Biscayne National Park | PADDLING

Kayaking on Biscayne Bay near Convoy Point

Kayaking on Biscayne Bay near Convoy Point

There are numerous paddling opportunities in Biscayne National Park originating from the mainland at Convoy Point or from one of the developed keys in the park, Adams Key, Elliott Key, or Boca Chita Key. You can actually launch your canoe or kayak from the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, whereas those with motorboats must use one of the city docks or a private marina in the area. If you plan to paddle to and camp on Elliott Key or Boca Chita Key, you can leave your car in the parking lot, but you must get a permit inside the Visitor Center.

Biscayne Bay is very shallow and protected by the keys, so it is much calmer than the open Atlantic. On a nice day it is perfectly feasible to paddle from Convey Point out to Elliott Key, a one-way distance of nine miles. A paddle to Boca Chita Key is about eleven miles one way, and it is 8 miles one way to Adams Key. Most people paddling out to Elliott or Boca Chita are planning to camp and return in the following days. There is no camping at Adams Key, so you must either return the same day or continue on to the Elliott Key Campground approximately four miles to the north. All sorts of boats use the bay, and most are going very fast, so be sure to fly a flag from your boat so you can be spotted.

If you are camping on Elliott Key, a trip down to Adams Key is recommended, as there are a number of other keys all within sight of each other. Jones Lagoon, which is sandwiched in between Old Rhodes Key and Totten Key, is a great place to see all sorts of marine life, including sharks. Another recommendation is Hurricane Creek, a narrow passageway between Porgy Key and Old Rhodes Key.

Paddling through the mangroves in Jones Lagoon in Biscayne National Park

Paddling through the mangroves in Jones Lagoon in Biscayne National Park

You can also depart from Key Biscayne, which is outside the park boundary to the north. A trip to Soldier Key is about seven miles one way, and even closer is historic Stiltsville, less than two miles one way. Keep in mind that there’s nothing on any of the keys other than impenetrable mangroves and hardwood forests, so it’s not like you can get out and explore the islands. Even the tourist-friendly keys are nothing but thick forests other than at the few spots that have been cleared for camping and trails.

If you have no destination in mind, fishing from your kayak is an option as well.

The National Park Service’s Canoeing and Kayaking web page for Biscayne National Park has maps for suggested trips along the mainland shoreline.

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Last updated on November 2, 2023
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