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).