Your Complete Guide to Bahia Honda State Park

Last Updated on February 16, 2023 by Jess

Bahia Honda means “deep bay” in Spanish. This island in Florida’s Lower Keys is home to Bahia Honda State Park, which occupies most of the island.

Here you’ll find wildlife efforts to restore populations of the rare Miami Blue Butterfly and the remains of the famous old Bahia-Honda Bridge.

Visitors enjoy snorkeling, biking, sunbathing, boating, paddling, stargazing and more. Let’s dive in and learn more about Bahia Honda State Park.

Where is Bahia Honda State Park?

Located in Big Pine Key in the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda State Park is one of the most popular parks in the Sunshine State. In fact, it often closes when it reaches maximum capacity in its day-use areas. Visitors must return later or on another day during these temporary closures.

The park is known for its sea breezes, sandy beaches and stunning sunsets. Nature lovers will enjoy bird watching, kayaking and snorkeling. And if you’re lucky, you can see sea turtles hatching along the shore.

The 500-acre state park is in the Lower Keys, closer to Key West than Key Largo in the Upper Keys. It is located at Mile Marker 37 of US Highway 1.

About the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys lie off the south coast of Florida and form the southernmost part of the continental United States. This coral island archipelago begins about 15 miles south of Miami and arcs out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Key West is the furthest inhabited city where tourists can stand at Mile Marker 0 for a popular family photo.

The Seven Mile Bridge connects Knight’s Key to Little Duck Key. When it was built it was one of the longest bridges in the world. US Highway 1 is the only road in and out of the Keys.

The Florida Keys are a favorite winter destination for many snowbirds. You will have pleasant weather and endless activities.

Tourists enjoy basking in the January sun rather than curling up in their homes in the frigid northeast. You can experience the dining, shopping and island life of the Florida Keys.

But the Keys are also a geological wonder. Just offshore is the Florida Reef, which stretches for 170 miles. It is the third largest barrier reef system in the world. This beautiful system is one of the reasons boating and snorkeling are so popular.

Activities at Bahia Honda State Park

If you’re lucky enough to visit Bahia Honda State Park, chances are you arrived early and on a weekday. Now it’s time to enjoy everything this beautiful park has to offer.

Whether you want to relax on the beach, learn more about the underwater world, or watch the stars from your campsite, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy.

Spend a day at the beach

Although the Keys are islands, there really aren’t that many sandy beaches. However, Bahia Honda State Park’s shoreline offers excellent options for guests who want to spend the day in the sun.

The beautiful and natural sandy beaches with palm trees and blue water make visiting Bahia Honda State Park a magical experience.

Sandspur, the largest beach, has many amenities. Loggerhead has shallow water with a large sandbar offshore. Calusa Beach is across from Florida Bay and is only open for swimming and snorkeling.

Learn more about sea turtles

Every year, conservation agencies and volunteers survey the beaches of the Florida Keys in search of nesting sea turtles. The Florida Park Service protects 108 miles of natural beaches where sea turtles regularly nest.

Every day from March 1st to October 31st they conduct morning nest surveys. Affectionately known as the Turtle Patrol, this group of staff, volunteers and interns are trained to read the crawlies and identify what type of turtle has laid the nest.

If you’re visiting Bahia Honda State Park during these months, the Turtle Patrol will happily share their knowledge of sea turtles, explaining what they look for and how they protect these marine creatures. Check the state park’s website for educational programs and events.

Sea Turtles at Bahia Honda State Park

Snorkel at Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary

If you want to see 50 different types of coral and over 150 species of fish, consider booking a snorkeling tour at Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary.

Adult tickets are $29.95 and children’s tickets are $24.95. They offer tours throughout the day so you can choose a time that suits you.

If you want to snorkel on your own, you are more than welcome to bring your own gear and dive into the water at the beaches. Just make sure you use a diver down flag.

Keep in mind: A generator can greatly enhance our camping adventures, but is there such a thing as a silent generator?

Visit the Sand and Sea Nature Center

Especially if you have kids, you can’t visit Bahia Honda State Park without going to the Sand and Sea Nature Center. It’s not a huge facility, but it showcases the unique setting of the Florida Keys.

You and your kids can have lots of fun, from nature and history videos to environmental activities and coral exhibits. Learn about crabs, sea urchins, sponges and sea turtles.

Enjoy an overnight stay at a campsite

Campgrounds at Bahia Honda State Park fill up almost immediately. The reservation window opens 11 months in advance and the pages fill up in minutes.

If you book a campground, the nightly rate is $36, plus a $6.70 non-refundable reservation fee and a $7 nightly RV service fee.

If you prefer to stay in a cabin, the nightly rate is $120 from May 1 through October 31, plus a non-refundable reservation fee of $6.70 and an incidental fee of $7 per night. From November 1st through April 30th, the nightly rate increases to $160 plus additional fees.

Staying at the state park provides easy access to all amenities and activities. In addition, you have breathtaking stargazing opportunities.

Bahia Honda State Park is the darkest place in the Florida Keys. Stroll up the Old Bahia Honda Bridge, stroll along the shore, or kick back in a lounge chair at your campsite to enjoy the wondrous and magical sight of the night sky.

Keep in mind: Soak in some of Florida’s best hot springs during your stay in Florida and relax!

View of RVs parked in Bahia Honda State Park

Things to Know Before Visiting Bahia Honda State Park

The state park opens at 8am every day of the year. Admission is $8 per vehicle. As parking lots fill up quickly, you should arrive as early as possible. If you can visit on a weekday, that’s even better.

Also, the park has few places where you can bring dogs. Restricted pet access can present challenges, so do your research before loading Fido into the truck.

In addition, the beaches have very little shade. You should bring umbrellas or parasols or rent them from the concessionaire. You can also rent or buy chairs, snorkel gear, kayaks, snacks, and lunch.

Enjoy the beauty of the Florida Keys at Bahia Honda State Park

You won’t find a much more tropical place in the United States than the Florida Keys. One of the most popular spots within the Keys is Bahia Honda State Park.

It offers visitors mesmerizing landscapes, endless outdoor recreation, and educational experiences that will help you understand this unique ecosystem.

So if you plan to camp at Bahia Honda State Park, count those months and be prepared to book your reservation 11 months in advance.

If you want to take a day trip to the park, arrive early so you can experience all of these special park offerings.

Have you ever been to Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys?

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