Situated just a 15 minute drive from downtown Miami, The Barnacle Historic State Park provides a throwback to what life was like when most visitors to Miami came by sea.
Anchored on the comely shores of Biscayne Bay, the property was the former home of an influential and larger-than-life pioneer called Ralph Middleton Munroe.
Surrounded by a gaggle of old trees, the gorgeous residence with a slightly whimsical name was built in 1891.
Designed by Munroe, it is the oldest home still in its original location in Miami-Dade County.
The historic site officially became a state park in 1973 and still possesses many of the original antiques and furnishings that were present when the Munroe family lived there.
This Florida state park is open from 9 am to 5 pm and offers guided tours. A pet-friendly destination, it is also a noted spot for birding, geocaching and picnicking.
Visitors to The Barnacle Historic State Park can enjoy its beautiful surroundings in several different ways.
Outlined below is a brief rundown of some of the main recreational activities you can engage in during your time there.
Tours of The Barnacle Historic State Park
Many people who visit the park decide to book a tour of the Munroe House Museum. These are available four times a day from Friday through to Wednesday. They run from 10 am, 11.30 am, 1 pm and 2.30 pm.
Guided tours are limited to 10 visitors at a time. That said, group tours are available between Mondays and Wednesdays.
At the time of writing the cost is $3 for everyone aged 13 or over. For those between the age of 6 to 12 the cost is $1, while children under the age of 18 are allowed in for free.
The house and its surrounding grounds have largely been left in the same state as Munroe kept them. Two of the more notable features on the tour are his replica sailing boats. Designed in 1886, Egret is a sharpie ketch that spans 28-foot. The Flying Proa was built in 1898.
Picnicking at The Barnacle Historic State Park
Given its stunning backdrop against the shimmering waters of Biscayne Bay, the park is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic.
On its front lawn, you are allowed to set up folding chairs and bring rolling coolers. Unfortunately the park does not have any barbecue grills, but gas stoves and propane are allowed. Please note, all open flames and grills must be at a distance of at least 100 feet away from the main house and the boathouse.
During the day, the consumption of alcohol is not permitted. Although at night, it is often served at special, after-hours events.
When picnicking, you will be able to enjoy the view of boats sailing by. Just remember to pack in and pack out all your trash as there are no bins in the area.
Geo-Seeking at The Barnacle Historic State Park
Geocaching is a very popular activity in Florida and many people come to Barnacle Historic State Park to seek out some of the treasures that are located within it.
To find them, you will need to download their location coordinates on your hand held device via the geo-seeking provider’s website.
Some caches are easier than others to find. But that is half the fun of the treasure hunt. Once you do locate them, be sure to replace the loot with something of your own.
When geo-seeking, be sure to wear a sunhat, plenty of sunscreen and good walking shoes. Take lots of water with you as well.
Birding at The Barnacle Historic State Park
Although it is relatively small and has an urban location, it may surprise you to discover that The Barnacle Historic State Park is a decent spot for birding.
Contained within the park is a hammock of tropical hardwoods that feature a collection of semi-deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs that attract several species of birds.
Many of these birds reside within the park all year round, whilst others stop off during their annual migration.
Be sure to bring your binoculars with you, especially during the spring and fall, for the opportunity to see all kinds of shore and perching birds. Depending on the time of year you visit, look out for pelicans, kingfishers, herons, cormorants, doves, nightjars and woodpeckers.
Pets at The Barnacle Historic State Park
You can bring your dog with you to the park between the hours of 9 am to 5 pm although some conditions do apply.
At all times they need to be well behaved and kept on a hand held leash that is no more than six feet in length.
Dog owners are also responsible for cleaning up after their four legged friends and disposing of their waste appropriately. Pets are also forbidden from attending after-hour events unless specifically stated.
Camping at The Barnacle Historic State Park
Unfortunately there is no accommodation available at the park.
However as it is located just a 15 minute drive away from downtown Miami there are plenty of accommodation options available there. These include everything from luxury hotels and apartments to motels and Vrbo accommodation.
If you are visiting the park with your RV, there are a few campgrounds in the surrounding area. This includes the Torry Island Campground, Embassy RV Park and Matheson Hammock Park & Marina.
Between them they offer a range of camping options including cabins and lodges, as well as primitive sites and those which have full hookups for water, electricity and sewage. You will also find group and youth camping options too.
The amenities at these campgrounds may include flush toilets, hot showers, dump stations, playgrounds and swimming pools.
The Barnacle Historic State Park
3485 Main Hwy
Miami, FL 33133
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at The Barnacle Historic State Park: