Sunday, August 10, 2014

Best hikes to see Biscayne N.P.’s wonders

Sunset on Adams Key.
Though most of Biscayne National Park’s top sights – shipwrecks and coral reefs – are underwater, landlubbers still can discover much about the region via a day hike.

Just five short trails will allow you to enjoy several of the park’s highlights – the Atlantic coastline, romantic sunsets, the Florida Keys, a maritime forest, and historical Florida.

A boat is required to reach each of the keys. Convoy Point is the only trail on the mainland.

Atlantic coastline
A great way to explore the Atlantic coastline is the 0.65-mile round trip boardwalk and sandy path on the Convoy Point Trail. The trail follows the blue-green waters of Biscayne Bay and then heads out onto a jetty.

Romantic sunsets
Nothing quite says romance like a sunset over a tropical ocean. Adams Key offers a quarter-mile trail (0.5-miles round trip) from the dock through the hardwood hammock on the island’s west side; most of the route skirts the beach, where a sunset can be enjoyed with your significant other.

Florida Keys
Several low-lying, sandy islands known as keys line the Florida coast. On Elliot Key, the mile-long Point Adelle Trail loops from the harbor into the isle’s wooded interior then up the eastern beach to Point Adelle.

Maritime forest
A tropical hardwood hammock covers the keys in this section of Florida. On Elliot Key, the Spite Highway Trail heads through the woodlands, running the island’s full 7 miles (14-miles round trip).

Historical Florida 
On Boca Chita Key, a 65-foot ornamental lighthouse, a cannon from olden days, and several historical buildings can be seen via an unnamed half-mile (1-mile round trip) trail that start east of the restrooms. The unnamed trail circles the harbor but offers great views of the ocean.

Learn about other great national park day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks guidebook.