How to Get to Biscayne National Park by Bus, Train, Plane, or Car

Table of Contents

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and complete a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Encompassing over 170,000 acres off the coast of Miami in the north Florida Keys, Biscayne National Park is home to several small islands, beautiful coral reefs, mangroves, and a spectacular array of marine life. Just a stone’s throw from Miami’s nightlife, you’ll find endless opportunities for diving and snorkeling amidst shipwrecks, sea turtles, and dolphins, as well as exploring fascinating historic islands like Adams Key and Elliot Key.

The National Park was established in 1980 as a measure to combat development on the islands, like resorts, bridges, and even nuclear power plants. Protecting one of the largest coral reefs in the world, today the park provides visitors the opportunity to interact with life below and above the water. After all, 95% of the park is underwater, and 16 endangered species make their home there (feel free to drop that and other Florida fun facts to impress your buddies while you’re visiting).

The overwhelming majority of Biscayne National Park is accessible only by boat, making it a truly unique experience. To help you very literally navigate the waters of this incredible environment, we put together this guide with all of your options for getting to Biscayne.

Biscayne National Park by Bus

The Dante Fascell Visitor Center is the only part of Biscayne National Park truly located on the mainland. From here, you can learn more about the park and embark on a variety of boat, snorkel, and scuba diving tours and excursions. 🤿

The visitor center is located in Homestead, Florida. There are many convenient bus connections to Homestead on a variety of carriers, and fares from Miami start as low as $4.99.

Cities with direct bus trips to Homestead, FL include:

Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period. 

Regardless of the company, all buses stop at stations in either Homestead or Florida City, both near the visitor center.

Homestead, FL

1-49 SW 5th St.

Curbside stop on 5th Street in downtown Homestead 

9 miles from Dante Fascell Visitor Center

Florida City, FL

155 N. Krome Ave.

Curbside stop in front of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store in a neighboring town

10 miles from Dante Fascell Visitor Center

 

Once in Homestead, you can take a 20-minute ride share directly to the park entrance. There’s also the free Homestead Trolley that runs on weekends from downtown Homestead to Biscayne National Park.

Biscayne National Park by Train + Bus

There is no direct train service to Biscayne National Park; however, taking an Amtrak train to the stations in either Miami or West Palm Beach gets you pretty close. Once you arrive in either city by train, it’s simple and straightforward to then hop on a bus to Homestead. 

These are just some of the cities with direct train routes to Miami or West Palm Beach:

Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period. 

With Wanderu, this process is even simpler: in one step, you can search and book your train to Miami or West Palm Beach and the bus from there to Homestead. Even though you’ll travel with multiple carriers, you can secure tickets for both of these legs at once.

Simply search from your origin city to Homestead, and Wanderu will craft unique routed itineraries that combine the best train and bus routes for your travel date.

Biscayne National Park by Plane

Flying in to visit Biscayne National Park is easily manageable, due to its proximity to Miami and two major airports. 

Miami International Airport: The closest airport to the park is just 31 miles away, or about a 45-minute drive. One of the largest airports in the U.S., Miami offers flights from all major carriers, both domestic and international. 

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood: 60 miles away, this airport is a bit further from Biscayne, but still only about an hour’s drive. Many domestic and international flights land in Fort Lauderdale as opposed to Miami, so it’s worth comparing your options when deciding how to get to Biscayne National Park. 

Whichever airport you decide to fly into, renting a car and driving to the national park is by far the most time-efficient option. Connections on public transportation take significantly longer and paying for rideshares or taxi cabs can quickly add up. 

Once you’ve flown into the area, you can even see Biscayne National Park from above with a private scenic airplane tour that departs from Miami. 🛩️ Go big or go home!

Biscayne National Park by Car

Assuming that you’re flying into Miami and renting a car, the park’s Dante Fascell Visitor Center is an easy 45-to-50-minute drive from Miami. 

You’ll need to first get on US 1 and head south before merging onto Ronald Reagan Turnpike. Once in Naranja, exit onto Tallahassee Road and continue to 328th Street, which takes you directly to Biscayne. There is abundant parking near the visitor center.

How to Get Around Within Biscayne National Park

Unless you’re exploring the park aboard a private boat, the Dante Fascell Visitor Center is the only launching pad into Biscayne National Park. The park rangers at the visitor center can help you plan a boat ride or guided tour to suit your specific interests, such as snorkeling, kayaking, or sailing. Biscayne is one of just a handful of national parks that does not have an entrance fee.

For private boaters, the park has four available marinas. Two, Homestead Bayfront near park headquarters and Black Point on the western side of the park, actually provide direct access to Biscayne. The other two, Matheson Hammock and Crandon, on Key Biscayne, are park-adjacent.  These are some of Miami’s most popular marinas, offering quick access to some of the county’s best beaches, so they often close temporarily during peak times. Plan accordingly, especially on weekends.

If you don’t have your own boat, there are a number of options for exploring Biscayne National Park. Authorized outfitters offer private and group tours, as well as custom itineraries. The Biscayne National Park Institute is the largest and most established of these outfitters, providing a range of immersive activities including paddle-boarding among the mangroves, snorkeling through a shipwreck, and sightseeing on historical boat tours.

Aside from the Institute, the National Park Service permits a handful of other concessionaires to operate inside Biscayne. Options range from boat rentals to kiteboarding lessons and excursions.

Things to Do in and around Biscayne National Park

Once you arrive at Biscayne National Park, it’s time to enjoy the pristine water! Here are some of the best things to do in and around the park. 

  • Visit Boca Chita Key aboard a guided tour or rental boat. Hike the half-mile trail around the island and explore the iconic 1930s-era lighthouse. If you visit on an official tour, you can even climb to the top!
  • Book a diving or snorkeling tour with the Biscayne National Park Institute. Tour options include excursions to family-friendly sites such as the Maritime Heritage Trail, with six shipwrecks including the famous Mandalay wreck, sunk in 1966.
  • Go kayaking or paddleboarding through mangroves in pristine Jones Lagoon, watching out for fish, small sharks, and sea turtles. 🛶 Since the dense vegetation is inaccessible by boat, it’s the quietest corner of the park, a perfect place for solitude on the water.
  • Kick up the adrenaline by taking kiteboarding lessons from South Florida Kiteboarding. Their partnership with the NPS allows them to operate in areas off-limits to other instructors.
  • Take a guided historical boat tour to Stiltsville, a series of unique 1930s offshore homes built (on stilts, as the name implies) for fishing, gambling, and socializing during the Prohibition.
  • Walk the 0.8-mile Convoy Jetty Trail, one of the only park attractions you can enjoy without boarding a boat. The area is a bird-nesting site and features beautiful views of Biscayne Bay.
  • Visit Elliot Key, the northernmost of the Florida Keys and the largest island in the National Park. The island shows signs of the attempts at development that were ultimately shut down and has a campground, fishing spots, and hiking trails.
  • If you’re in the area, check out things to do in Key West

A beautiful coastal and underwater preserve 🤏 this close to Miami, Biscayne National Park is the perfect getaway. Since 95% of the park is underwater, visiting can be trickier than other National Parks. With a bit of advanced transportation and logistics planning (and the right captain!), however, you’ll be enjoying the warm, pristine waters in no time. Grab your Florida packing list and head on down!

To compare all the available transportation options and take the stress out of booking your Biscayne National Park trip, whip out the Wanderu app. We do all the work so all you have to do is decide on the best option, then set sail!

Travel Safely

At Wanderu, we want to make sure you are equipped with all the information you need to plan a safe trip. Please visit our COVID-19 Travel Guide for the latest tips & advisories.

Like what you read?
Spread the word:

About the author
Taryn Shorr

Taryn Shorr

A classic Type A personality, Taryn's favorite aspects of travel are the planning and meeting new people. She's most drawn to the mountains and has a knack for quickly finding the best happy hour in new destinations. When she isn't writing for Wanderu or traveling, Taryn runs her own blog, Chasing Trail.
keep wanderin'

Can’t get enough Wanderu? Then you might enjoy these stories too: