Best beach, best island, best mellow vibe. Which category does Key Biscayne fit into?
That’s a trick question, silly. The answer is ALL of them.
(And since when did I start ranking things in Miami? I guess since right now, as I started writing this post.)
Point is, Key Biscayne is oft-overlooked by the hordes visiting Miami. The masses tend to flock to South Beach’s broad shores and turquoise waters — and with good reason. Yes, Miami Beach has no shortage of perfect shores. What it does lack are peaceful stretches, not flanked by a backdrop of shimmering white high rises.
Key Biscayne is like the anti-Miami Beach. This small island off Miami’s coast is otherworldly in its sheer prettiness. By some minor miracle, much of the island has been designated a park land, and remains blissfully undeveloped. And trust me, in this overdeveloped state where untouched coastline is the aberration, not the norm, it IS a minor miracle.
Crandon Park stretches across one end of the island, and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park sprawls across the other. My personal favorite beach is in Crandon Park. Active beachgoers will find windsurfing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboard rentals here, as well as a smattering of palm trees that cast just enough shade on the beach to keep me happy.
One of the park’s hidden — and slightly creepy — gems is the remains of an old zoo, destroyed by storms and where some animals, egrets and geese mostly, still roam wild.
Think I’m exaggerating my love for this little island? When Ayaz proposed, he took me here, back to our favorite stretch of sand in Crandon Park. And after the deed was done, after my resounding, “YES!” we hightailed it to No Name Harbor for a fish dip and drink. Perfection.
Not to miss: After spending a day or afternoon in Key Biscayne’s parks, stop by Whiskey Joe’s bar and restaurant or the Rusty Pelican, famous for its boozy Sunday brunch, which both are on Virginia Key, overlooking Rickenbacker Marina and the Miami city skyline. Either one (though I prefer Joe’s) is a perfect spot for sipping sundowners.