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Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

 Activities at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Beaches

Beaches

Cape Florida's 1.25 miles of natural beach has consistently been ranked as one of the top 10 beaches in the United States by Dr. Stephen Leatherman of Florida International University, aka 'Dr. Beach.' The park's concession offers rental chairs and umbrellas as well as ocean kayaks and hydro bikes. The waves are very gentle, thanks to a reef six miles offshore.

Bicycling

Bicycling

The park has a paved bike path approximately 1.5-miles long and unpaved service roads where you can enjoy easy cycling. You can easily 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. You can rent individual bikes or quad bikes from the park's concession located a few steps from the Lighthouse Cafe.

Participation Requirements

Camping, Boat

Camping, Boat

Visitors are allowed to anchor overnight in No Name Harbor for a fee of $20.00 per boat per night. Mooring to the seawall overnight is not permitted. During operating hours, visitors who have paid the overnight fee have access to coin operated laundry machines and a rinse shower. We also have a free pump out for all boats, a picnic shelter and restrooms. Boater's Grill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Visitors arriving by boat but not anchoring overnight must pay a $8.00 entrance fee. The entrance fee and anchoring fee are both collected by honor system.

Camping, Group

Camping, Group

Please see Youth Camping.

Participation Requirements

Camping, Youth

Camping, Youth

The primitive Youth/Group Camp is accessible from the road leading to No Name Harbor and provides parking, three grills, a fire ring, picnic tables, benches, and 10 wooden tent platforms. Sites are primitive, but a restroom and cold water showers are nearby. The Youth/Group Camp is available to all organized and chaperoned youth groups and secondarily to adult groups. Priority is given to youth groups for the use of this area.

An organized group is six or more people camping together who are members of, or who are sponsored by, a recognized, registered, non-profit organization or a recognized community organization, such as a church, benevolent association, or civic service club.

The maximum number of people in the Youth/Group Camp is 30. Reservations may be made up to 60 days in advance of arrival for youth groups. Reservations may be made up to 30 days in advance of arrival for adult groups.

A ‘youth’ is considered a person under 18 years of age. An ‘adult’ is a person 18 years of age or older, married persons or U.S. military personnel. Youth groups are six or more individuals, at least half of whom are less than 18 years of age. An adult group is a group of at least six individuals, at least half or more are 18 years of age or older. All youth campers must be chaperoned by at least one adult, 21 years of age or older, for each 10 youth campers or fraction thereof. Chaperones must remain with the youth campers while they are in the park.

Campers are restricted to the Youth/Group Camp from sunset until 8:00 a.m. but are allowed to walk to and from the restrooms during that time. Visiting non-campers must pay park entrance fees and must leave the park by sunset. Visitors are not permitted to enter the park after sunset except in emergencies. 

Reservations are required so please contact the park administration office at (305) 361-8779 for availability and reservations. Fees include entrance for all vehicles. Group camping fees may be waived in exchange for volunteer service to the park. Fees are $1.13 per youth / per night and $5.65 per adult / per night (including tax). Fees are to be paid each morning at the Ranger Station.

Pets, alcohol, generators and loud noise or music are prohibited in the Youth/Group Camp. Fires are allowed only in the park grills or fire rings. Gathering of firewood is prohibited. Please secure all food items away from raccoons and other animals. Feeding wildlife is prohibited. Outside vendors are not permitted in the campground. Campers are responsible for keeping the camp clean.

Participation Requirements

Canoeing & Kayaking

Canoeing & Kayaking

Our new launch is available at Beach Access # 1 at the north end of 'Area A.' We have reserved parking spaces directly adjacent to the walkway. Since the portage is several hundred feet, we recommend a boat dolly or an extra helper for your convenience. On the beach, you will notice a 'V-shaped' set of safety floats for your protection. This is the only area on the beach that you are permitted to launch and make land from.

You may also launch from No Name Harbor by lowering your canoe/kayak off the sea wall. However, depending on tidal conditions, there may be a significant drop to the water's surface, providing a difficult launch and loading/recovery scenario. You must portage by hand from the parking lot at 'Boater's Grill,' to the sea wall.

Please arrive early on the weekends as parking fills up quickly. And please remember, you may not tie up to the fishing platforms anywhere in the park; the only beach landing site is at Beach Access #1 in 'Area A.'

Participation Requirements

Concession & Restaurant

Concession & Restaurant

The 'Lighthouse Café,' overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and the 'Boater's Grill,' overlooking Biscayne Bay from No Name Harbor, offer visitors casual oceanfront dining in a relaxed open-air setting. Preview the restaurants and their menus at Lighthouse Restaurants.

Bicycle Rentals
Cruiser bicycles may be rented for $3.00/half-hour and $5.00/hour
English bikes cost $5.00/half-hour and $8.00/hour
Quad bikes seat 4 and are available for $10.00/half-hour and $15.00/hour
Large quads that seat 4 + 2 small children are available for $15.00/half-hour and
$25.00/hour

Beach Rentals
Beach chairs may be rented for $7.00 each
Umbrellas may be rented for $10.00 each
2 chairs and 1 umbrella are available for $20.00

Watercraft Rentals
Single person kayaks or hydro-bikes are available for $20.00 per hour
Double kayaks and double hydro-bikes are available for $30.00/hour
Paddleboards are available for $30.00/hour or $195.00 for 10 hours

Please operate all watercraft beyond the floats and away from all swimmers.

Fishing

Fishing

Some of the best shoreline fishing in the region is available from the seawall located along Biscayne Bay. A fishing license may be required.

Hiking/Nature Trail

Hiking/Nature Trail

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. A trail through the coastal strand runs from 100 feet east of The Boater's Grill parking area and travels south ending in Area D.

Historic Site

Historic Site

Built in 1825, the Cape Florida Lighthouse is recognized as the oldest structure in South Florida and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. It was restored in 1967-70 and again in 1992-96. It was the only lighthouse to have been attacked by Indians. A U.S. Army base was built here to protect the land and sea from subsequent Indian attacks.

The park is also recognized as a site within the U.S. National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom – commemorating the trip to the British Bahamas by escaped slaves before the lighthouse was constructed.

Pets

Pets

All pets must be on a 6-foot leash and well behaved at all times. Pets may not be left unattended. Pets that are noisy, vicious, dangerous, or intimidating to other persons, or damage park resources, will be asked to leave the park with their owners.

Pet owners must pick up after their pets and properly dispose of all droppings in trash receptacles.

You may walk your pet in the picnic areas, along the sea wall, bike trails, and hiking trails.

Pets are not allowed on the beach, wetlands, playground, Youth Camp, lighthouse, keeper's cottage, Lighthouse Café or Boater's Grill.

Guide and Service animals are excluded from the above restrictions.

Picnic Pavilion

Picnic Pavilion

The park has 18 picnic pavilions that may be reserved up to one day in advance by paying the required fee at the park entrance station. All visitors attending a picnic or party are still required to pay the park entry fee. The rental fees are as follows:

We have 15 pavilions with 6 picnic tables that accommodate 40 people. These rent for $100.00 plus tax per day.

We have 3 large pavilions with 10 tables that accommodate 80 people. These rent for $150.00 plus tax per day.

Electricity is available for $15.00 per day only at the large shelters.

There is a $50.00 cleaning fee that may be assessed if the shelter and immediate vicinity is not cleaned prior to the group leaving. The group is responsible for leaving the shelter and grounds as it was received.

Picnicking

Picnicking

18 covered pavilions provide shaded picnicking overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay.

Playground

Playground

A children's playground is located in the north center of 'Area A' that features 4 swings, 4 slides, and a climbing ladder.

Showers, Day Visitors

Showers, Day Visitors

Cold showers are available outside restrooms in Areas A, B, & C.

Swimming

Swimming

A mile and a quarter of Atlantic beach is open to swimming. There are no lifeguards, so swim at your own risk. The beach is accessible from access points in Areas A, B, & C by making any left turn once you enter the park. During the winter, please watch for Portuguese Man-of-War warnings posted at the Ranger Station.

Tours

Tours

Tours of the Lighthouse are available at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., Thursday through Monday. (All may enter the Lighthouse but you must be at least 42 inches tall to ascend the stairs.) The Lighthouse, Keepers Quarters, and Kitchen are only open during tour times. The grounds are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Participation Requirements

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

Birds may be seen along the sea wall and the nature trails, depending on the season, weather and migration patterns.

The park is home to the Cape Florida Banding Station (CFBS). CFBS partners with the Florida Keys HawkWatch (at Curry Hammock State Park) and Tropical Audubon Society to form the South Florida Bird Observatory.

Many of the neotropical migrants that breed in eastern Canada, the northeastern United States and the mid-Atlantic region use the Atlantic Flyway in fall to reach their winter habitats in the Caribbean Islands and northern South America. Migrant passerines following the eastern Florida coastline southward often funnel through Key Biscayne and land in BBCFSP, a natural oasis in heavily-developed Miami-Dade County. Here, the birds stop to rest, refuel and sometimes find refuge from bad weather before continuing southward. The restored native vegetation provides ample food such as insects and fruit that are essential to build up the fat deposits that fuel the birds on their over-water flights.
 
Twenty-two mist nets are set up in an area covering approximately ten acres located discreetly within a restored hardwood hammock in BBCFSP. Mist nets are operated from mid-August through the first week of November and opened daily from just before sunrise to early afternoon, weather permitting. CFBS was established in 2002 to investigate use of the restored hardwood hammocks by neotropical migrants. As the only long-term banding station in South Florida, it fills a gap in migration monitoring along the entire Eastern seaboard. CFBS offers a unique study opportunity for the utilization by migrant birds of restored native sub-tropical vegetation, as well as the challenges faced by birds along their migration routes.