Opened in 1949, Crandon Park exists thanks to a far-sighted bequest by the Matheson family. It sticks in our collective memories as the location of the original zoo in Miami.
Today, it’s still packed with family fun and protects a large swath of Key Biscayne. With two miles of oceanfront on Biscayne Bay and access to hiking trails, it makes for a compelling outdoor destination.
Resources for exploring the area
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Location: Key Biscayne
Trailhead: 25.709548, -80.155929
Address: 6747 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne
Fees: $5 weekdays, $7 weekends
Restroom: Numerous locations
Land manager: Miami-Dade County
Open sunrise to sunset. Check beach conditions before planning on a swim. No floatation devices permitted.
From the intersection of US 41 (Tamiami Trail) and US 1 (Brickell Ave) in Miami, drive south on US 1 for 1.5 miles. Turn left onto the Rickenbacker Causeway, the toll road to Key Biscayne. Once you’ve paid the toll, continue another 4 miles into Crandon Park.
About the Park
Since the park opened, there has always been something for the kids. A classic carousel and an old-time outdoor roller rink now are the centerpieces, along with a splash pool and other activities.
For anyone who grew up in or visited Miami before 1980, the Crandon Park Zoo is part of their childhood memories. When it moved, it became the Miami Metrozoo.
No children? No worries. Golf and tennis are also a part of the park. You can rent a kayak or bike the paved trails. Or simply relax. Cabana rentals are available.
The biggest draw is the beach, with two miles of oceanfront. It’s a gentle beach with few waves, thanks to an offshore sandbar preventing big swells from the Atlantic from coming ashore.
For hikers, find your way to the northernmost corner of the park, where Bear Cut Preserve surrounds the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Nature Center.
Paved trails and gentle footpaths show off the delights of this natural portion of Crandon Park, including a fossil mangrove reef.
Bear Cut Preserve
Protecting natural habitats at the north end of Crandon Park, Bear Cut Preserve offers a different perspective on the shoreline of Key Biscayne, with footpaths and bike paths for exploration.
See our photos of Crandon Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Cape Florida State Park
A popular destination for sun worshipers, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is an easy getaway for most folks in the Miami area, with a long strand of beachfront complimenting trails along Biscayne Bay and a historic lighthouse at the point.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
The grandiose home of industrialist James Deering may be the star attraction, but the gardens of Vizcaya, set along Biscayne Bay, rival those of any formal estate.
Matheson Hammock Park
A tropical retreat along the coast of Coral Gables, Matheson Hammock Park has two distinct sides: a wild slice of the ancient Miami Hammock and a waterfront with a man-made atoll on Biscayne Bay.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Established in 1938 as one of the world’s largest collections of tropical plants, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is an integral part of the history of Florida botany and of Coral Gables.