Stiltsville can be found just to the south of Key Biscayne. It’s a group of stilt houses situated about a mile offshore. These 7 remaining houses date back to the gambling hay days of Al Capone. They are rich with South Florida history that includes rum running, drug smuggling, gambling, prostitution, fishing and just plain partying.
It’s a popular destination spot for photographers, fishermen, kayakers, boaters, sun worshipers and paddleboarders. If you’re considering a visit by boat, it helps to be fully aware of the shallow, grassy shoals and coral surrounding the area of the stilt houses. At low tide, it’s as shallow as a couple feet. However, there are several popular channels close by. So, getting to the area is not an issue.
Visibility is usually quite clear for spotting shallow areas to avoid by boat. Taking a swim is reminiscent of the good times had within each of the unique stilt structures.
One of the Stiltsville images was transferred onto wood.
A beautiful piece. Must see.
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Kayaking and stand up Paddleboarding work well in the shallow waters. I’ve seen very experienced kite surfers, as well. Whichever activity you choose, always include a camera (waterproof is safest) to record the very colorful and alive environment.
What I find most interesting about Stiltsville, is its proximity to Miami. It’s juxtaposed against the downtown Miami skyline. An amazing scenario to experience by boat.
Back in the 30’s, when these structures were first built, they included an illegal gambling barge and the racy Bikini Club.
Miami was small in comparison. As a result of the vast and rapid development involving downtown Miami, the beaches and the surrounding areas, Stiltsville’s future suddenly became threatened with the ongoing struggle to maintain its presence in Biscayne Bay.
Dr. Paul George, historian for the Historical Museum of Southern Florida explained the significance of Stiltsville: “It really is an only-in-Miami kind of thing. It had an aura, a rascally mischievous past. But it was also just a place people could go to enjoy getting away. It would be a terrible loss.”
Although these houses are maintained by their current lease owners, Biscayne National Park and the National Park Service have dominion over them. The Birds have taken up residence at some of the houses.
Come out and play with the neighborhood birds…we’ll provide the tools to have fun!