#trendmagazineonline #discounttravel

Trend Magazine Online™
Travel Review Winter 2022/23
Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami
Part I of II

By Jay Whipple

Trend Magazine Online™

Memorable Outing!

Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami Florida Review Pic

Believe it or not, the last time that I visited this southern-most part of Key Biscayne was way back in the mid-1970's when I was just a teenager and a member of the Kappa League which was run by a group of real kool brothas that were members of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, my favorite Frat. We were on a trip that included fishing for saltwater fish off the now raised pier area which is still set aside for game fishing. I actually do not recall the lighthouse being here but based on documentation it was indeed standing in its current location. Back then, there was no park and neighborhoods in proximity to this area. It was like traveling to a deserted island coming down this far along Key Biscayne. Fast forward nearly a half Century and it blows my mind what changes have taken place during that time and the fact that this area has been well kept by "We The People."

Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami Florida Review Pic!
I arrived at the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, home of the lighthouse, at approximately noon on Thursday April 8, after catching the Metrorail and Metrobus from home with my trusty mountain bike. It was a great decision when transportation officials approved the measure to affix a bike carrier to the front of all city buses and include one inside each of the trains. I still had approximately two miles to go after getting off at the last stop nearest the park which allowed me to take in the sites of all the new development that has taken place En-route to the park over the past nearly half Century. It was a perfect Spring Day for riding in that the sky was blue and the temperature was not too hot and sticky.Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami Florida Review Pic!  It was also nice that the city installed sidewalks on both sides of the street which provided me with a safer option than riding in the street which is perfectly legal but more dangerous as some drivers are not aware of that law. I hate to hear on the news when a vehicle has struck and fatally injured a bicyclist especially on routes that I use myself. It is for that reason that I wear a safety helmet religiously, but I must admit that I am in the minority when it comes to protecting my noggin (head) as most riders in south Florida go without that safety feature perhaps because it does not look cool. I would rather forgo the cool for have a safe and enjoyable bike ride any day.Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami Florida Review Pic! At last, I arrived at the signage and main entrance to the park in which I encountered a very friendly ranger who thanked me for my service after I inquired about military discounts. Although some may consider this a small token of our nation's appreciation, I do not take for granted the sacrifices we military Veterans make and have made to keep our nation free from tyranny. It was also nice to see that the entrance to the park was nice and pristine which is typically an indication of the pride taken by employees in the property that they have been entrusted to maintain in a high state of police. As such, it is well worth the $2.00 admission fee for cyclist and pedestrians.

Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami Florida Review Pic!This neat little park features both a paved and unpaved bike trail for those that just want to profile and enjoy the scenery and those like me that prefer the challenge of an unpaved surface. The unpaved surface, however, pales in comparison to the ones at Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah, Florida, which currently is my favorite so far in South Florida. My current favorite nationwide is Reynolds Park in Winston-Salem, NC, because it extends nearly 10 miles around a lake and has hard as well as soft sand. It also connects to the Old Salem Village which has real apple trees. There is also one near Matthews, NC, called Colonel Francis Beatty Park that have been the most challenging because of all of the twists and turns as well as exposed tree trunks on the trail. I have run into the most trees and suffered the most bruises on that trail. Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami Florida Review Pic!My all-time favorite trail just for scenery and taking it easy so far is Hugh Taylor Birch State Park near Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Florida. I thoroughly enjoy visiting that one on Christmas Day along with a walk on the beach which is literally across the street. It is especially pleasing to snap a pic and text it to my friends in cold weather cities to get an envious reaction. This park boasts about a certain turtle species, but I have yet to come across any during my visits. I also like the many picnic areas near the bay where other visitors congregate to enjoy the holiday season, play music and volleyball. You can also entertain yourself by watching the parade of private boats that use the adjacent bay for recreation and transportation. I am more of a land dweller myself. Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami Florida Review Pic!I have been riding bikes since I was, as they say, knee high to a grasshopper and I thorough enjoy the exercise as well as the neat places I can go without having the headache of paid parking; that is if you find one during busier times. As mentioned earlier, the very smart people that run public transportation have realized the importance of this alternate means of getting around and have made the necessary accommodations with their vehicles to store bikes. Some; however, have seized this opportunity to charge an additional fee, like the Brightline, that some may consider exorbitant. For example, it cost me an additional $10 to ride from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale and back a few years ago. Amtrak used to let you bring your bike for free, but they now charge $10 plus a $15 container fee if you do not have your own. That is an additional $25, Yikes! This park will let you rent a bike starting @ $15/hour, which, if you do the math, can costs as much as purchasing one from Wal-Mart depending on how long you ride.

Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami Florida Review Pic!Another amenity that I do not remember from my last visit back in the mid-1970's is these seven little fascination structures just about a mile or so offshore. They are known today as Stilt Homes (guess why) and are left over from 30 that once occupied a variety of homes and businesses along Biscayne Bay beginning in the 1930's with Crawfish Eddie Walker's bait shop. These are all survivors of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, a storm now infamous with South Florida history. You can get a closer view of these whimsical structures via a telescope provided by the park. Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami Florida Review Pic!I am not sure if they are still there today but there were quite a few similar homes along the Gulf Coast western side of Florida back in the early 1990's that I notice while training in the area with the 7th Special Forces Group then out of Ft. Bragg, NC. It is nice that the park officials thought enough of its visitors to provide this neat bench for some rest and relaxation and scenic sightseeing especially on a sunny clear day like today when there was not a dark cloud in the sky. Those of you that live here and/or visit on a regular basis know that this slice of paradise during the summer months is highly susceptible to flash flooding and storms that sometimes last just a few moments before clearing up completely before the next episode.Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami Florida Review Pic!I was pleased to see that folks still come here for the saltwater fishing except now it is done from an elevated pier as opposed to on the beach front. Like other sea cities Miami has some of the best seafood in the country. I can recall that my late Uncle Junior (continue to R.I.P.) used to work in the fishing industry, and he would bring home these huge sailfish for us to enjoy. The two most popular fishes are snapper and grouper with the former being my personal favorite because of its lighter more flavorful taste. Some restaurants sell them fried whole with the head still on which is quite creepy at first but extremely delicious once you get past the eyes seemingly staring at you before you devour their body with hot sauce to boot. My personal favorite place to get a whole snapper dinner is Snapper's which serves them in a reusable aluminum platter with a bed of hot fries. Yummy!!

Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami Florida Review Pic!Another pleasing part of my visit was seeing this sign reminding boaters to slow down to protect the Florida Manatee which are indigenous to our State. They are mostly active during the spring during mating season which runs from March through November per the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. I can recall specifically planning a visit to one of the areas that they are prevalent in the Hollywood Beach area off Ocean Drive (A1A) between Hallandale Beach and Hollywood Beach Boulevards. I was so fascinated with spotting a few of them that I decided to add a stop after my latest Disney trip to the Blue Spring State Park just north of Orlando where they migrate to during the months of mid-November through March. I applaud the wildlife officials and advocacy groups for taking the necessary steps to punish those idiots that place a fun trip on the water over the Manatees' safety and well being. Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami Florida Review Pic!Next, I followed the signs to the lighthouse area where I planned to participate in one of their advertised daily tours. I have never been inside a lighthouse and was looking forward to adding that experience to my bucket list. I have been told by certain ancestors that my late Grandfather Edward Bannister actually built a makeshift lighthouse for the ships passing by the Caribbean Island of Exuma which boasts some of the world's most pristine beaches. I was also told that my ancestors owned some of the land their and in particular a swath called Taylortown after my great-Grandmother, on his side of the family tree. I doubt that we still own this property as outsiders have discovered that particular piece of Caribbean paradise. Yikes! Cape Florida Lighthouse Key Biscayne Miami Florida Review Pic!It was nice to come across another sign that allowed bicycles inside the tour area as long as you walk and not ride them. Another lighthouse that is on my bucket list is one of the tallest (150 feet) in the United States and along the North Carolina coastline known as Cape Hatteras. It originally opened in 1803 at just 90 feet in height but was extended to its current height in 1853 in order to be seen by passing ships in the Atlantic Ocean. That entire structure was literally moved 1500 feet inland in 1999 due to beach erosion that is slowly consuming shores up and down the coastal plains of the United States from north to south. I write about that engineering phenomenon in my book Charlotte From A Tour Guide's Perspective (Part II). It makes me wonder if this structure, which is only about 100 yards (300 feet) from the ocean, will have to be moved further inland in the near future?

Cont'd. Part II>>> [December Winter 2022/23]

The Cape Florida Lighthouse is located at 1200 Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne, FL.  33149, there phone number is 305-361-8779, and website https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/bill-baggs-cape-florida-state-park/cape-florida-light.

^^^Back to Top

Click to Enlarge Queen Charlotte Photo




^^^Back to Top

Join our email list or Like Us on Facebook! to be notified of updates!

Queen City Tours Home Page! Advertising InfoWorldwide Travel!
Calendar of Events

Feed Burner

Share This!: