Florida Keys Journals

The Florida Keys: Closer Than You Think!

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A travel journal to Florida Keys by reef2020

Gray Angelfish Photo, Florida Keys, Florida More Photos
Quote: Most travel guides will tell you the Florida Keys begin at Key Largo. Smart travelers looking to see the "real" keys and avoid the crowds head to Biscayne National Park, 9 miles east of Homestead. Hey, it isn't a cousin of Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon for nothing!

The Florida Keys: Closer Than You Think!

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Overview

Gray Angelfish Photo, Florida Keys, Florida
Quote:
Get into the water! Go snorkeling on some of the most pristine reefs in the Florida Keys. You may find a few private boats (especially on weekends) but since the National Park Service only authorizes one concessioner, you won't see more snorkelers than fish. Even if the weather is too rough to snorkel the reef, trips to mangrove and seagrass areas are also very interesting, though not nearly as diverse. If you don't want to get in the water, take a glass bottom boat trip. The experience doesn't approach snorkeling, but it can be great with the right ranger and good weather. Don't miss the park's visitor center -- it has one of the finest exhibits I've ever seen at a national park (and I've been to a l...Read More

White Lion Cafe & Antiques

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Restaurant | "The White Lion Cafe"

Quote:
This is a great place that is very popular with the locals. This may sound very odd, but it is owned by the same people who own the nursing home next door, and all proceeds from the restaurant go to Alzheimers research. A great meal that benefits others -- what a concept! The menu is cleverly written and frequently changing. I've always enjoyed the grilled Romanian skirt steak with spinach and mushrooms, and my favorite lunch item is the June Buggy, an overstuffed roast beef sandwich with a wonderful horseradish dressing. Lots of seafood and pasta dishes as well. The atmosphere is great. It is set in an antique store where all the items are for sale. If the evening is nice, sit on the patio, where a s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 23, 2000

White Lion Cafe & Antiques
146 NW 7 Street
Florida Keys, Florida 33030
(305) 248-1076

Biscayne National Park

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Attraction | "Snorkeling the Northernmost Keys"

Biscayne National Park Photo, Florida Keys, Florida
Quote:
On a great day, the snorkeling here can't be beat anywhere in the Florida Keys. The trip here is longer than what you'll find further south, because Biscayne National Park protects not only the coral reefs, but the bay and islands as well. This means it takes longer to get out to the reef, but it also means the reefs here are much healthier than many places to the south. The longer journey gives you opportunities to spot dolphins, rays and perhaps even a manatee. The actual location of the trip will vary depending on weather conditions, but some of the prime spots are Shark Reef (stop worrying -- they're rare!) and Ball Buoy Reef. Your experience will also be affected by your captain and divemaster. W...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 23, 2000

Biscayne National Park
9700 SW 328th Street
Homestead, Florida 33030
(305) 230-1100

Biscayne National Park

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Attraction | "The Mangrove Coast"

Biscayne National Park Photo, Florida Keys, Florida
Quote:
Start from The Dante Fascell Visitor Center and head north along the mangrove coast. The water here is extremely shallow, so there are lots of opportunities to see all kinds of small marine life in the seagrass beds. Up in the mangrove trees, you'll find resting pelicans, herons and perhaps even the elusive mangrove cuckoo. The roots of the red mangrove provide shltered habitat for a myriad of little shrimp, crabs, fish and snails. The water is very brown near shore due to the tannic acid leaching out of the decaying leaves (think of it as South Florida's answer to the Boston Tea Party!). Nose up into some of the little channels in the mangroves and you may spot an alligator, or if you are really luck...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 23, 2000

Biscayne National Park
9700 SW 328th Street
Homestead, Florida 33030
(305) 230-1100

Biscayne National Park

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Attraction | "Family Fun Fest"

Biscayne National Park Photo, Florida Keys, Florida
Quote:
The first Sunday of every month from January through May is Family Fun Fest at the Dante Fascell Visitor Center. All kinds of great hands-on activity stations, like Make a Cave, Which Fish?, and Trash & Treasure Bingo, are spread out around the visitor center. Flags and banners brighten the whole area as kids move from station to station completing the activities and getting their passport punched. Completing all five activities on a given day earns a special button. The five activities take about an hour to complete. Some are good for the kids alone, others are great for families and groups working together. After finishing up, the park is a great place to have a barbecue...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 16, 2001

Biscayne National Park
9700 SW 328th Street
Homestead, Florida 33030
(305) 230-1100

Dante Fascell Visitor Center

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Story/Tip

Geiger Tree Photo, Florida Keys, Florida
Quote:
The Dante Fascell Visitor Center at Biscayne National Park's Convoy Point is truly one of the finest visitor centers in the entire National Park System. Overlooking Biscayne Bay, the center offers a great museum that takes you on journey through the park's four ecosystems: mangrove forests, Biscayne Bay, the northern Florida Keys and the living coral reef. Fabulous dioramas, videos, and lots of hands-on opportunities make this a place for the whole family. In the auditorium, rangers show a variety of films about the park, including a beautifully artistic overview of what the park protects, a look at the contentious battle to create the park in the 1960s, and a glimpse into the impact of 1992's H...Read More