By Helen Masin, ITWPA Member
biophilia noun—bio·phil·ia | bī-ō-ˈfi-lē-ə: the idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connection with nature and other forms of life.
In Key Biscayne, Florida, an immersive biophilia experience is everywhere at Bill Baggs State Park. Visitors seeking an outdoor refuge with open skies and blue waters find the park has it all. It is the closest natural beach and ecosystem to downtown Miami, only a 15-minute drive.
Located at the southern tip of Key Biscayne, it has 400-acres of natural habitat for outdoor enthusiasts. Swimmers, cyclists, hikers, picnickers, and fishing enthusiasts can off-load their stress here. The sun-dappled ripples of the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay will wash them out to sea.
Six biophilia activities at Bill Baggs park
1—Swimmers savor 1.2-miles of soft sand circling the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Atlantic.
2—Cyclists and skaters enjoy cruising along Biscayne Bay under a lush canopy of trees that cool the path
3—Hikers follow the nature trail in and around the historic Cape Florida Lighthouse, originally completed in 1825. The lighthouse is registered on the U. S. National Register of Historic Places.
Tours of the lighthouse (Thursday to Monday at 10 AM and 1 PM) offer visitors who climb the 109-stairs to the top, a panoramic view of the ocean, and Key Biscayne. The 95-foot lighthouse is the oldest standing structure in Miami Dade County.
The grounds surrounding the lighthouse contain native plant communities as well as birds and butterflies who make this park their home. Sea turtles nest along the beach in summer, and manatees can be seen grazing on offshore vegetation.
4—Fishing enthusiasts spend a lazy day casting lines for a favorite catch from the multiple decks built for fishing over the Biscayne Bay sea wall.
5—Hungry park-visitors picnic in one of many picnic areas or under shelters that are reserved. Bar-B-Q grills are available. Family groups enjoy eating together, surrounded by tropical foliage and clear turquoise waters.
6—Non-picnickers can sample tasty foods served at the Boater’s Grill or the Lighthouse Café found on the park property. The Gonzalez family operates these two casual outdoor restaurants in the park from 9 AM until sunset.
The Boater’s Grill overlooks No Name Harbor and is a favorite location for watching pink and purple sunsets evolve over boats docked there. Both restaurants serve Latin and American fare. Both offer their well-loved seafood specialties, including smoked fish dip, whole grilled fish, and paella.
After enjoying immersion in this naturally healing environment, park visitors return home feeling renewed by this hidden gem of the real Florida.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne. The park is open from 8 AM until sunset. It has been voted “One of America’s Top Ten Beaches in the US” and is a three-time National Gold Medal Winner of Florida State Parks. Admission is $8 per vehicle or $4 for a solo occupant.
About Helen L. Masin—Traveling, writing, and photographing nature are her passions. Photos and travel journals are part of every journey she makes. Currently, she is taking writing classes to improve her travel writing skills. In the past, Helen wrote numerous scholarly research articles and book chapters that were published for health professionals. November 2018, Travel Post Monthly published Masin’s first travel byline, “Baobab, Butterflies, and Blossoms: Nature’s Cure for Digital Overload.” The piece explores Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida.