At the southern tip of Key Biscayne lays one of the great jewels of Miami: Stitlsville. Stiltsville is an assemblage of seven houses perched on stilts in the middle of the translucent Miami waters. It is important to mention that access is restricted to regular boats in order to protect this village and keep boaters safe.
Stiltsville has become a great shooting spot for movies, TV series and professional photographers. Stiltsville was often featured as a guest star in movies and popular TV shows such as CSI: Miami and Miami Vice.
The history of Stlitsville is quite peculiar. Stiltsville was built during the prohibition when gambling and drinking was prohibited. The law declared at the time that gambling was allowed only 1 mile away from the land. The architecture of the Stiltsville houses was designed specially, so that boats could dock easily. Soon after, the law was changed to extend the minimum distance to 3 miles offshore. During the 80's Stilstville was used as a platform were drugs were loaded and unloaded.
In the early 90's, there were 20 homes, and then in 1993 hurricane Andrews stroked Miami and destroyed 13 of those houses. Eventually, a questionable law was passed to forbid occupants of the properties to repair, improve or reinforce the existing structure. In 1998, The FLORIDA NATIONAL REGISTER REVIEW BOARD, voted to recommend the site as a historic place. And in 1999, The NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, owner of the area said it would not renew leases to its occupants after that year. To this day, homeowners and preservationist are still fighting to preserve the existence of Stiltsville. Most of the existing houses still have a strong structures, so authorized boaters can come on board during the weekend to enjoy a truly unique experience.
A visit can easily be organized either by renting a boat or by taking a guided tour boat, which usually starts its journey at Bayside Marketplace. If you take the tour, guides will share with you great stories surrounding those unique houses.