My sister Krystal and I woke up on our last day in Miami with expectations of bad weather and no idea what we were going to do with our day. We’d been hoping to make our dreams of swimming with the cute fishies and colorful reefs come true with a snorkel trip in Biscayne National Park, but the insane amounts of winds and rip currents from day one had already made that an impossibility.
Even though the snorkeling tours had been canceled, we called the Biscayne National Park Institute. They run all of the tours in Biscayne, including snorkeling, kayaking in the mangroves, and fun boat rides to different areas of the park (which is 95% underwater). To our surprise, they were still offering a boat tour to Boca Chita Key for about $50 per person that afternoon. We were definitely down for that. In a rush to make our last-minute cruise and cross off another national park, we hastily packed up our car and a few snacks and jetted past downtown with a quickness.
As we sped towards the park, we surprisingly left behind the grey clouds that lingered over the city and were greeted by the bluest of skies. When we arrived, we checked in at the visitor center and immediately stamped our National Parks Passports to officially check the park off our list before boarding our boat. We sat towards the very front of the boat (highly recommended) and listened to the ranger tell us the history of the park and its ecosystems.
Sitting at the front of the boat gave us an undisturbed view of the sights as we pulled out from the dock. The surf was surprisingly calm making our hour-long ride very relaxing- a drastic difference for me from our queasy (well, for me anyway) boat ride to the Channel Islands. As we got closer to the island, the water became so clear that you could see straight to the bottom. It was hard to believe we were less than ten miles away from the mainland.
We were told we would have 45 minutes on our own to explore, which ended up being just enough time to rush around, take in the sights, and shoot as many pictures as we could. To be honest, though, we could have stayed all day (and some people do, as camping is allowed on the island)!
As we disembarked, we immediately started making our way towards the lighthouse. Inside, it was much more desolate than what storybooks make lighthouses out to be, but it was still pretty magical!
The wind was wicked at the top, but we could see the Miami skyline faintly in the distance. From the top, we could also see old life boats along the shore that the park ranger had pointed out to us. These boats were left on the island by people fleeing Cuba who escaped with the help of the Wet Feet, Dry Feet policy. The island is tiny, with just enough room for a small visitor center, a docking area, a small beach, and a short trail (which we sadly didn’t have the time to explore).
Soon, we left the lighthouse and made our way to the beach. As we walked, it was hard not to notice how serene and pretty everything was on the island. The palm trees swayed back and forth with a steady breeze and I already couldn’t wait to come snorkeling in the future.
We got to the beach and I took off my flip flops too feel the soft white sand- it was not soft. CAUTION: There are lots of shells and sharp coral pieces mixed in with the pretty white sand, so wear flip flops or water shoes! The water was a bit chilly, but it was so pretty that it didn’t matter.
Since we visited in the middle of winter, my pale skin needed a little pick me up. I got the chance to use Tanceuticals products for the first time and I absolutely love them! The light/medium shades are just the right amount of color to make my skin look a little less ghostly. I’m pictured here with one of my favorite products of theirs, the wash off bronzer. If you’re as bad as I am about remembering to self tan in advance, this little gem is a lifesaver. Keep it in your bag, and you can have a tan in 5 minutes! You’ll see the color as it goes on, so there are zero worries about streaks. BONUS: All of their products smell great and apply easily, plus they’re designed to make your skin look better over time!
I’m also wearing my new super affordable, under $25 rash guard swimsuit from my favorite secret place to bargain shop: Amazon. I’m always looking for good ways to keep my skin a little extra protected from the sun, and this was perfect for that. The quality blew me away and made me feel like I had scored an expensive suit for super cheap. The pattern is so fun and has the perfect bright and tropical vibe!
After our quick dip in the ocean, it was time to head back to the boat. Soon we watched as the island grew smaller in the distance. We already can’t wait to visit again, and next time we’re going snorkeling for sure!