|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – June 2005
Coming soon to your city: far-out adventures that are shockingly close to home.
Biscayne National Park Snorkel with angelfish and be home for dinner.
Sure, Miami's hot summer days and proximity to the ocean are the perfect excuse to throw down a towel and worship the golden orb-but cooler heads can still find adventure nearby. To wit: The world's third longest coral reef tract begins south of Miami across Biscayne Bay. Thanks to the park's daily 3-hour snorkeling tours, the living reef is easy to explore. After a 45-minute boat ride, you'll dive into the turquoise waters and flipper along 25-foot sea cliffs or through the giant ribs of shipwrecks teeming with sea life: Rainbow-colored parrotfish, black-and-yellow French angelfish, and prison-striped sergeant majors flit around a seascape of gem-toned sponges and purple, blue, and green sea fans. Swim with a school of fluttering fish and you'll be extra glad you didn't spend the day smelling like a coconut.
Get There The park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center is 35 miles south of downtown Miami.
Get Info Biscayne National Park, (305) 230-7275; www.nps.gov/bisc. Snorkeling trips leave daily from Convoy Point at 1:30 p.m. and return at 4:30 p.m.; $35 fee includes mask, snorkel, and fins. For reservations, call Biscayne National Underwater Park, Inc. (305-230-1100).