The Florida Keys may not be known for sandy beaches like the rest of the state, but Bahia Honda State Park is the exception to the rule. One of the country’s southernmost state parks, Bahia Honda is located about an hour south of Islamorada around Mile Marker 37 on Big Pine Key.
If you love the Florida Keys, but miss the beach experience you might get at other tropical destinations, then Bahia Honda is for you – it’s the spot that will convince you that the Florida Keys are really the complete package, beaches and all.
Bahia Honda Key’s deep natural bay has long been a harbor for passing sailors. The island’s name, Spanish for “deep bay”, began showing up on Spanish nautical charts hundreds of years ago.
Henry Flagler’s Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway arrived on the island in 1908. The railroad officially opened on January 22, 1912 and often stopped on Bahia Honda to allow passengers to enjoy the white sand beaches and picturesque blue water.
The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 took out the railroad and made way for the famous Overseas Highway in 1938. Over the next 50 years Bahia Honda had pieces of the park were both publically and privately owned. It was not until 1984 that the last private landowner relinquished his piece, bringing together the entire island of Bahia Honda under the ownership of the Florida Park Service.
Today, Bahia Honda boasts three camping areas (80 total sites), two boat ramps, a marina, a nature center and a number of picnic pavilions. The park concessionaire, the Coral Reef Park Company, offers snorkel trips to the reef, kayak rentals, snacks, and souvenirs. The old Bahia Honda bridge is also a popular spot for park-goers to watch the sunset.
While Bahia Honda is typical in what you might expect to find in the area such as great snorkeling, picturesque views, warm water and lots of outdoor activities, it’s natural white sand beaches really make it a gem in the Florida Keys.
If you’re staying in Islamorada, Bahia Honda is well worth the drive. Pack your lunch and make it a day trip! Families and outdoor enthusiasts alike will find no shortage of areas to explore, things to do, and breathtaking views.
*Article adapted from https://www.floridastateparks.org/park-history/Bahia-Honda