BAHIA HONDA STATE PARK
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 and take a swim, or simply 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. The park's concession rents kayaks and snorkeling gear and offers boat trips to the reef for snorkeling excursions. Bahia Honda is an excellent place to see wading birds and shorebirds. The nature center can introduce nature lovers to the island's unique plants and animals. Full-facility campsites and vacation cabins are available. Located 12 miles south of Marathon.
In more modern times, the park was part of Henry Flagler?s East Coast Railway holdings. The railroad to Key West was started in 1905 and was jokingly referred to as "Flagler?s Folly." It was eventually completed in 1912 but later destroyed by a hurricane in 1935. The railroad remains were converted into what is known today as U.S. Highway 1.
Presently, the Old Bahia Honda Bridge serves as a reminder of Flagler?s dream. The bridge offers visitors a panoramic view of the island and surrounding waters.
Since the initial purchase of the first 13 acres of the park in 1961, Bahia Honda has become well-known as a recreational treasure in the Keys.
Full Facility Camping
There are 3 different campgrounds in the park. Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance, the sites book quickly so make your plans well in advance. Buttonwood- (#1 - #48) This campground can accommodate a variety of camping rigs from a large RV to a small tent. The sites are more suitable for an RV or pop-up because they are gravel. The Buttonwood sites have very little shade and are the largest sites in the park. They all have electricity, water, a picnic table and grill. There is also a bathhouse with hot showers and a dump station for sewage. The waterfront sites in this area are #12 - #25, but keep in mind #12 and #13 are by the boat docks and #14 is on the channel coming into the boat docks. Sandspur- (#49 - #72) These sites are the most beautiful in the park but are very small and have low clearance. They are located in a very rare habitat called a hardwood hammock. Tents can fit on all of these sites and a few sites will accommodate small pop-ups. RVs are not permitted in this area, the sites are much too small. All of these sites have a picnic table, grill and water, #57 - #72 also have electricity. The waterfront sites in this area are #64 - #72. Bayside- (#73 - #80) This campground is the smallest with only 8 sites and no electricity. Bayside campground has a vehicle height restriction, like the cabins, of 6 feet 8 inches. Your vehicle has to be able to go under the New Bahia Honda Bridge. The sites have a picnic table, grill and water. There is a small bathhouse nearby with outside cold showers and no electricity. You are welcome to use the large bathhouse in the Buttonwood campground that is one-half mile away.
Three duplex cabins (6 units) are furnished with accommodations for up to a maximum of 6 people per cabin. Each cabin is equipped with kitchen appliances, utensils and linens. The cabins have a full bath, central A/C and heat, 2 bedrooms and a living room area. The cabins are on stilts and accessible by steps only, no lift is currently available. Each cabin has a porch above and a wood deck on ground level with a picnic table and grill. The road to the cabins has a vehicle height restriction of 6?8" . Your vehicle has to be able to go under the New Bahia Honda Bridge. Reservations are required 11 months in advance during the winter months, weekends and holidays.
Bahia Honda has several white sandy beaches for you to enjoy. Calusa is the smallest beach; it is located on the northwest side of the island. There are several small pavilions in this area and a bathhouse with outdoor, fresh water showers. Loggerhead is the shallowest beach and is located on the south side of the island. It is known for the large shallow sand bar just a few feet offshore. It shares the same bathhouse with the Calusa beach. Sandspur is the largest beach; it is located on the southeast end of the island. There are three large pavilions in the Sandspur area and a bathhouse with outdoor, fresh water showers.
Boating is a very popular activity at Bahia Honda; boaters have access to the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. Boat Ramp
The park has two modern boat ramps located in the main marina. The controlling depth in the marina is 3 ? feet. Nineteen boat slips are available for overnight rental and include water, electricity and full use of the park facilities (bathhouse, hot showers, trash disposal and sewage pump-out). Reservations are recommended. Call (305) 872-3210 or VHF Channel 16.
The concession offers a snorkel tour that allows young and old alike to experience the breathtaking beauty of Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary.
Canoeing & 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.
There are several good areas for fishing in the park. If you like to bottom fish for snapper or grouper, you can fish on either side of the Old Bahia Honda Bridge off the old sea walls. If you prefer fly-fishing for bonefish, permit or barracuda, you might try the shallow sand flats on the Atlantic side of the island. All fishing within the park must conform to the regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season. Spear fishing, possession of spear fishing equipment and collection of tropical fish (by any method) is prohibited within the park. The boundaries of the park extend out into the water 400 feet.