Today was Beach Day, we got off to a late start due to a few last minute things that had to be picked up or taken care of, plus there was loads of traffic, but got over to Key Biscayne around 1pm. Crandon costs $5 for parking but was pleasantly devoid of crowds. There is loads and loads of space including a sprawling picnic area with bbq grills, a long wide beach, and warm shallow water with nearly no surf perfect for young kids. It is fairly how, but there is both shade and fresh water showers. There is also a good playground but it is in direct sunlight so not a great idea between 11 am and 4 pm for the kids. Mine loved the shallow water and frolicked around. Now, I mentioned that I am traveling alone with them this time so it was just me in the water with them. It was nearly impossible to explain to my 5-year old that I could not let go of the hand of his 2-year sister to play with him because it was dangerous. The joys of parenting…One warning: lifeguards are not on duty during the week. However, they do post the water quality flags prominently. We had a yellow (slightly dangerous undertow) and purple (dangerous marine animals, aka jellyfish, portuguese man-o-war or sharks present), so I was extra careful. I remember when I was a kid and coming to this beach with my gramma in the summer, seeing a aerial photo either on the news or at school showing literally hundreds of sharks lurking just off of this beach, but honestly have never seen one myself. This particular beach is famous for having hosted the first zoo in Miami. It was a rather depressing affair with microscopic cages holding famished and depressed animals ranging from bears to tigers. It moved on years ago and became the MetroZoo down in Perrine (or is it Cutler Ridge?). My other memories here include biking all the way here from the Gables in high school, but more notably and much earlier getting stung by a man-o-war that was actually lying just under the sand. I was building a sandcastle or something and got stung by a stray tentacle all along my leg. Hurt like a mother, believe me. In any case, Hurricane Andrew did a number on this beach ripping out old sea oat trees and hundreds of coconut palms. It has come back however and remains a viable option for a mid-week swim with the munchkins.
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