Places To Go

The park has 173,000 acres of aquamarine waters, emerald islands and vibrant coral reefs to explore. This includes the rare opportunity to experience largely undeveloped Florida Keys. Visitors may encounter the scenery, wildlife, history and other amazing resources of the park at the following suggested locations:

  • Boca Chita Key – The most visited island in the park. The iconic and historic lighthouse, built by Mark Honeywell in the late 1930s, is located here. The lighthouse was never meant to guide ships to safe passageways yet draws them instead to the beauty and wonders of the park. Access is by boat only.

  • Maritime Heritage Trail - The romance of shipwrecks always captures the imagination. This trail offers exciting opportunities to snorkel and explore the remains of some of the park's shipwrecks. The Mandalay in particular offers an unparalleled opportunity for snorkelers to experience a shipwreck in a beautiful natural setting. Bronze interpretive plaques are available at each of the six historic shipwrecks along this trail. Access is by boat only.

  • Dante Fascell Visitor Center, Gallery and Museum - The park offers a variety of free programs and activities and most of them begin here. Island boat trips run on select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. A museum highlights the park's four ecosystems with exhibits, sound and video. The gallery highlights the works of contemporary local artists inspired by beauty of the park. Most of the programs occur November through May.

  • Jones Family Historic District and Jones Lagoon - The Jones Family Historic District including the former home and farm of Israel Lafayette Jones and his family, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Jones Lagoon, nearby, is a wonderful place to paddle. Trips are best during the winter months when temperatures are mild and bugs are easier to deal with. Access is by boat only.

  • Elliott Key – The largest island in the park. It was once a thriving community of pioneers engaged in pineapple farming, sponging, wrecking and other pursuits. Today the island offers camping, picnicking, swimming, wildlife watching and a hiking trail. Trips are best during the winter months when temperatures are mild and bugs are easier to deal with. Access is by boat only.

  • Stiltsville (pictured above) – Submerged lands in the northern part of the park containing historic houses built on stilts beginning in the 1930s. In 1985, the land was deeded to the park by the State of Florida. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 left only seven buildings standing. In 2003, an agreement was reached to establish a non-profit organization called the Stiltsville Trust. The park has a cooperative agreement with the Trust to rehabilitate the buildings to support educational and interpretive services. Access is by boat only.

Last updated: June 21, 2017

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Mailing Address:

9700 SW 328th Street
Sir Lancelot Jones Way

Homestead, FL 33033


(305) 230-1144

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