Updated May 10, 2019
By: Rebecca Cofino
It doesn’t take many steps, maybe fifteen, to leave the hustle and bustle of Coconut Grove’s Main Highway and step back in time at the Barnacle Historic State Park. Each step brings takes you a little bit closer to tranquility. Traffic sounds give way to rustling leaves and twittering birds as you walk through the forested entrance. This walk is perhaps my favorite part of visiting the Barnacle. It is just so amazing to be right in the heart of Coconut Grove one minute and in the peace of nature the next. Signs herald that you are now entering the “real Florida.”
The Barnacle is a simple, but stunning historical park. The entrance fee is $2, payable through a metal box on a post using the honor system. (Please, be honorable.) The forest path winds down for some time before it opens up to breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay and an endless green lawn.
This five acre park is what is left of Coconut Grove pioneer, Ralph Middleton Munroe’s, original 40 acre estate. He purchased all 40 acres in 1886 for $400. A few years later he built his home, which you can tour today. It’s a typical historic home with period furnishings roped off so visitors can imagine what life was like for the original owner.
What’s truly spectacular about this park is its beautiful view. A long, lush lawn extends from the foot of the historic home all the way to the edge of the bay. A covered pavilion offers shade and doubles as a stage for the many events hosted there each year. Scattered about the grounds are benches and pairs of chairs perfectly situated to gaze at the bay and enjoy a moment of silence.
The expanse of grass offers no end of amusement for children. They love running and rolling up and down the gentle slope. If you find a perch along the edge of the park, you can keep an eye on them while you soak in the sunshine.
Leaving the Barnacle is always a bit of a jolt as the boisterous sounds of the city return. That is how you know you really relaxed: normal life seems busier than it needs to be and you’re tempted to turn around again for one last breath calm.
The Barnacle is located at 3485 Main Highway.