The Lookout: Miami’s ‘key’ to experiencing the au naturale


Six miles off the coast of Miami lies the city’s own serene getaway: Key Biscayne. Unlike the wild and turbulent ambiance of South Beach, the island offers a chance to escape from the intoxicated, party-hungry tourists in order to experience South Florida’s stunning nature.

Start your day off with EcoAdventures, a Miami-Dade service that takes you kayaking and snorkeling through Crandon Park’s tranquil waters.

For those who want to take a stab at water sports, try Sailboards Miami. Conveniently located on Windsurfer Beach, they offer paddleboard, kayak and windsurfing rentals. They guarantee that, in just two hours, they can teach you how to windsurf like a pro!

One of America’s best beaches, Bill Baggs State Park, is home to South Florida’s oldest structure, a lighthouse from 1825. Hike or bike down nature trails, catch some fish in “No Name” Harbor, sun bathe or camp out overnight. When you need to refuel, grab some grub at one of the delicious seaside restaurants, like Boater’s Grill or Lighthouse Cafe.

Make sure to pass by the park in the spring. Every year, the Crandon Park Tennis Center hosts the Sony Ericsson Open, one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

One mile south of Key Biscayne’s shore lies Miami’s most peculiar neighborhood, Stiltsville. These wooden houses sit on stilts about 10 feet above water. Although currently uninhabited, these structures were used as gambling sites and contraband unloading docks during the prohibition and Miami Vice years.

If nature isn’t your thing, Key Biscayne offers other activities. Purchase novelty gifts at the Island Shop, Tinkys and Surmesur. Dine at Sir Pizza, made famous in Key Biscayne, or make your way to other favorites like Archie’s Pizza. For a more exclusive dining experience that won’t empty your wallet, indulge in fresh seafood at the Rusty Pelican.

From adventure trails on water to pristine beaches for lounging, Key Biscayne is the ultimate “mini-vacation.” After all, it’s less than an hour away from campus.