Florida State Parks are in various stages of accessibility, and are working to improve access to services and facilities. Should you need assistance to enable your full participation, please contact the individual park office as soon as possible. Sometimes as many as ten days may be needed to schedule a particular accommodation.

Management & Protection
Florida State Parks are managed as natural systems. All plant and animal life is protected in state parks. Hunting, livestock grazing and timber removal are not permitted. Do not remove, deface, mutilate or molest any natural resources. For your safety, do not feed any animals. Intoxicants and firearms are prohibited.

Hours of Operation
Florida state parks are open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.

Pets are not allowed in camping areas, on bathing beaches, in concession areas and may be restricted in other designated areas of the park. Where pets are allowed, they must be kept on a six-foot, hand-held leash and well-behaved at all times. Service dogs are welcome in all areas of the parks.

State Park Guide
To discover and experience all of the Real Florida at Florida's 145 state parks, ask a Park Ranger where you can pick up a copy of the Florida State Park Guide, or call 850/488-9872.


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beach When Ponce de Leon led the first Spanish expedition in 1513 to the land he called Florida, he visited this area and named it the "Cape of Florida." It was an area of ferocious storms and uncharted waters. Hidden sandbars and submerged reefs, were a hazard to early sailors, causing hundreds of shipwrecks along the Straits of Florida. For this reason, one of the federal governments's first actions when Florida became a U.S. Territory in 1821, was to plan for the extension of a network of lighthouses along the east coast of Florida.

In 1825, the Cape Florida Lighthouse was built to serve as an important link in this network of navigational aids. The lighthouse is the oldest building in south Florida. With the outbreak of the Second Seminole War in 1835, bloody encounters between the Seminole Indians and settlers to the area spread throughout the peninsula. By July of 1836, the threat of attack had caused the settlers to flee the mainland and take up temporary residence on one of the better protected keys to the south.

Late in the afternoon of July 23, 1836, the Cape Florida Lighthouse was attacked and severely damaged by fire. The Assistant Lighthouse Keeper miraculously survived and was rescued by the crew of a Navy schooner. His helper, however, was killed. The lighthouse remained out of service for the balance of the Second Seminole War which ended in 1842.

By 1846, Congress had appropriated $23,000 for reconstruction of the lighthouse. On April 30, 1847, Cape Florida Lighthouse was "re-lit" for the first time. In 1855, the height of the structure was increased from 65 to 95 feet and a 2nd Order Fresnel lens was installed. In 1861, Confederate sympathizers removed the lamps and burners and smashed the crucial center prism so it could not be used as an aid to Union sailors who controlled the surrounding waters. The lighthouse was repaired and re-lit again in 1866.

Finally, when nearby Fowey Rocks Light was placed into service in 1878, the lens and illuminating apparatus atop the lighthouse were removed and shipped to Staten Island, NY. One hundred years later, on July 4, 1978, the light was reinstalled by the U. S. Coast Guard to again serve as a navigational aid.

Named after the late Miami newspaper editor who championed this area for a state park, Bill Baggs Cape Florida SRA is part of a large barrier island ecosystem. Following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, an extensive restoration program was undertaken. The goal of the program is to restore the natural plant communities and systems historically associated with the island.

Whether it's a relaxing day at the beach, a visit to the historic lighthouse or an afternoon of saltwater fishing, Cape Florida State Park offers visitors an outstanding, outdoor recreational experience.

  • The park provides a valued retreat for urban residents who wish to escape the city to experience the Real Florida.
  • Voted one of the "Top 10 Beaches in the U.S.", the park's 1.25 miles of wide, sandy beachfront offers visitors exceptional Atlantic swimming year-round.
  • Some of the best shoreline fishing in the region is available from the seawall located along Biscayne Bay.
  • Saltwater fishing licenses are required in Florida.
  • 18 covered pavilions provide shaded picnicking overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay.
  • "The Lighthouse Cafe" offers visitors casual oceanfront dining in a relaxed open-air setting. The concession offers a variety of rentals including bicycles, Hydrobikes, rollerblades, ocean kayaks, windsurfers, beach chairs and umbrellas. The adjoining Gift Shop features a variety of quality gift items including souvenir T-shirts, postcards, film and beach sundries.
  • Guided tours of the Lighthouse and Cultural Complex are available.
  • Overnight boat mooring is available in "No Name Harbor." Check with the park office for rates and availability.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is located on Key Biscayne. From Miami, take I-95 to the Rickenbacker Causeway, all the way to the end.

For more information, contact:
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
1200 S. Crandon Blvd.
Key Biscayne, Florida 33149

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