Bahia Honda State Park, Key West: Beaches, Snorkeling and Camping
Tucked away on the gorgeous sun-kissed shores of South Florida, Bahia Honda State Park shines like a hidden treasure, offering some of the most stunning and unspoiled beaches in the United States.
- What to do at Bahia Honda State Park?
- Bahia Honda State Park beaches
- Bahia Honda State Park snorkeling
- Fishing at the state park
- Bahia Honda Railroad Bridge
- Lodging near Bahia Honda State Park
- Best time to visit
- Where is Bahia Honda State Park?
Situated merely a hop, skip, and a jump from the famous city of Key West, this park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure-seekers.
The state park presents a one-of-a-kind experience with its crystal-clear waters, pristine mangrove forests, and diverse wildlife, inviting visitors to break free from the daily grind and immerse themselves in nature’s beauty.
What to do at Bahia Honda State Park?
Bahia Honda State Park is renowned for its breathtakingly pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters that offer a captivating view of the vibrant marine life beneath the surface.
These immaculate stretches of white sand, framed by swaying palm trees, create an idyllic setting for relaxation and recreation.
The park’s turquoise waters, teeming with colorful fish and coral reefs, provide a spectacular backdrop for snorkeling, swimming, and simply basking in the sun.
Bahia Honda State Park beaches
Bahia Honda has one of the best beaches in the Florida Keys and its clear waters make it a perfect place for swimming. The fact that it has sandy beaches rather than coral surfaces is also a very important detail for pleasant hours.
There are two beaches in the park where you can swim. Depending on the wind or the crowd, you can choose one of them. There is also a café surrounded by palm trees where you can sit at tables and have something to eat and drink.
Situated on the west side of Bahia Honda Bridge, Calusa Beach is a favorite among visitors to Bahia Honda Beach and a must-see destination on the way to Key West. The beach’s calm, shallow waters and white sandy shores make it perfect for families with young kids or anyone seeking a relaxing spot to swim and sunbathe.
With the Gulf of Mexico as its backdrop, Calusa Beach offers stunning views of the Overseas Highway and the intriguing, partially-demolished Bahia Honda Bridge, lending a unique charm to the area.
Calusa Beach’s mesmerizing scenery, marked by crystal-clear blue waters and immaculate sandy beaches, is truly unforgettable. The beach’s sheltered position means milder winds and slightly warmer water temperatures compared to other parts of the park.
While the area has a grassy seabed, snorkeling is still a popular activity for visitors. To make your visit even more enjoyable, Calusa Beach offers amenities like picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and a concession stand, so you can recharge without leaving the beautiful surroundings.
Situated on the east side of the park, Sandspur Beach is the larger and more secluded beach, stretching over a mile long. This beach features soft, powdery sand and is surrounded by lush vegetation, offering a more natural and serene atmosphere.
Being on the ocean side, it has cooler water and windier weather compared to Calusa Beach, resulting in more waves and seaweed. However, when the water is calm, there are ideal spots for snorkeling, canoeing, and paddle surfing.
After enjoying the clear, turquoise waters perfect for swimming or lounging by the shore, visitors can take advantage of the available facilities. Sandspur Beach offers amenities such as shower cabins to rinse off, restrooms, changing rooms, and picnic areas for a comfortable and convenient beach experience.
Bahia Honda State Park snorkeling
At the state park, snorkeling and diving hold the top spots among visitor activities, largely due to the park’s crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life.
Situated in the Florida Keys, the park provides easy access to the famous Florida Reef, a unique living coral barrier reef in the continental United States. This aquatic sanctuary hosts a remarkable array of vibrant fish, intricate coral formations, and various marine species, making it a perfect destination for both beginner and seasoned snorkelers and divers.
The calm waters and excellent visibility at Bahia Honda Beach create an extraordinary experience for all who venture beneath the surface, appealing to nature enthusiasts and underwater explorers alike.
Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary snorkeling tour
Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary is one of the most popular snorkeling destinations in Key West. The sanctuary is home to a variety of tropical fish and corals.
The best time to visit Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary is from December to April. This is when the water is the clearest and there is the least amount of boat traffic. Visitors can take a guided tour of the sanctuary or go on their own.
There are snorkeling tours you can join to see dozens of different coral species and more than 100 fish species. Daily snorkeling tours depart at 09:30 am and 01:30 pm and arrive at Looe Key, which has one of the most spectacular reefs.
Before the snorkeling tours, you can rent basic equipment such as mask, fins, diving flag, snorkel, safety vest. You can use the contact information on their website to book a snorkeling tour, find out tour prices and get information on many other issues. It is recommended to make reservations in advance on holidays and busy days.
Fishing at the state park
Fishing is another popular activity for visitors to Bahia Honda Beach. The park’s diverse marine environment and strategic location in the Florida Keys make it a prime spot for both inshore and offshore fishing experiences.
Anglers can try their luck at catching various fish species, including snapper, grouper, tarpon, bonefish, and barracuda, among others.
There are designated fishing areas along the park’s shoreline, as well as bridges and piers that provide excellent vantage points for casting a line. For those looking to venture further out, there are boat ramps available, and nearby marinas offer charters and guides for unforgettable deep-sea fishing excursions.
It’s important to note that all anglers must have a valid Florida fishing license and adhere to state regulations regarding size and bag limits. Responsible and sustainable fishing practices are encouraged to help protect and maintain the delicate marine ecosystem of Bahia Honda State Park and the surrounding Florida Keys.
Bahia Honda Railroad Bridge
When delving into the area’s history, it’s essential to discuss the Bahia Honda Railroad Bridge. This historic structure spans across the Bahia Honda Canal in the Florida Keys and was built in 1912.
However, a devastating hurricane Irma in 1935 inflicted severe damage on the bridge, and the railroad company never made the necessary repairs.
Today, visitors can walk only a portion of the bridge, as its head is broken and impassable. Despite this, strolling along the bridge offers a delightful vantage point to admire the stunning the state park from an elevated perspective.
This iconic landmark stands as a testament to the region’s history and provides a unique experience for those exploring the park.
Lodging near Bahia Honda State Park
There are many lodging options available near Bahia Honda State Park in Key West, Florida. Some of the most popular lodging options include:
Camping at Bahia Honda State Park
If you’re looking for a campsite with breathtaking views, easy access to the beach and the park’s many amenities, Bahia Honda State Park has places to stay. Enjoy camping in Bahia Honda State Park with caravan or tent sites.
Reservations for accommodation open 11 months in advance, and as it is a popular destination, you may have to be lucky to find a vacancy on the dates you have planned. As it is a state park, the camping fee is very affordable. When making your reservations, make sure that you have electricity and water.
Bahia Honda State Park RV Campground
The state park offers an RV campground for visitors looking to stay overnight in the heart of this natural paradise. The campground features spacious, well-maintained campsites with a range of amenities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Visitors can enjoy the convenience of electric and water hookups, picnic tables, grills, and restrooms with showers.
The RV campground is situated near the park’s beautiful beaches, providing easy access for campers to swim, sunbathe, or partake in water-based activities.
Staying at the campground also allows guests to fully immerse themselves in the serene atmosphere of the park, with opportunities for stargazing, birdwatching, and exploring the park’s nature trails just steps away from their RVs.
How to get a reservation at the state park?
Advance reservations are highly recommended for state park’s RV campground, particularly during peak season, as it fills up quickly due to its popularity and the unforgettable experiences it offers.
If you’re planning to make a reservation, it’s crucial to be aware of the park’s high demand. Keep a close eye on your desired reservation date and book as soon as it becomes available. You can make a reservation by phone.
It’s worth noting that people may cancel their reservations, so if your preferred dates are fully booked when you call, don’t lose hope.
Try again later to see if any spots have opened up due to cancellations. This way, you may still have a chance to secure a campsite and enjoy the incredible the state park experience.
Cabins at the state park
In addition to the RV campground, this place also offers visitors the option to stay in cabins for a more comfortable and convenient lodging experience. The park features six cabins, each nestled along the shores of the bay, providing stunning waterfront views.
It’s important to note that the cabins are in high demand and tend to book up quickly, especially during peak season. Advance reservations are strongly recommended, and guests should plan their trip accordingly to secure their preferred dates.
Staying in a cabin offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the serene beauty of here while enjoying the comforts of a home away from home.
Hotels near Bahia Honda State Park
There is no hotel directly in the park. The closest hotel to the park is in Boot Key, 15 minutes away. Isla Bella Beach Resort, Courtyard Marathon Florida Keys and Caption Pips Marina are 3 and 4 star hotels.
With views of the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Bay, they offer luxury accommodation. With world-class cuisine and walking distance to the pool, spa and restaurants, you can have a comfortable stay.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the state park is during the shoulder seasons of spring (March to May) and fall (September to November), when temperatures are comfortable, the weather is generally pleasant, and the park is less crowded compared to the peak winter season.
Where is Bahia Honda State Park?
The state park is located in the Florida Keys, approximately 37 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Key West and 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of Marathon. The park’s address is 36850 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key, FL 33043.
How to get to Bahia Honda State Park?
- By car: The most popular way to reach here is by driving. From Miami, take US-1 South (Overseas Highway) for about 120 miles (193 kilometers), and you’ll find the park entrance on the right side of the road.
- By bus: Greyhound offers bus services to Marathon, FL, from where you can catch a local bus (Lower Keys Shuttle) that stops near the park entrance.
- By ferry: The Key West Express ferry operates between Fort Myers Beach, Marco Island, and Key West. Once in Key West, you can rent a car or use a shuttle/bus service to reach the park.
What mile marker is Bahia Honda State Park?
Mile marker is a term used to describe physical markers placed along roads and highways to measure distance. The park is located at mile marker 37 on the Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys. The park is named after the the bridge, which spans a channel between the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
Bahia Honda State Park which is in the island of Bahia Honda Key, Florida is a truly stunning location for anyone looking for outdoor adventure and breathtaking scenery. With its crystal blue waters, lush flora, and diverse wildlife, it’s no wonder why this park continues to be one of the most popular destination spots in South Florida.