Cape Florida Lighthouse
Florida Lighthouse Trail // Along the Buccaneer Trail
If climbing the 109 spiral steps that lead to the top of Key Biscayne’s Cape Florida Lighthouse—Miami-Dade County’s oldest standing structure—doesn’t take your breath away, the views will.
The wraparound balcony at the top of the lighthouse, the star attraction at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, provides views of the Atlantic Ocean, Miami Beach, Key Biscayne and the “floating” homes known as Stiltsville.
“It’s a breathtaking part of the state park,” says Mariana Kellogg, communications and social media coordinator for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. A Key Biscayne native, she says. “It’s an approachable, cool piece of history.”
Built in 1825, the lighthouse has withstood, Civil War battles and Florida’s infamous hurricanes. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The lighthouse is a popular proposal venue and also served as a backdrop for “Der Bachelor,” a German version of the American matchmaking show. Contact the park staff if you’re interested in using the lighthouse, which closes with the park at sundown, as the setting for your own love story.
Allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy the park. Swim or fish on the beach, bike or hike a nature trail, spot local wildlife—marine and mammalian—and enjoy a leisurely picnic. If restaurants are more your speed, the park has a concession stand and restaurant on site.
For close-up animal encounters, take the family to nearby Jungle Island, an eco-adventure park. Tour the gardens, interact with animals from around the world, and explore an Everglades habitat. Online registration is required at jungleisland.com
Key Biscayne is, in fact, an adventure junkie’s paradise. Water sports enthusiasts can enjoy paddle boarding, parasailing, scuba diving, kayaking, surfing, flyboarding and sailing.
But perhaps you would rather explore the lives of the once rich and famous. In that case, don’t miss Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, a historic 54-room Mediterranean Revival mansion.
Make your stay memorable at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami. Indulge your senses with oceanfront dining, a visit to the spa and a drink alongside the pool in a tranquil environment just minutes from the lighthouse. Save time for a round of golf | ritzcarlton.com
Don’t leave Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park without a visit to Boater’s Grill in No Name Harbor. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the waterfront icon serves up Cuban specialties with an emphasis on fresh-caught seafood. Stop for a drink at The Cleat, the restaurant’s bar, touted as being the best spot to catch the sunset | boatersgrill.com
Visitors can tour the tower at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Children must be at least 42 inches tall and able to climb on their own. Babies can be carried in a harness.