Henry Flagler's railroad to Key West turned the remote island of Bahia Honda Key into a tropical destination.
Today, the island is home to one of Florida's southernmost state parks, known for beautiful beaches, magnificent sunsets and excellent snorkeling.
Visitors can picnic on the beach, take a swim, or relax and enjoy the balmy sea breezes that caress the shores year-round.
Anglers can fish from shore or bring a boat and launch at the boat ramp. Kayaks, and snorkeling gear can be rented and boat trips to the reef for a snorkeling excursion are available.
Bahia Honda is an excellent place to see wading birds and shorebirds, while the Sand and Sea Nature Center introduces nature lovers to the island's plants and animals. Campsites and vacation cabins are also available
Calusa Beach at Bahia Honda
Near the Bahia Honda Bridge, Calusa Beach is on the Gulf side. It's sometimes called the Bayside Beach, and is at the southern end of the Bahia Honda Park.
Being on the west side, the land protects it from the sometimes strong Atlantic winds. This means the water is calmer and typically you'll encounter less seaweed which can occasionally be a problem at Sandspur and Loggerhead Beaches.
Among the different Lower Keys beaches, Calusa Beach is a popular family beach as it's protected from the wind. There's also parking close by and the nature center is fun for the kids. It also has more facilities, with covered picnic pavilions and grills, restrooms, showers, a marina, even a dive shop.
While at Calusa Beach, you'll want to take a leisurely stroll on a restored section of the old Flagler bridge. From here you'll enjoy the warm ocean breeze along with the incredible turquoise vista that surrounds you.
Bahia Honda State Park is open 365 days a year from 8:00 to dusk. There is a nominal entrance fee and camping at Bahia Honda State Park is also available.
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Sandspur Beach at Bahia Honda
Sandspur Beach is without a doubt the most spectacular of the beaches at Bahia Honda State Park.
A mile long ocean side beach - it's considered by experts to be one of America's best beaches and is a world top contender.
With the coral reef offshore protecting the shoreline, there is little to no wave action, unless the wind is strong.
The wind however can also bring in the seaweed, which especially in the summer months can be somewhat of a problem - visually and otherwise.
That however doesn't seem to matter when you get a chance to feel the delicious soft sand scrunching between your toes. Or as you gaze upon the endless shades of aquamarine, turquoise and blue that stretch beyond your imagination. Or as you relax and inhale the fresh, salty sea air.
Loggerhead Beach at Bahia Honda
Adjacent to Henry Flagler Railroad Bridge, Oceanside, and just a bit further down from Sandspur Beach is Loggerhead, sometimes called the Oceanside Beach.
Loggerhead Beach is a great Florida snorkeling destination as there's a tiny rocky island with a few trees on it, not far from shore. You can kayak or boat out to the island, then snorkel around the water looking at a variety of marine life.
The sand bar not far from shore is a great place to go when the tide is out. You can search for shells and other interesting finds such as sea glass plus you'll have an excellent view of the old bridge.
Bahia Honda - Camping Sites
Buttonwood (sites #1-48) Can accommodate a variety of camping rigs from large RVs to small tents. The sites are gravel, making them more suitable for an RV or pop-up. These sites are the largest in the park.
Sandspur (sites #49-72) is located in a hardwood hammock. The sites are small and have low clearance. Tents can easily fit on all of these sites; pop-ups and small campers less than 14 feet in length and under 8 feet in height are also allowed.
Bayside (sites #73-80) is the smallest campground with only eight sites. There is a vehicle height restriction of 6 feet 8 inches. Your vehicle must be able to go under the new Bahia Honda Bridge to access this campground.
This is a must-experience park. Aside from having the nicest beach on the keys, it's a nature lovers paradise.
We rented kayaks from them and found it to be an affordable and beautiful experience.
We also went out for the Looe Key snorkelling trip. The crew, were highly professional and safety-oriented.
The snorkelling at the reef was top notch. However, if it was by far the deepest water I've been in on a Keys snorkelling tour (roughly 30 feet)
White beaches for sunset and sunrise
This state park offers several beaches for walking or swinmming in the sea.
There is opportunity for enjoying both sunset and sunrise provided you want to keep up with waking up early and fighting moskitos in the evenings.
The campside is great and offers cabins if you book early.
On Friday evening there is a very nice opportunity for watching the stars since there is a group of astronomically very keen people gathering on the north beach for watching the skys with great telescopes, Thanks you guys!
Best Beach in the Keys!
The Gulf side at Bahia Honda State Park is by far the nicest beach we seen in the Florida Keys!
The water is clear and there is a nice sand beach with pavilions and you can look out over a bridge of the Overseas Highway as well as an old railroad bridge no longer in use.
There is a snack bar and gift shop and they also rent all kinds of things for the water including snorkeling gear.
The Atlantic side beach was covered with seaweed and not the best for swimming. There were people snorkeling there though.
Bahia Honda - Hiking Nature Trail
The park has three nature trails.
Bahia Honda - Camping Boat
Boat slips are available for overnight rental and include water, electricity, full use of park facilities (bathhouse, showers, trash disposal and pump-out).
The marina includes 19 slips in a protected basin. The marina is a designated Clean Marina, with a pump out.
The charge is $2.00/ foot with a $30.00 minimum. Reservations are recommended. Call (305) 872-3210 or VHF Channel 16 or visit Bahia Honda Park for more information. There is a 3.5 foot controlling depth.
Bahia Honda - Canoeing and Kayaking
Safe and stable sit-on-top Ocean Kayaks are available for rent at the concession.
You may also bring your own kayak or canoe and launch it from either Loggerhead parking lot on the ocean side or the boat ramp on the Gulf side.
Enjoy a quiet, relaxing paddle in the waters around the park. Remember, for the safety of swimmers, kayaks and canoes are not permitted in designated buoyed swimming areas.
Best beach park ever
Each year in the spring, we come and spend two weeks here camping on the beach. Sunning, fishing, kayaking and just relaxing. Park rangers are great and usually the weather is cooperative