Transportation And Camping on the Islands
Daily Transportation by boat to Elliott Key for up to 6 passengers with all your gear allows you to explore the Island and really get in tune with nature. The park’s largest island was once a thriving community of pioneers engaged in pineapple farming, sponging, wrecking or other pursuits. Today the island offers camping, picnicking, swimming, wildlife watching and a hiking trail. Picnic tables and grills are available. Restrooms with sinks and cold water showers are at the camping area.
- Transportation is provided daily on a 23′ powerboat.
- Boat departs from the park visitor center at 8:00 AM. Campers departing Elliott Key return to the visitor center at 9:00 AM.
- The cost is $59 per person round trip with a minimum of 2 people, or $300 for the boat with a maximum of 6 people. Personal kayak transport is $20 per kayak.
- Campers need to provide their own equipment. Amenities on the key include picnic tables, grills, restrooms with sinks, and un-heated showers.
- Particitpants camping on Elliott Key can explore the key through swimming, wildlife watching and hiking trails.
- Informantion on Biscayne National Park regulations for camping can be found here.
Your captain will help you with an Island orientation. We want to share all the beauty this area has to offer and show how we can be good stewards of the National Park, preserving its unique habitats for generations to come.
Trips start and end at the park visitor center, located at 9700 SW 328 Street, nine miles east of Homestead, Florida. . We leave with up to 6 people every morning at 8 AM and then start the return at Elliott Key trip with campers from previous days to the visitor center at 9 AM arriving at the visitor center at 10 AM. Departing every day of the week as long as the weather will make for a comfortable trip, returning campers will be picked up even in bad weather. If foul weather is expected you may need to return early, you will be notified by your captain in the unlikely event this happens. Singles are welcome but we do require at least 2 passengers to run the trip.
Paddle & Reef Snorkel Exploration By 23′ Powerboat
- Free Pickup and Drop Off at your Elliott Key campsite (pickup 11 AM, drop off 4PM)
- Full day guided trip on a 23 foot powerboat with a maximum of six passengers.
- Trips start at 10 a.m. and return by 4:30 p.m. and are designed for active adults and kids over 12 who are good swimmers.
- The cost is $129 per person with a minimum of 2 people or $690 for the boat with a maximum of 6 people.
- Weather and condition dependent options include: paddling watery mazes of mangrove forests, snorkeling a shipwreck on the Maritime Heritage Trail or watch the amazing diversity of life on the coral reef.
- Mask, snorkel, fins, snorkel vests and paddling equipment are provided. If you have your own snorkel gear, please bring it to ensure the best fit. Paddling is on stand up paddleboards that can also be used sitting with a kayak paddle.
- Trips may be booked at BiscayneNationalParkSnorkeling.com.
Bay Paddle & Snorkel Exploration By 40′ Sailboat
- Departs from the visitor center only, no Elloitt Key pickup
- Features a 40′ sailboat with a maximum of six passengers allowed.
- Full Day sails start at 10:00AM and finish at 4:00PM and are suitable for all ages and swimming abilities.
- The cost is $149 per person with a minimum of 2 people, or $775 for the boat with a maximum of 6 people.
- The tour includes opportunities for sailing in the largest marine national park, snorkeling and paddling in protected back water mangrove lagoons and sight-seeing while ashore at Boca Chita Key or Adams Key. Please note trips do not go to the reefs on the Atlantic side.
- Getting on/off the sailboat includes several uneven steps depending on the tide.
- Trips may be booked at BiscayneNationalParkSailing.com
Visitors may enjoy the designated swim area near the campground. A mile-long loop trail starts near the campground. Spite Highway, named by park opponents just before the park was established (learn more), runs approximately six miles down the center of the island. It affords a good opportunity to see a variety of habitats in the maritime forest. Two trails tunnel through the tropical hardwood hammock of Elliott Key. One runs across the entire seven miles of Elliott Key (fourteen miles round trip). There is a one mile long loop trail between the bay and ocean sides of Elliott Key beginning at the marina. Fishing is permitted from the maintenance dock located south of the harbor or from the shoreline outside of the buoyed swimming area and no-wake zone. A fishing license may be required and Florida regulations apply.
The campground is located on the Biscayne Bay side of the island. Camping is first-come, first-served. Picnic tables and barbecue grills are available in the campground. Restrooms with cold water showers are available. Fresh drinking water is located outside of the restroom building. It is recommended that you bring your own fresh water, just in case the generator should go down.
There is no backcountry camping in the park. Camp in designated areas only.There are no sales facilities on the island. There is no trash pickup on the island. Visitors must pack out all trash. Open ground fires are not permitted. The open grass area north of the environmental education center building is used as a helicopter-landing zone in case of emergency. Camping is prohibited in this area. On Elliott Key pets on a leash are permitted within developed areas only. Pets may not be left unattended. Pets are not allowed in buildings or the swim area.
Mosquitoes may be prevalent year round.
Quiet Hours – 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. During quiet hours all noise must be kept to a minimum.
Wildlife – Do not feed wildlife. Food and garbage should be stored in a boat or animal-proof cooler.
Who We Are
Biscayne Institute is part of The Everglades Association which operates under Congressional authorities as the official private, non-profit partner supporting educational, interpretive, and historical and scientific research responsibilities of Biscayne, Dry Tortugas, and Everglades National Parks and Big Cypress National Preserve.
Our boats are run by US Coast Guard Licensed captains. They will share their knowledge about the ecosystems in the area, sailing and park history. Our boats have all the USCG required safety equipment.
You must bring all your own food and equipment including raccoon proof food containers. Please remember bug spray! Gear and Kayak rental coming soon.
Water Excursions From The Island
Join a full day educational paddling and snorkeling trip with free Elliott Key pick up. An intimate exploration of the waters of Biscayne National Park on our 23′ powerboat. On a full day guided trip, with only 6 people, you might paddle Jones Lagoon looking for the rare Roseate Spoonbill, snorkel a shipwreck on the Maritime Heritage Trail or watch the amazing diversity of life on the Coral Reef. Board your boat at Elliott Key at 11 AM to your first destination and get in the water on your morning adventure paddling and/or snorkeling. Stop for lunch ashore on a barrier island and then start your afternoon adventure paddling and/or snorkeling. Return to the Elliott Key arriving at about 4 PM. Book at https://www.biscaynenationalparksnorkeling.com/
What Customers have to say…
Rates and Hours
We are happy to accept all major credit cards and cash. Your boat trip includes a U.S. Coast Guard licensed crew, a safety inspected vessel and up to 6 guests.
Please book online here. Same day trips may be possible, but most of our trips require one day’s notice. We are required to collect Florida sales tax on the prices listed below.
- Departing Trips Leave the Dante Fascell Visitor Center on the Mainland at 8 AM. The cost is $59 per person round trip with a minimum of 2 people, or $300 for the boat with a maximum of 6 people. Return trips leave the Island at 9 AM. Please verify your return day with your captain.
- Kayak transport is $20 per Kayak, camping gear is included in the price but space may be limited and load size is ultimately up to the captain to insure a safe passage. Please Pack Light!
- National Park Camping Fees will be paid to the park in addition to the boat trip fee. $15 per night for tenting or $12.50 per night with senior pass. Tenting fees per group are for a maximum of six people and two tents. All camping fees are waived from May 1 to September 30.
- We can transport your pet but only on private boat trips, you must follow all park regulations for your pet when on the Island.
- Special unscheduled, non emergency pick up or drop offs besides the 8 AM and 9 AM daily trips will be charged at $300 per trip irrespective of the number of passengers.
The Islands and the Bay
The shallow waters of the bay are dotted with remote, mangrove islands and are a shallow-water nursery for young plant and animal life. The subtropical climate and simple beauty of the Park make this both an American ecological treasure and a great sailing destination that should not be overlooked.
Sailing the bay side of the park gives us access to areas that are seldom visited. There are remote anchorages where city lights and highways are not visible. The calm waters in the backcountry make for smooth sailing.
Kayaking the Mangroves
There are many islands to visit in Biscayne National Park. Once you sail just a few miles from the Visitor Center at Convoy Point, you are transported to a tropical marine environment that is like no other in the United States. It is a special privilege to kayak in these waters, where you will enjoy beautiful vistas with amazing wildlife in mother nature’s nursery.
Tom Schroder of the Washington Post Talks about finding protection in the mangroves on a windy day:
Peter caught up, and we sheltered in a small cove in the lee of the mangroves. As we caught our breath, we stared mesmerized into the universe of arcing roots. They rose above the inflowing waves like so many twisting stilts, merging into thick grey trunks that slanted skyward, holding a crown of green above our heads. After the tempest, it was a haven we weren’t eager to abandon.
Join us for your own exploration of one of natures treasures.
Wildlife Under Water and in Air
Snorkel the underwater world of Florida Bay. The mangroves, sea grasses and hardpan are full of life. Did you know that 70% of sport fish caught on the reefs spend some part of their life in the bay? And even if you don’t get into the water, enjoy the view anyway since many species of fish can be seen directly from the boat.
Booking Telephone: 786-335-3644
Captains Telephone for after hours or weather questions after booking 305.877.7307
Charter Departure Location:
Biscayne National Park‘s Dante Fascell Visitor Center
9700 SW 328th Street, Homestead, FL 33033
Copyright © 2014 Island Dreamer Sailing LLC.