The Best Camping Near Biscayne National Park, Florida

The Best Camping Near Biscayne National Park, Florida

Whether you prefer diving fins or hiking boots, you’ll find your brand of outdoor excitement at campgrounds near Biscayne National Park. Known for its biodiversity and underwater beauty, Biscayne National Park camping brings you up close to mangroves, coral reefs, and ancient shipwrecks.

Biscayne National Park, Florida
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About Camping Near Biscayne National Park

Ready to soak up the sun and bask in the beautiful waters of the northern Florida Keys? Campgrounds near Biscayne National Park provide access to canoeing, paddleboarding, and kayaking opportunities as well as the chance to explore the underwater oasis of the park – in fact, the park itself is 95% water! Come face to face with dolphins, turtles, manatees and over 600 native fish when camping near Biscayne National Park. Snorkel or scuba the Maritime Heritage Trail for a personal look at six shipwrecks spanning almost 100 years!

Top Campgrounds Near Biscayne National Park, Florida

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Biscayne National Park Camping FAQs

One of our nation’s most beautiful national parks is also one of its most underrated. Just a short drive from Everglades National Park, Biscayne routinely gets passed over in favor of its more popular (and more densely packed with alligators) next door neighbor. The uniqueness of Biscayne National Park makes visiting a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

What’s the Best Time of Year to Go Camping Near Biscayne National Park?

Like all of south Florida, really, you want to visit Biscayne National Park during the winter or the spring. Approximately November to May is the season to be here, and any other month is just not as pleasant.

The only downside to the November-to-May visiting season is that you’re pretty much required to visit during peak season. Since Florida parks have a season inverse to that of the traditional May to September or so, avoiding the crowds is harder.

While you can visit Biscayne during the summer to skip some of the spring traffic, it may not be in your best interest to do so. Hurricane season starts roughly in June and goes into November. Because of this, summer and fall, while often the ideal times to be in a national park, just aren’t the best choices.

Unfortunately, southeast Florida, where Biscayne is located, is one of the worst places in the state for hurricanes. While you don’t necessarily have to worry about your personal safety (usually), campgrounds and structured activities are going to be intermittently canceled throughout hurricane season. If you are going to visit during that time of the year, be sure that anything you book has a refund policy for hurricanes.

The best way to avoid crowds and hurricanes is to visit during the winter. Unlike northern Florida, which can get surprisingly cold during the winter, south Florida is pleasant all winter long. Biscayne has an average winter low in the upper 50s and an average high in the upper 60s. Winter into early spring is a great way to beat the crowds—just avoid spring break if possible.

Tips for Camping Near Biscayne National Park

Bring a Bathing Suit

The most unique feature of Biscayne National Park? It’s 95% underwater. No, it’s not because Florida is slowly sinking into the ocean (though it may be a little bit). The park exists to protect coral reefs and other sea life just off the coast. Being almost entirely underwater, however, does make for very cool snorkeling and swimming opportunities. If you want to see all the life there is under the water, this is one of the best places in Florida to visit.

The Park’s Campgrounds Are Boat-In Only

As you might expect, in a park that’s almost entirely underwater, campgrounds are a bit of work to get to. The park only has two campgrounds, one on Boca Chita Key and the other on Elliott Key, with the former being the more popular. You can get a ride to the campground, or you can boat in yourself, but there is an additional fee to dock a boat overnight.

This Place Requires Planning

If that wasn’t already clear, this park requires you to plan ahead. It’s really not that hard, though. The better part of a million people visited Biscayne National Park in 2021, so it’s still quite accessible. As long as you familiarize yourself with the park’s website and make a plan, you’ll be just fine. Note that you may need to book accommodations with a third party if what you’re looking to do isn’t offered or available through the park itself.

What Are the Top Outdoor Activities Near Biscayne National Park?

You probably could guess it, but there aren’t many hikes to do in a park that’s 95% underwater. Of course, if you want to go hiking, Everglades National Park is just half an hour from Biscayne. You can go camping on one of the two available Keys here, and you absolutely should if you can snag a spot. Spots, however, are quite limited.

Watersports are, obviously, the big winners near Biscayne National Park. Snorkeling, swimming, boating, and fishing are all popular activities. Anything on the clear blue waters of coastal Florida is an adventure worth undertaking, really, and there are plenty of tours and companies ready to outfit you with whatever you need to have a good time.

The Best Camping Near Biscayne National Park

There aren’t tons of options near Biscayne National Park, but there are a couple that are within 50 miles. If you’re willing to branch out further, your options increase, but these two are the best ones within a short drive of the park.

Key Largo Kampground

Key Largo is known as the “Dive Capital of the World,” so why not stay right on the water when you’re here? The campground stretches out over 40 acres, with plenty of waterfront options. For local travelers who came with a boat in two, the marina has 14 wet slips for you to park your vessel in. RV travelers and tent campers have plenty of options as well, with well-equipped tent sites and spacious, full hookup RV spots. If there’s a waterfront site available, grab it!

Sun Outdoors Key Largo

Couldn’t get a spot at the Key Largo Kampground? No worries! Sun Outdoors Key Largo also offers a wide suite of amenities and waterfront views in Key Largo, Florida. The park is outfitted with a boat launch, dock, and even a private beach area to get some peace and quiet if you’re here during the peak of spring.

The cottages and rental cabins here are premium and spacious, offering everything you could want for a relaxing waterfront getaway.

Are There National Parks Near Biscayne National Park?

While there are plenty of state-run options out here, south Florida actually only has three National Park Service (NPS) sites (including Biscayne). Luckily, they’re some of the most exciting in the state!

Everglades National Park

(30 minutes)

This is the big name in south Florida, with about a million visitors a year. Everglades protects the largest subtropical wilderness in the entire country and has an abundance of wildlife, including the Florida panther and the alligators Florida is known for. While you may hear that and think Everglades is unsafe to visit, that really isn’t true. While you have to be careful (and read up on what to do during animal encounters), common sense really is enough to keep you safe here.

For hikers, Everglades is the national park here to visit. While many of the trails are short, interpretive trails (great for families), there are several longer trails that are great to stretch your legs on.

Big Cypress National Preserve

(1 hour)

While it has a decent visitorship, it’s not nearly what you’ll find at Everglades. This cypress swamp area is great for a quiet walk in nature, even if you just have an afternoon to spare. While you can enjoy a full day here, the preserve’s highlights can be seen in a few hours. At a minimum, there are a pair of scenic drives in the preserve, and you should see at least one.

For seasoned explorers, Big Cypress has canoe trips, hiking, and camping available. If you’re camping in the park, you’ll be treated to the views of an International Dark Sky Site, one of the darkest skies in the Eastern United States.

Which State Parks Are Near Biscayne National Park?

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

(30 minutes)

If you’re staying in Key Largo, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is just down the street. The 25-mile park also extends three miles into the ocean, so, like Biscayne National Park, there’s a whole ecosystem under the sea being preserved. You can enjoy the white sandy beaches and relax, or keep the energy up and enjoy a snorkeling or scuba tour to see what’s under the sea in Key Largo.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

(1 hour)

Structured around the Cape Florida Light, greater Miami’s oldest standing structure, Bill Baggs preserves the southern third of Key Biscayne. Due to its proximity to the city, weekends are really busy times as everyone from the area heads to this beautiful state park. Travelers will want to arrive early or visit during the week for maximum ease of access.

Oleta River State Park

(1 hour)

Oleta River is unique in that it’s actually an urban park. Located in a suburb of North Miami, this park spans more than 1,000 acres, making it Florida’s largest urban park. You definitely won’t feel like you’re in the city when you’re here, though. With quick water access, mountain bike trails, and plenty of space to roam, it’s an outdoor oasis just moments from the bustling city.

What Are the Top Attractions Near Biscayne National Park?

Wynwood Walls

You could call the Wynwood Walls an art museum, and while you’d be correct, you might be confused upon entrance. While it features fascinating art, the Wynwood Walls is an outdoor street art destination in Miami. That’s not to say that the walls are done by amateurs by any stretch of the imagination. High-profile artists from around the world come here to put their work on these walls, and visitors will be shocked at just what these artists have accomplished.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Once known as the Villa Vizcaya, the villa on these grounds previously belonged to a prominent businessman in the area but is now a public museum and green space featuring a home more than 100 years old. The villa itself is a piece of art, with 32 decorated rooms, and the grounds offer 10 manicured acres to explore.

Bayfront Park

This urban park sets aside more than 30 acres of Downtown Miami as public green space and has been slowly expanded over the years. The waterfront views here are immaculate, and you’ll have great access to all the best parts of the city’s downtown. Of course, if you just want to enjoy a slow afternoon, there’s no better place in the city to be.

Where’s Some of the Best Food Near Biscayne National Park?

Yardie Spice

Yardie Spice serves up some of the best Jamaican and Haitian food in this section of the state. There are symphonies of flavor to enjoy here, and anyone with an adventurous palette absolutely has to stop in before leaving the Homestead, Florida area. The restaurant is relatively young, having been founded in 2013, but quickly established itself as one of the area’s best spots.

Casita Tejas Mexican Restaurant

Tex-Mex probably isn’t what you think of when you think of south Florida, but Casita Tejas brings the Texas take on Mexican cuisine to the Sunshine State. This casual spot is great for families and has a laid-back atmosphere. While you won’t find a lot of bells and whistles here, you will find a simple and inviting place to grab lunch while in Homestead.

White Lion Café

The White Lion serves up simple and classic American fares with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and bright, exciting dishes. The restaurant is in an old cottage, and everything just feels homey. Lunch has plenty of light options, so you can keep checking things off your to-do list while visiting. The dinner menu rotates, so it’s always a surprise. If you need to know the menu ahead of time, you can call the café for more information.

While it requires planning, Biscayne National Park holds some of the most rewarding and memorable experiences one can have at any NPS site. Whether you’ve lived your life by the beach or are coming from states away to appreciate Biscayne, there’s an unforgettable adventure waiting for you here.

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