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Exploring Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys

Updated on June 22, 2013
Beaches along the Atlantic
Beaches along the Atlantic
Beach along the Gulf
Beach along the Gulf

Bahia Honda is the name of the small island that the state park is in. It is 12 miles west (going to Key West) of Marathon, which is in the central part of the Keys and 45 minutes from Key West. The park is just off Hwy 1, the two lane congested road that stretches all across the Keys from Key Largo to Key West. Its address is 36850 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, Florida 33043 or 305-872-2353.

It has fine grain white sand beaches lined with Queen or Coconut palms blowing in the breeze. The water is shallow and changes from light blue to dark blue because of the depth. The water is 84 degrees. They are the best beaches anywhere on the Keys and nearly run the length of the island. The best part is that for day use, they are not crowded at all. The park comprises of 524 acres.

This park really has it all for a state park. It has two boat ramps, three camping areas with a total of 80 sites, a total of five cabins to rent, a concession stand with food and souvenirs, a bike path that is 3.5 miles and a nature center. Hiking is also present up to the old Bahia Honda rail bridge and at Silver Palm trail, which is a loop.

The park offers kayaks, snorkeling, fishing, showers and restrooms at its beaches. The north side of the island has the Gulf of Mexico while the south side, the Atlantic.

At the concession stand, you can sign up for snorkel tours at 9:30 am or 1:30 pm, the cost is $30 for adults and $25 if under 18. The tour runs 3 hrs and that includes 1.5 hrs of snorkling. You can also rent your gear there. Reservations are advised, call 305-872-3210. If you rent a kayak, a double runs $18 an hour, a single, $12. The snack bar near the beach offers the usuals: hot dogs, hamburgers, corn dogs, pizza, ice cream, drinks.

If you have a boat to dock, the cost is $2 a foot and 19 slips are available and you can dock overnight if you want. If interested, call the dock at 305-872-3954.

The park opens at 8 a.m. until sunset, 365 days a year. The entrance fee is less than $10. To reserve a campsite, call 800-326-3521 or visit ReserveAmerica.com.

I found any of the beaches superb. However, the beach where the concession stand sits is the best I saw on the Keys. This beach faces the Gulf of Mexico and near the boat docks. The water was so clear and placid.

This park is a must stop for anyone going on the Florida Keys.

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