#usseryvisits in a 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS the Cape Florida Lighthouse, located at the south end of Key Biscayne. Constructed in 1825, it guided mariners off the Florida Reef, which starts near Key Biscayne and extends southward a few miles offshore of the Florida Keys.
The lighthouse has a remarkable and fascinating history including an attack by Seminole Indians in 1836. Although it survived, it was severely damaged and was rebuilt in 1855. Then, in 1859, it was once again badly damaged by Confederate Sympathizers during the American Civil War.
From 1888 to 1893, the Cape Florida lighthouse was leased by the United States Secretary of the Treasury for a total of $1.00 (20 cents per annum) to the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club for use as its headquarters. It was listed as the southernmost yacht club in the United States, and the tallest in the world. After the lease expired, the yacht club moved to Coconut Grove, where it still is active.
In 1903, a private land owner bought the abandoned Cape Florida lighthouse from the United States Treasury for $400. The southern third of Key Biscayne, including the lighthouse, was bought by the State of Florida in 1966. It established the land as Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, named for the editor of the Miami News, who had urged protection and helped arrange the deal for preservation of the land. A joint project with the Dade County Historical Society in 1995–1996 restored the lighthouse. A museum was installed in a replica of the keeper’s quarters, to give visitors a sense of the maritime history of Florida. As part of the renovation, the light was replaced with its present optics before its reactivation.The lighthouse was relit in time for the Miami Centennial celebration in July 1996. It is now owned and managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
After your visit, head to the Boater’s Grill for lunch! Located just 5 minutes from the lighthouse, this is casual waterside dining overlooking Hurricane Harbor. The menu has a terrific selection of seafood and more.
When you go…
Bills Baggs Cape Florida State Park is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until sundown and the lighthouse is open to visitors from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. There are guided tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily. You must be 42 inches tall to climb to the top of the lighthouse.
We hope you enjoy your visit to Cape Florida!