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Key Biscayne

Key Biscayne is a bit of warm-weather heaven located only 30 minutes from Miami International Airport. Perfectly situated as a recreation mecca, the Miami-Dade County village is located on an island east of Miami, connected to the mainland by the Rickenbacker Causeway. The 1.4 square mile village itself is bordered by Crandon Park on the north and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on the south. The Atlantic Ocean is on the east, and Biscayne Bay is to the west. Incorporated as a new municipality in 1991, Key Biscayne was the first new city to be recognized in Miami-Dade County in more than 50 years. The village is situated on a seven mile-long barrier island that is home to some of America's best beaches and most productive deep-sea fishing.

It wasn't until the opening of the four-mile long Rickenbacker Causeway in 1947 that the island saw any large-scale residential development. A large portion of the island had been the site of the largest coconut plantation in the continental United States for the first half of the 20th century. The construction of large resort hotels, condominium complexes and shopping centers has affected the once-sleepy island life, but the tax rate remains the lowest of any municipality in Miami-Dade County. The village recently gained a new civic center and recreation and community center with ball courts, an outdoor swimming pool and a musical theater program.

The location where Flipper's New Adventure (1964) was filmed and the site of many a fashion magazine photo shoot is also the perfect place to lounge in a hammock under a palm tree on the white sands along the shore of Biscayne Bay. It's a popular spot for jet skiing, swimming and sailing. Officially discovered in 1513 by Juan Ponce de Leon, the quiet island has been fought over by everyone from Indian chiefs to real estate developers. Its birds, butterflies, pristine beaches and tranquil waters made it a popular winter colony for the nation's elite. The island became a U.S. territory in 1821. Former President Richard Nixon, arguably Key Biscayne's most famous resident, owned three waterfront homes there, forming a compound known as the Florida White House. Other notable island residents are tennis star Mary Joe Fernandez, actor Andy Garcia and race car driver Emerson Fittipaldi.

Crandon Park Beach, located on the northeast side of Key Biscayne, is considered one of the nation's top ten beaches. Its white sands and challenging ocean waves make the beach a must-go destination for kiteboarders. Crandon's coastal dunes are nesting areas and feeding grounds for migrating hawks, sea turtles, and songbirds. The park's Bear Cut Preserve is a natural environment study area that offers eco-adventure tours as well as bird and butterfly walks. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and Recreation Area is known for its velvety sand, clear water and the Cape Florida Lighthouse, the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County. Snorkeling, canoeing and kayaking are popular park attractions. Fishing from the seawall along Biscayne Bay is one of the most popular spots for anglers in Florida. Other attractions include the Miami Seaquarium, Crandon Golf Key Biscayne rated one of the top 10 courses by Golfweek magazine the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Rum Bar and Lighthouse Cafe.

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