Cape Florida State Park
Cape Florida, United States
MARINE PROTECTED AREA
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Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park occupies approximately the southern third of the island of Key Biscayne, at coordinates 25°40′25″N 80°09′34″W / 25.67361°N 80.15944°W / 25.67361; -80.15944. The park includes the Cape Florida Light, the oldest standing structure in Greater Miami. In 2005 the park was ranked as having the 8th best beach in the country, and in 2013 Forbes ranked it at 7th.
The park is named in honor of Bill Baggs, editor of The Miami News from 1957 until his death in 1969. He worked to protect the land from development, to preserve some of the key in its natural state, and was also a civil rights activist.
In 2004 a large historical marker was erected at the site to mark it as part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Trail, as hundreds of Black Seminoles, many fugitive slaves, escaped from here to freedom in the Bahamas, settling mostly on Andros Island. In the early 1820s, some 300 American slaves reached the Bahamas, aboard 27 sloops and many canoes. The US National Park Service is working with the Bahamas, particularly the African Bahamanian Museum and Research Center (ABAC) in Nassau, to develop interpretive programs at Red Bays, Andros.
The park has more than a mile of sandy Atlantic beachfront, where snorkeling and swimming is possible. Besides the beach and tours of the lighthouse and keeper's quarters, activities include boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing from the seawall along Biscayne Bay, bicycling, hiking and wildlife viewing. The park has such amenities as picnicking areas and youth camping. It also has a visitor center, a museum with interpretive exhibits and concessions. No Name Harbor, a natural harbor in the park, is used for anchorage.
Florida state parks are open between 8 a.m. and sundown every day of the year (including holidays).
Cape Florida Lighthouse
Sign commemorating Black Seminoles who escaped from Cape Florida in the early 1820s to the Bahamas.
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