Trust me when I say: kite boarding will be the new wind surfing (or paddle boarding if you haven’t made the wind surfing leap yet). So, let me help you stay ahead of the game with this itinerary on Key Biscayne. Luckily for us, Crandon Park is known as one of the best places to learn kite boarding as it has shallow and calm waters that make it easier for beginners. Enjoy exploring the beautiful island of Key Biscayne, experiencing a newly popular extreme sport, devouring burgers, sharing dessert and, of course, sipping cocktails. Life is good – and island living is even better.
Here’s your schedule:
9:30 a.m. Breakfast / Lighthouse Café
1200 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne
Since we’re going to spend the day here, let’s take the full drive and start at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. The drive is beautiful and will get you into the island-town feel; driving by the small shops and food stands, and through palm-lined streets. It is $8 to enter to the park, but worth it for the food (you’ll need fuel for kite boarding) and the chance to walk around one of Miami’s most famous beaches.
Lighthouse Café is a perfect venue for breakfast. It is a completely open-air restaurant so you can soak in the ocean breeze and sun while you eat your French Toast and sip your Café con Leche. Here, you also get a great view of Key Biscayne’s historic lighthouse, built in 1825 (and rebuilt in 1856 after being burned down by the Seminole warriors protesting U.S. presence in South Florida and resisting deportation to the West – lest we forget our Miami history). I always think a little sense of history can bring a refreshing perspective to our everyday-tropical-paradise-life. Hopefully being in these surroundings reminds us of all that Miami has to offer (lest we take it for granted).
After breakfast, if you have time, take a stroll along Cape Beach, or rent one of those adorable Quadracycles ($10-$15 for a half-hour) and ride around the state park and its pretty beach.
11 a.m. Kite Boarding / Crandon Beach
4000 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne
Cost: $100 – $570 (depending on class size, length of lesson, etc.)
Kite boarding is like wake boarding, except that you don’t have to rely on owning (or having a friend with) a boat to do it. However, it does mean that you have to wait for perfect wind-conditions of 12 mph (but at least you’re reliant on nature and not reliant on having to purchase something that costs more than a condo – and I appreciate that).
While it’s not uncommon to see riders launch into the air and soar to heights exceeding 20 feet above the water’s surface, we’re going to start at the beginning. The instructors at Miami Kite Boarding are amazing and make everything easy to learn. I went on a day that unfortunately did not have perfect wind-conditions, but it did not make this lesson less fun or exciting. We just stayed out of water for the lesson, but warmed up with some paddle boarding. We like to improvise.
You begin with learning how to fly a kite. Yes, flying a kite. We (my friend Mabel and I) spent two hours learning how to set-up and fly said kite. (When was the last time you flew a kite?) It sounds so simple, but let me assure you, this is no ordinary kite. It is the most powerful thing you have ever tried to steer; yet, ironically enough, the power of steering is based on how lightly you handle it. And we only used the training one. If we used the kite that we actually kite board with… let’s just say you would have sworn you’d seen Mary Poppins flying over downtown Miami that weekend. Except she would have been screaming. And it would have been me. If the wind had been right, we would have spent another hour in the water. The owner of Miami Kite Boarding said he can have most people up with a three-hour lesson, and you can be kite boarding on your own with a full 6-10 hours of training. That’s some exciting stuff. And, even if you just get to do the kite lesson, I’m pretty sure you’ll be begging nature for wind every weekend. I am. I’ve been planning my next lesson since the time my hands first touched that kite.
1:30 p.m. Lunch / KB Burgers & More
26 Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne. Kite Boarding. KB Burgers. What a trio! You’ll be hungry after handling that kite all day, and what better place than here as the owner specifically built this space to be a kite surfer hang-out. The sign reads ‘Best Burgers in Town’ but consider it an understatement. These may be the best burgers in all of South Florida. (Someone call Oprah and let her know please. I’m serious.) When I asked people that had been here about this place, they mumbled something like ‘Columbian Burger’ and basically started drooling. As the neighborhood vegetarian (or pescatarian to be exact) I can tell you this place makes a mean Black Bean Chipotle burger. And I consider myself to be the Black Bean Chipotle burger guru.
3 p.m. Sweets / La Nouvelle Boulangerie
328 Crandon Boulevard #125, Key Biscayne
Since macarons are the new cupcakes (and we’re trying all things new today) stop by here after your ridiculously delicious burger for some French pastries. I can never resist a little dessert, especially after a hard days work. Enjoy yourself some sugary goodness.
5 p.m. Drinks / Rum Bar
455 Grand Bay Dr., Key Biscayne
Drinks anyone? We’ve spent the day doing like islanders do: enjoying the ocean breeze, practicing the newest extreme water sport, eating burgers. Now end the day like you’re on vacation at one of Key Biscayne’s most beautiful resorts, The Ritz Carlton. Cozy up into one of the big leather chairs in the air-conditioned lounge and fully stocked Rum Bar. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere and totally time to wind down with a delicious island-cocktail. Cheers!