Florida Keys Vacation Guide
|Bahia Honda State Park –
Bahia Honda State Park is one of the best deals in the Florida Keys. For a $6 admission fee for two, you get a whole day of beaches, snorkeling, exploring and walking trails, all before an unbeatable panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean and the old Bahia Honda Bridge. There’s even a beautiful campground with sites right on the ocean, if you came for camping. If camping’s not your cup of tea, they have cabins on the bay side as well. Got kids? Visit the Nature Center, located on the south side of the main beach area facing the old and new bridges. Got a boat? Bahia Honda has a boat ramp for trailored boats, a marina, and a dive shop. If you don’t have a boat but you want to fish, you can fish from shore here. You can also rent kayaks for a change of pace.
Snorkeling is what is best at Bahia Honda, besides the magnificent sunsets and views of the old Overseas Highway bridge. You can rent snorkel gear at the park’s dive shop or you can join a reef excursion leaving from their marina. Even the pilings of the bridge has coral reef, sponges, lobster and tons of fish, but be careful of the current. Just go out a few hundred feet from shore on one of the Atlantic side beaches, and there’s all kinds of marine life right there. There’s a sandbar off the Atlantic side of the park, too. It’s really the best nearshore snorkeling in the Florida Keys. The flats extend way out in front of the beaches, so it’s great for beginner snorkelers. You can swim all day, covering lots of ground and still be in water that’s only four to six feet deep. You’ll see lots of marine life on the flats, like Queen Conch, spiny lobster, and dozens of types of reef fish. The currents are mild except for near the bridges where the channel is very very deep.
Fishing at Bahia Honda is good, even if you don’t own a boat. You can take your poles to the top of the old Bahia Honda bridge and fish off the seawalls there for grouper or other bottom fish. Flats fishing is good on the south side of the island, on the flats facing the Atlantic. There are two boat launches if you brought your boat. There are also 19 slips available for rent. Boaters have access to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
Tours are available through the marina, and will take you to Looe Key Marine Sanctuary for either snorkeling, SCUBA, or viewing. Looe Key is just twelve miles from Bahia Honda, and is cosidered one of the healthiest reefs in the Florida Keys, with super clear water. You can snorkel in just five to fifteen feet of water on a snorkel excursion to Looe Key and see an amazing variety of marine life. During tarpon season, you can hire a private charter fishing guide and fish for tarpon under the Bahia Honda bridge.
Kayaking is fun at Bahia Honda, where you can kayak around the entire island. You can also kayak south from the island into the Atlantic Ocean over the flats to a beautiful sandbar just a bit offshore from the beach. You can rent sit-on-top kayaks, either singles or tandems, by the hour. Sit-on-top kayaks are bery stable and you can relax as you explore the waters and look for stingrays and fish in the water around you.