Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Exploring Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park is said to be one of the most beautiful state parks in the state of Florida. I haven’t visited many of the Florida state parks, but I can see where Bahia Honda would be hard to top. Located about 37 miles north of Key West, the park encompasses over 500 acres and offers beaches, camping spaces, cabins, kayak rentals, snorkeling tours and many trails to explore. Bahia Honda is located right after the 7 mile bridge and in between Marathon and Big Pine Key; the location makes the park feel like you are secluded, but you are still close enough to the other islands to make a grocery store run, grab dinner at a restaurant or do a little shopping. Two of our favorite restaurants in the area are the Keys Fisheries and Tarpon Creek Bar & Grill, both located just north of the park in Marathon.

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

There are two main beaches within Bahia Honda: Calusa Beach and Sandspur Beach. Sandspur Beach is a mile long and has beautiful white sand–unfortunately, we visited on a rainy weekend, so we didn’t get to enjoy the beach as I had hoped. However, the rain broke up for a bit so we were at least able to go for a brief walk. This beach would be perfect for a refreshing swim, getting some sun on a beautiful day or for exploring the coastline as it curves along the island.

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Calusa Beach is a smaller beach located near the Bahia Honda Bridge, and it is perfect for watching the beautiful sunsets that are so prevalent in the Keys. You can watch the sun dip behind the bridge before falling into the ocean and it would be a great spot for sunning on a nice day as well.

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

One of my favorite aspects of Bahia Honda is the historic old bridge–you can walk along part of the bridge for sweeping views of the ocean and Calusa Beach and it makes for a great spot to watch the sunset as well. This bridge was originally part of the Overseas Railway that Henry Flagler built to connect the mainland of Florida all the way to Key West. After the major hurricane in 1935, the railroad was shut down and the State of Florida ended up turning the tracks into a highway, which is why a road is now built on top of the old tracks. When the new Overseas Highway was built and rerouted, two pieces of the bridge were removed to allow boat traffic to pass through. We learned all about the interesting history of the railroad while on a tour of Pigeon Key and the Old Seven Mile Bridge; the tour of Pigeon Key is worth a stop if you want to get a glimpse into the history of the Keys.

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

If you want to extend your stay in the park past a daytime visit, you can either camp or rent one of the 6 bay front cabins. The campsites are spread out over 3 campgrounds located in different areas around the park. Many of the campsites appear to be gravel, which makes a great spot for campers, but there are several that have a more sandy base and are more comfortable for tents. That being said, we saw many people set up tents on both types of spaces and some of them overlook the ocean and offer great views.

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

The cabins are pretty basic–they are state park cabins after all, but we still enjoyed our stay. All of the cabins have two bedrooms and a pull out couch and one bathroom; the website says it can sleep 6, but the beds are a smaller double size, so if your like you space you may want to bring along fewer people. The cabins have a kitchen with dishes and cooking utensils and charcoal grills outside, so if you want to do a little cooking, you will be well equipped. Each cabin is right on the water and they all have a patio that looks out over an inlet of the bay–I really enjoyed sitting outside in the mornings and getting some fresh air. As long as you are expecting very basic accommodations (no TV!), you should enjoy your stay.

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Both cabins and campsites are very hard to secure–bookings are opened up 11 months in advance, and they go fast, so if you know you want to make a visit, get your calendar out and be ready when the booking window opens. I’m not kidding when I say the reservations get snapped up quickly–I just happened to log on at the exact right time, and all available cabin reservations were booked within 15 minutes of opening up. If you do want to make reservations without planning a year in advance, check the website regularly for possible cancellations. You may luck out and find an open date that works. The campsites are easier to book as there are more of them, but it can still be a challenge, so don’t delay if you know when you want to visit. There are also a select number of non-reservable campsites, so you can also take your chances and show up in hopes one will be open, but I would have a backup plan because once someone grabs one of these sites, they can keep it for up to two weeks. Prices for the cabins are $160 per night and the campsites are $36 per night; although the cabins aren’t exactly cheap, they are economical compared to the sky-high prices in Key West during the winter.

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Despite the rain, we really enjoyed our stay at Bahia Honda. It was a relaxing break and close enough to Key West for a day trip as well, but far enough away from city lights to see some stars; you are really in a good location to take advantage of all the Keys have to offer!

 

26 Comments
  • Les Petits Pas de Juls
    Posted at 16:43h, 18 February Reply

    another reason to come back in Florida! thanks for always giving us those good reasons!

    happy travels!
    Jul’
    Les Petits Pas de Juls recently posted…Artsy ChicagoMy Profile

  • The Dessert Engineer
    Twitter:
    Posted at 14:29h, 19 February Reply

    We were just there this past week. It’s a beautiful park, but too bad we couldn’t spend too much time there due to the rains. Love all your pics!
    The Dessert Engineer recently posted…Accidental Tourists in Buffalo, NYMy Profile

  • Mark
    Posted at 21:46h, 19 February Reply

    Added the state part in my list of places to visit. I couldn’t help but notice that there are very few to almost no one in the background , is it a seasonal destination ?
    Mark recently posted…Lifetime Sport Fisher Kayak ReviewMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 16:17h, 25 February Reply

      Glad you added it to your list! It’s pretty busy year round, but summer is typically slower than winter when we were there. The lack of people was probably due to the rainy weekend–I think most everyone was inside or in town trying to avoid the rain.
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Snorkeling at Alligator Reef in the Florida KeysMy Profile

  • Marysia
    Twitter:
    Posted at 04:33h, 25 February Reply

    God, it looks like a place I would love! I’m so in need of holidays, just proper being on the beach, relaxing, reading, doing nothing. Computer and phone off! Great pictures guys!
    Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #58My Profile

  • Bridget
    Twitter:
    Posted at 14:50h, 25 February Reply

    Beautiful photos! I am always looking for new things to do in Florida and the beach inside the national park looks stunning!
    Bridget recently posted…In Photos: Washington, D.C.My Profile

  • Steve
    Posted at 17:46h, 26 February Reply

    not exactly a budget destination in my book, but compared to miami or as you said, key west, it’s a bargain i guess!
    Steve recently posted…Thru the Lens: Drakensberg National Park, South AfricaMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 00:02h, 27 February Reply

      That’s true, definitely not a bargain spot, unfortunately! We were just happy it was quite a bit cheaper than most Key West hotels, in the winter at least!

  • Bridget
    Twitter:
    Posted at 20:03h, 26 February Reply

    Looks like an awesome trip! Incredible photos- thanks for sharing!
    Bridget recently posted…COSTA RICA: Scuba Diving Caño Island, #EcoCostaRicaMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 00:03h, 27 February Reply

      Thanks! We had a great time 🙂 Hopefully our next visit won’t be quite so rainy!

  • Beth
    Twitter:
    Posted at 11:01h, 27 February Reply

    That water! I never had much interest in Florida for beaches, but maybe I should investigate more!

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 14:35h, 27 February Reply

      Yeah, there are some pretty good beaches! The water clarity seems to be better farther south, but some of the beaches are great!

  • Megan
    Twitter:
    Posted at 22:14h, 27 February Reply

    Gorgeous photos! I think it’s time to take time off work and enjoy Florida while we’re still living here – time for a beach day!!
    Megan recently posted…Tunisia – Where Shopping is a Sport.My Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 00:46h, 02 March Reply

      Thanks! Yes–definitely need to enjoy the beach while you can!! 🙂

  • Ron
    Twitter:
    Posted at 22:46h, 27 February Reply

    I love South Florida! I just read this article about the unique and colorful snails down in that area; did you get the chance to see any?
    Ron recently posted…Top Attractions Most Travelers Overlook in FloridaMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 00:50h, 02 March Reply

      I do see a snail every once in awhile, but I don’t think they are the colorful ones. I will have to look for them though–they sound cool!

  • Bret
    Twitter:
    Posted at 20:44h, 01 March Reply

    Man, that looks beautiful (and uncrowded), and those bayfront cabins are right up our alley! Not sure why I’ve never heard of this park before, but perhaps it’s because I never made it south of Marathon during my one visit to the Keys back in 1991. We’ve talked about heading down to John Pennekamp to Scuba dive later this year. If we do, we’ll have to check this place out. Looks appealingly unspoiled!
    Bret recently posted…COSTA RICA: Scuba Diving Caño Island, #EcoCostaRicaMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 00:57h, 02 March Reply

      Yeah, it’s a bit south of Marathon so that would make sense. We definitely hit it on a good weekend, not sure if it’s always that quiet, but we had the place to ourselves practically! Hope the diving trip is great–look forward to reading about it!

  • mirage
    Posted at 22:44h, 05 June Reply

    nice pictures..i cant wait to go there.my vacation,it in 2 weeks ..it look like Dominican republic beach..

  • Barcelona Experience
    Twitter:
    Posted at 04:59h, 22 August Reply

    Great post guys! We love the photography of the little ocean bits strewn across the beach. The water looks amazing….is it cold or warm? We’ve been to both coasts in Florida, and we have to say we prefer the Atlantic side simply because its more refreshing during the summer because the water is chilly.
    We’re glad you enjoyed your visit to Florida…sorry it rained so much!
    Barcelona Experience recently posted…Words of the Week: Fourth EditionMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 01:32h, 27 August Reply

      Thanks! The water there is actually pretty warm! And, I totally agree–we prefer the Atlantic side as well!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…In Motion: JapanMy Profile

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