish, manatees, sea turtles and the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Other native animals include the bobcat, raccoons, river otters and deer. Visitors can spend time on the park’s birdwatching trails where they might discover native and unique birds such as white ibis, mangrove cuckoos, warblers, northern mockingbirds and even tropical bird varieties.
Adams Key is a day-use only area. There is a picnic pavilion, toilets and hiking trails. It was home to the historic Cocolobo Club, which was established by millionaire Carl G. Fisher as a retreat. It welcomed famous names such as and Presidents Hoover, Harding, Johnson and Nixon as well as Harvey Firestone, Jack Dempsey and Will Rogers. The original two-story club house burned down in 1974, and the remaining buildings were destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Park Service families now live on the property.
Stiltsville is a community of several houses built on stilts upon submerged land. These houses began being built in the 1930s and make a unique addition to the seascape.
Snorkelers will love the tropical waters surrounding Fowey Rocks Lighthouse. This popular spot has mooring buoys to prevent anchors and ropes from damaging the delicate coral reef system.
Camping is permitted on two of the park’s islands that are only accessible by boat. Guests with a Class A Motorhome or Class C Motorhome may want to check into a local RV park and then spend the day at Biscayne National Park. Traveling with a friend who tows a boat is another good option for RVers.
Boca Chita Key is the most visited area in the park. There are hiking trails and a lighthouse that was built in the 1930s. This key has a campground, and there is an overnight docking fee of $25. Pets are not permitted on this island or on boats in the harbor. While there are restrooms, this is rustic camping at its finest as there is no electricity, drinking water, stores, showers or sinks.
Elliott Key, the largest island in the park, was once used for pineapple farming, sponging and wrecking. Swimming and wildlife viewing are popular activities. There are hiking trails, picnic areas and BBQ grills. This island has restrooms with cold water showers. The campground has an overnight docking fee of $25.
While Biscayne National Park might not be the most convenient place to go in a gas RV or other motorhomes, it makes a great day trip from a local RV park. Miami Everglades RV Resort is about 15 miles away. This resort-style park offers 34 acres of winding pathways, tropical plants and fountains. There is a pool, a hot tub, mini golf, a dog park and restrooms. Visitors with a Class A Toy Hauler can put it to good use and stow canoes, kayaks and paddleboards for peaceful paddling along the mangroves and waterways of Biscayne National Park.