Maritime Heritage Trail

Biscayne National Park's Maritime Heritage Trail offers an exciting opportunity to explore the remains of some of the park's many shipwrecks. Six wrecks, spanning nearly a century and a wide variety of sizes and vessel types, have been mapped, brochures have been produced and mooring buoys have been installed. The newest addition to the trail is the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse. Snorkeling is great around the base of the light, but the structure itself is not open to the public.

Access to the sites on the trail is by boat only. Erl King, Alicia and Lugano are best suited to SCUBA divers, while the other sites can easily be enjoyed while snorkeling. Mandalay in particular offers an unparalleled opportunity for snorkelers to experience a shipwreck in a beautiful natural setting. Learn more about the sites along the trail below.

If you can't dive these wrecks right now, take a virtual tour on our Biscayne Maritime Heritage Trail Story Map right now. Here, you'll see beautifully rendered 3D scans of each wreck, and learn more about their captivating history.

The steel skeleton of a ship rests on the ocean floor
Arratoon Apcar as she appears today.

Arratoon Apcar - Sank 1878

In the 1870s, Cape Florida Lighthouse was considered inadequate because of its distance from the reef line. When Arratoon Apcar ran aground, it did so just a few hundred yards from where workers were busy building the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse.

Fowey Rocks was first lit in 1878
The Fowey Rocks Lighthouse in was listed by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the eleven most endangered historic sites in Florida.

Photo by Mike Beach

Fowey Rocks Lighthouse - Built 1878 - the newest addition to the Maritime Heritage Trail is also a departure from the shipwreck theme. The lighthouse witnessed decades of storms and wrecks, and is known as the "Eye of Miami."

Wreck of the Erl King
Erl King ran aground at Tennessee Reef on January 18, 1881.

Erl King - Sank 1891

Erl King reflects the early period of transition from wooden sailing vessels to steel steamships.

The Alicia never made it to its intended destination, Havana.
Alicia was wrecked in a 1905 storm.

Alicia - Sank 1905

Alicia was laden with silks, silverware, and other fine household items when it ran aground. The ensuing battles among the 70 different groups of wreckers led to a permanent rewriting of U.S. salvage laws.

The British steamer, Lugano, from Liverpool, was headed for Havana.
Lugano now lies 25 feet underwater on Long Reef in Biscayne National Park.

Lugano - Sank 1913

At the time of its grounding, Lugano had been the largest vessel ever to wreck in the Florida Keys.

On New Years Day, 1966, the schooner Mandalay ran aground on Long Reef.
The skeleton of Mandalay can be found embedded on Long Reef

Mandalay - Sank 1966

The steel-hulled schooner Mandalay was known as the “red carpet ship of the windjammer fleet” and was outfitted with a teak and mahogany deck.

Ballast stones of unknown vessel in Biscayne National Park
Ballast stones reveal the final resting place of an unknown vessel.

19th Century wooden sailing vessel

Last updated: May 30, 2023

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