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Everglades National Park is the Florida National Park Site that usually gets the most attention, but Biscayne National Park, located less than 20 miles away, boasts its own unique ecosystem. The park is within eyesight of Miami, which makes it fragile, but also begs the question why so few people visit the park. One answer might lie in the fact that most of the park is under the water. Biscayne preserves part of the coral reef that exists just off the coast of Florida. The reef is, unfortunately, rapidly disappearing due to its close proximity to Miami, but the National Park is attempting to secure the reef’s survival.

We had planned to take a glass-bottom boat tour of Biscayne while we were visiting. Unfortunately, Biscayne had some trouble with its concession companies, so we were unable to do so. Since our trip itinerary was already jam-packed and we were already visiting the coral reefs further south at Dry Tortugas, we decided to just visit the aspects of the park that were above sea-level. We went to the visitor center, which offered a small but informative museum about the park’s aquamarine life. We took a walk out onto one of the park’s jetties so that we could look at more of the park. We weren’t able to see as much as we wanted, but we were still able to spot crabs, birds, and some of the beautiful little islands that dot the coast.

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While we didn’t get to see the coral reefs of Biscayne, we do recommend trying to see a part of the coral reefs that exist around Florida. The ones we saw at Dry Tortugas were spectacular-never had we seen so much wildlife, let alone wildlife with so much brilliant color! Biscayne is a hidden gem, despite the fact that it’s located just across the bay from one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. If you are in south Florida, don’t miss the opportunity to see the wonders under the ocean.

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Tip: Concession boats in Miami offer tours of Biscayne if the National Park Service is not. The only downside is that the National Park’s services are usually much cheaper. The National Park Service also offers canoe trips at different times. Check the park’s website before deciding what tour you would like to go on.

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