Best Place to People-Watch - 2009
Cape Florida Lighthouse at Bill Baggs State Park
1200 Crandon Blvd.
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
Sure, there are the obvious spots — a street-side café or neighborhood dive bar — when you want to observe the variegated human populations of South Florida. But looking down on Earth and its inhabitants from the 95-foot Cape Florida Lighthouse is a way better perspective.
Located on Key Biscayne, and built in 1825, it's the oldest structure still standing in Miami-Dade. Park guides provide tours of the historic tower, but — unless you're with your grandparents — avoid them. Instead, show up when the sunlight gets lazy and climb the spiral staircase all the way to the top. From there, it's an endlessly fascinating 360-degree view of the Atlantic, Biscayne Bay, mangrove forests, and the beach. Watch little kids as they scurry over sand dunes, through green growth, and into the ocean waters. Scope teens tucked into thick brush, engaged in various forms of bad behavior. Check out families flocked inside the picnic areas, grilling hot dogs and carne asada. But bring some military-grade binoculars for a chance to glimpse the few remaining residents of Stiltsville. Or, yeah, the sunbathing nudists aboard that pleasure yacht anchored offshore aren't bad to watch either.