Florida Guide > State Parks
Bill Baggs State Park is located on Key Biscayne, in south west Florida Coming from Miami take the Rickenbecker causeway and proceed as far as you can go.
The beach has been voted in the top 10 for the whole of America but if this is not enough to tempt you there is a historic lighthouse from where you can see Biscayne Bay and Miami.
Here you can watch a video telling you the fascinating history of the lighthouse and also tour the keepers quarters. Watch which day you choose as the tours only take place from thurs to mon and run at 10am and 1pm.
The lighthouse was first built in 1825 and is the oldest building in Miami/Dade. Ponce de Leon named this area Cape of Florida (cape of flowers).
Due to the sand bars and and reefs these were dangerous waters indeed for the ships and as a result the lighthouse was built(no doubt to the dismay of the buccaneers and pirates).
In 1836 the lighthouse was attacked and set on fire; the lighthouse keeper miraculously escaped the inferno but sadly his assistant was not so lucky.
It was then out of use until 1846 when the government gave $23000 for its restoration and work was started. Later in 1855 the lighthouse was raised another 30 feet to make its total height 95 feet.
In 1861 the lighthouse came under attack once again by confederate supporters and was not restored again until 1866. The lens and lighting apparatus was taken to Staten Island in 1878 and it took an astonishing 100 years til it was restored to its rightful place in 1978.
This area was well known to be a refuge for the slaves fleeing from their masters. Here they waited for ships to take them to the safe haven of the British Bahamas.
There is a good restaurant called The Boaters Grill where you can eat good simple food with a great sea view (The Atlantic)They are also the concession where yo would go to rent your umbrellas, deck chairs and also bikes.
If you take a picnic you are spoiled for choice for pavilions as there are no less than 18. There is also a good playground that will please the younger members of your party.
To the west of the park is a nature trail that runs the coastal strand; then 100 yards east of the Boaters Grill is another trail that takes you through the wet lands.
The park costs $4 for up to 8 people.
Bill Baggs Cape State Park
1200 South Crandon Bvd
Tel 305 361 5811
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Page added on: 20 April 2007
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