Nature Viewing at VKOC

Virginia Key is a treasure trove of natural wonders.  Visit one of the many trails on the island! Here at Virginia Key Outdoor Center we offer our customers a plethora of ways to get involved in conserving the beauty that is Virginia Key. .


Coastal Hammock & Native Plants

Virginia Key Coastal Hammock Trail is a “transitional” zone.  Here, native plants thrive.  The 13-acre site, accessible from the parking lot of Virginia Key Beach (beyond VKOC across from the treatment plant) is the best example of this forest type remaining in Miami-Dade County.  

  • Sea Grape
  • Gumbo Limbo
  • Wild Lime
  • Saw Palmetto
  • Milkweed
  • Beach Sunflower
  • Red, Black, and White Mangroves
  • Silver Palm
  • Cabbage Palm
  • And More!


Virginia Key is home to array to bird life. Thanks to the bird rookery in the Sadowski Critical Wildlife area, many bird species that we once thought had left Virginia Key for good have begun to make a come back.

  • Brown Pelican
  • American White Ibis
  • Great Egrets
  • Great Blue Herons
  • Little Blue Herons
  • Osprey
  • Bald Eagles
  • The Double-Crested Cormorant
  • And More!


All Kayak and Paddle-boards of Virginia Key Outdoor Center are launched into Lamar Lake which feeds into Norris Cut and the Atlantic Ocean.  We always suggest coming early in the morning to increase your chances of seeing any of the following.

  • West Indian Manatee
  • Bottlenose Dolphins
  • Leatherback Sea Turtles
  • Loggerhead Sea Turtles
  • Sting Rays
  • Various Shark Species (Nurse Sharks, Bull Sharks, etc.)



Whether you're on the shore or on a kayak, there's always something to catch on Virginia Key.

  • Mangrove Snapper
  • Yellow Tail
  • Spade Fish
  • Sea Trout
  • Various Jack Species
  • Bone Fish
  • Barracuda
  • Various Shark Species
  • Tarpon
  • Snook

Recreational licenses and permits for residents and nonresidents are available on the Internet; at retail agents, such as sporting goods stores or other retailers that sell hunting or fishing equipment; by phone; and at county tax collectors' offices. All license, permit and issuance fees are subject to change by the legislature.

Get your Fishing License Here


Mabel Fentress Miller Nature Trail

This beautiful and scenic trail, brings homage to a woman known for working tirelessly to educate people on the importance of the ecosystem. Mabel Fentress Miller was the author of the Field Guide to the South Florida Ecosystem Preserve: Hardwood Hammock Nature Trail and founder of the Friends of Virginia Key, which was the original group that advocated for restoring Virginia Key to its natural state.


Virginia Key Mountain Bike Trail

The Virginia Key Mountain Bike Trails were created back in 2011. Thanks to Bernard Riviere and the countless of volunteers that have come and go, the trails now stretch over nine miles and is maintained by the Virginia Key Bicycle Club.  Volunteers can always be found on the weekends removing invasive species and expanding the trails. Individuals are able to walk or jog the Mountain Bike Trails, of course, be cautious for Mountain Bikers and give them the right of way. Critters such as Skunks and Foxes have taken up home in the trails, assortment of birds have begun to nest there as well.


Virginia Key Cove

In 2014, MUVE and the Miami-Dade County Department of Natural Resources began to clear invasive vegetation from the dune at Virginia Key North Point. Following the removal of Australian pine (Casuarina) and beach naupaka (Scaevola sericea), teams removed excess fill and graded the dune. MUVE volunteers then planted nearly 35,000 plants on the beach, including dune-stabilizing sea oats. In early 2015, Frost Science Museum removed invasive vegetation from the adjacent hardwood hammock and planted over 3,000 native trees in the area. Great Area for bird watching and you might see a dolphin or two from the water. You never know!