Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

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Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Map showing the location of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area
Map showing the location of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area
Location1200 South Crandon Boulevard
Miami-Dade County, Florida, U.S.
Nearest cityKey Biscayne, Florida
Coordinates25°40′25″N 80°09′34″W / 25.673611°N 80.159444°W / 25.673611; -80.159444Coordinates: 25°40′25″N 80°09′34″W / 25.673611°N 80.159444°W / 25.673611; -80.159444
Area400 acres (160 ha)
Visitors850,000 (in 2004)
Governing bodyFlorida Department of Environmental Protection

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area occupies approximately the southern third of the island of Key Biscayne, at coordinates 25°40′25″N 80°09′34″W / 25.67361°N 80.15944°W / 25.67361; -80.15944. This park includes the Cape Florida Light, the oldest standing structure in Greater Miami.[1] In 2005, it was ranked as having the 8th best beach in the country,[2][3] and in 2013 Forbes ranked it at 7th.[4]

The park was named in honor of Bill Baggs, editor of The Miami News from 1957 until his death in 1969. He worked to protect the land from development and to preserve some of the key in its natural state.

In 2004 a large historical marker was erected at the site to mark it as part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Trail, as hundreds of Black Seminoles, many fugitive slaves, escaped from here to freedom in the Bahamas, settling mostly on Andros Island. In the early 1820s, some 300 American slaves reached the Bahamas, aboard 27 sloops and many canoes.[5] The US National Park Service is working with the Bahamas, particularly the African Bahamanian Museum and Research Center (ABAC) in Nassau, to develop interpretive programs at Red Bays, Andros.[6]

Recreational activities[edit]

The park has more than a mile of sandy Atlantic beachfront, where snorkeling and swimming is possible. Besides the beach and tours of the lighthouse and keeper's quarters, activities include boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing from the seawall along Biscayne Bay, bicycling, hiking and wildlife viewing. The park has such amenities as picnicking areas and youth camping. It also has a visitor center, a museum with interpretive exhibits and concessions. No Name Harbor, a natural harbor in the park, is used for anchorage.


Florida state parks are open between 8 a.m. and sundown every day of the year (including holidays).



  1. ^ Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Florida State Parks website
  2. ^ "Best beaches in U.S.? Expert ranks his 'Top 10'", NBC News
  3. ^ "Dr. Beach". Archived from the original on 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2020-07-02.
  4. ^ Bender, Andrew (May 24, 2013). "America's Top 10 Beaches of 2013".
  5. ^ Charles Blacker Vignoles, Observations on the Floridas, New York: E. Bliss & E. White, 1823, pp. 135-136
  6. ^ Partners: "African Bahamanian Museum and Research Center (ABAC)", Network to Freedom, National Park Service, accessed 10 April 2013

Further reading[edit]

  • Rosalyn A. Howard, Black Seminoles in the Bahamas, Gainesville: University of Florida, 2002

External links[edit]