Island Hopper stayed in port at Key Biscayne Yacht Club due to the high winds. The winds were out of the East 15 – 20 gusting to 25 miles per hour. Not a good day to be out on the water.
Key Biscayne and Virginia Key
Once upon a time, these barrier islands were an outpost for fisherman and sailors, pirates and salvagers, soldiers and settlers. The 95 foot Cape Florida Lighthouse stood tall during Seminole Indian battles and hurricanes. Coconut plantations covered two thirds of Key Biscayne, and there were plans as far back as 1800s to develop the picturesque island as a resort for the wealthy. Fortunately, the state and county governments set much of the land aside for parks, and both keys are home to top-ranked beaches and golf, tennis, softball, and picnicking facilities. The long and winding bike paths that run through the islands are favorites for in-line skaters and cyclists. Incorporated in 1991, the Virginia Key remains undeveloped at the moment, making these two playground islands especially family friendly. ( www.keybiscaynechamber.org )
Kevin and Debbie rode their bikes to Bill Baggs Park. It was approximately 10 miles round trip. The temperature was in the high 80s and it was hard to find shade. It was and enjoyable bike ride, but hot!!!
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Thanks to great beaches, sunsets, and a lighthouse, this park at Key Biscayne’s southern tip is worth the drive. It has boardwalks, 18 picnic shelters, and two cafés that serve light lunches. A stroll or ride along walking and bicycle paths provides wonderful views of Miami’s dramatic skyline. From the southern end of the park you can see a handful of house rising over the bay on ( www.floridastateparks.org/capeflorida )
Cape Florida Lighthouse
Cape Florida Lighthouse is South Florida’s oldest structure. The lighthouse was erected in 1845 to replace an earlier one destroyed in an 1836 Seminole attack, in which the keeper’s helper was killed. Plantings around the lighthouse and keeper’s cottage recall the island’s past. The restored lighthouse and cottage offer free tours on Thursdays to Mondays at 10 AM and 1 PM.
After returning to the boat, Kevin cooled down and then decided to head to Crandon Park on his bike. Debbie preferred to stay on Island Hopper.
The laid back park in northern Key Biscayne is popular with families, and many educated beach enthusiasts the 3-mile beach among the top 10 beaches in North America. The sand is soft, there are no riptides, there’s a great view of the Atlantic, and parking is both inexpensive and plentiful. Because it’s a weekend favorite of locals, you’ll get a good taste of multicultural Miami flavor: salsa and hip-hop, jerk chicken and barbecue ribs. Crandon Gardens at Crandon Park was once the site of a zoo. There are swans, waterfowl, and dozens of huge iguanas running loose. At the north end of the beach is the free Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Center. Here naturalists give tours of sea-grass beds and the many red, black and green mangroves. (www.biscaynenaturecenter.org)
Kevin and Debbie ate dinner at the Key Biscayne Yacht Club and were seated at the table next to other St. Petersburg Yacht Club members. It was nice chatting with the two of them.