The United States’ long maritime heritage is found along oceans, rivers, lakes, and man made waterways. Ships, lighthouses, life-saving stations, coastal fortifications, canals, and other physical resources are important parts of this history and heritage, as are the diverse arts, trades, cultures, and societies that developed along American waterways. Within the national park system, maritime history and heritage can be explored in many ways, ranging from New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in Massachusetts to Kaloko-Honokōhau National Park in Hawaii, and the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, which passes through eleven states on its route from Illinois to Oregon.
Biscayne National Park’s Maritime Heritage Trail offers an exciting opportunity to explore the remains of some of the park’s many shipwrecks. Six wrecks, spanning nearly a century and a wide variety of sizes and vessel types, have been mapped.
Biscayne National Park is the premier park for shipwrecks. Prior to today’s modern technology, this area’s shallow waters, coral reef, and hurricanes made ship navigation treacherous. Along the park’s reef is the Maritime Heritage Trail which is made up of six shipwrecks and features a screw-pile lighthouse. Explore a site on the trail and see the remains of these historic vessels that have become a part of the beautiful natural reef setting. During this unique snorkeling experience at Biscayne National Park, you will learn how cultural history and the natural environment are often intertwined. See the majestic structure of a sunken vessel which is now engulfed by colorful corals and surrounded by multitudes of fish and other wildlife.