The guide turned her head my direction and asked: “Want to off-road?”
“Sure,” I replied. After all, I had 15 minutes of experience on the Segway. For a person of my skills, that was more than enough to navigate the soft, lumpy trails of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on the southern end of Key Biscayne.
We leaned ever so slightly to the right on our Segways and hit the trails toward the Cape Florida lighthouse and No Name Harrbor and then along the concrete seawall that serves as a walking and biking avenue for the thousands of yearly visitors who venture over the Rickenbacker Causeway from Miami. Along the trails we encountered various species of butterflies and floral as well several sizes (mostly large) of iguana that have invaded South Florida the past several years. The igureana are especially prevalant at the Crandon Golf Course between the ninth green and 10th tee box but can be seen almost anywhere on the key and as far north as Palm Beach County 125 miles to the north.
As we glided along the seawall, to our left and several hundred yards out in the bay we saw Stiltsville, a series of small houses built on stilts in the shallow waters of Biscayne National Park and accessible only by boat or other form of water craft.
A right turn took us back to the state park’s entrance and a return trip along Crandon Blvd. Staying in the bicycle lanes but testing the top speed of our Segway x2 Adventures we arrived back to our home base of the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, a 13-story beachfront resort that over the past 10 years has become the prime playground destination on Key Biscayne as well one of the more successful properties in the Ritz-Carlton portfolio.
“Everything feels very natural here,” said Chris Cawley, the resort’s director of sales and marketing. “It’s all very lush and tropical.”
The Segway excursion is just one of several activities offered by the 450-room Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne. The resort, which features a 20,000 square-foot spa, sits on 1,200 feet of beach, meaning water sports abound, including wave runners, wind surfing, snorkeling, private boat tours, eco-tours, deep sea fishing and biking. The resort also two great pool areas – one for adults and one dedicated to families. Guests travel easily between the two pools with the resort building serving as a beacon of The Dune Oceanfront Burger Lounge is a favorite of the guests’ at the family pool (try the Kobe sliders), which is surrounded by sofas, tables, and VIP cabanas.
Near the adult pool is Cantina Beach, Miami’s only Coast Mexican-inspired restaurant that features terrific guacamole and the Chef de Cuisine’s signature Pork Carnitas taken from a 150-year-old family recipe. Cantina Beach, by the way, is home to the country’s only “Tequilier,” who acts as a sommelier to the tequila set. The Tequilier gives guests advice on best-tasting practices and offers recommendations from Cantina Beach’s more-than 85 kinds of tequila.
If rum is more your style, the resort’s Rumbar offers 52 kinds of rums, cachacas and piscos from 18 countries. The Rumbar is decorated to resemble an old Havana bar and lounge and with its leather furnishing and overhead fans -not to mention assortment of cigars – is a favorite late-evening gathering place. Be sure to check out the VIP Rum Lockers, one of which belongs to actor and Miami native Andy Garcia, who helped open the Runstembar a few years ago.
Across from the Rumbar is Cioppino, one of the best restaurants in all of South Florida. Ciopino features terrific Tuscan cuisine with ingredients flown in from Italy. If you’re there at the right time, don’t miss the Moonrise dinner held during fool-moon evenings. The Moonrise dinner features a four-course meal, Italian wine, table-top telescopes and a constellation concierge to point out stars.
There’s no better way to see the heavens and a perfect way to end a day that began on a Segway.