bahia honda state park bridge overseas highway florida keys

Things to do in Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. And I’ve been lucky enough to visit several times. And even though I’ve been there several times, each time is just as special as the first.

Bahia Honda State Park is absolute paradise. It used to be a hidden gem but has definitely grown in popularity through the years.

bahia honda state park map

History of Bahia Honda State Park

My favorite part about visiting Bahia Honda is the bridge that used to be part of Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railway. It’s over 100 years old, constructed in 1912. The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane damaged the bridge to the point it could no longer be used. However, parts of the bridge still stand today. You can walk to the top and if you do, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views.

Things to do in Bahia Honda State Park

There are a lot of things to do in Bahia Honda State Park. If you enjoy being outdoors, you could easily stay all day. And if you want to camp, you could even stay a few days! Here are is an overview of your options of things to do at Bahia Honda State Park:

Bahia Honda Beaches

In every blog post I write on the Florida Keys, I give a small disclaimer that the Florida Keys actually isn’t known for the greatest beaches. It can be shocking given that the Keys are such a tropical paradise. But it’s common for seagrass to wash ashore. It’s illegal to remove it as it’s good for the environment but the downside is that after sitting in the sun, it can really smell. The other reason beaches in the Florida Keys aren’t super great is due to its proximity to the coral reef. The coral is kind of like stepping on tons of rocks, which can be painful.

To me, these things do not take away from the beauty. But it helps to have realistic expectations. Here are the beaches you can visit within Bahia Honda State Park:

Calusa Beach is my favorite beach in Bahia Honda and probably the most photographed beach here as well. Calusa Beach offers the most gorgeous views of the Bahia Honda bridge and the water is absolutely breathtaking.

The beach itself is on the smaller side, so it can get busy there pretty quickly. There are picnic tables right in the sand if you want to bring your lunch. The water is shallow and completely clear, making it great for everyone, including families. Calusa Beach is on the northwest side of Bahia Honda. It faces the Overseas Highway/US1.

calusa beach bahia honda

Loggerhead Beach is on the west end of the island facing the Atlantic. The beach is large and shallow. The sand stretches out here, so there is more space to spread out from others. There are also picnic tables nearby. From Loggerhead Beach, you can kayak or fish.

bahia honda park beaches

Sandspur Beach is the largest beach at Bahia Honda. It is almost a mile long and like the other beaches, has shallow water. It’s also easy to spread out at Sandspur Beach, especially if you’re willing to walk a little bit.

Snorkeling

Snorkeling at Bahia Honda is a really popular activity. You can bring your own gear or you can rent snorkel gear from within the park. The beaches are shallow, making them easy to snorkel.

You can also take a snorkeling trip to Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary for even better snorkeling. There are two tours daily, at 9:30 am and 1:30 pm. Each trip is 90 minutes of snorkeling.

Kayaking

Bahia Honda State Park has some of the best kayaking in the Florida Keys. Kayaks can easily be rented within the park. There are a few different kayaking options. The employees at the concessions where you’ll rent your kayak can help you choose the best option based on your experience level.

Hiking

Now, you don’t exactly need your hiking boots and backpack equipment to go hiking in Bahia Honda State Park. There is a short trail to the top of the old Bahia Honda Bridge. It is uphill but isn’t very difficult.

miami to bahia honda state park

Camping at Bahia Honda

There are cabins available at Bahia Honda State Park but they are notoriously difficult to reserve. You can also book a camp site (there are 75 camp sites) which also book quickly. You can book up to 11 months in advance for both the cabins and the camp sites. Camping reservations can be made on the Florida State Park’s reservation website.

Things to Know Before Visiting Bahia Honda State Park

Bring sunscreen. This probably goes without saying with any outdoor Florida activity, but it’s a good reminder. While I’m at it, please do a little bit of research to make sure you are buying reef safe sunscreen. It will be better for the reefs, and for you, too!

Hours. Bahia Honda State Park is open from 8 am to sundown. It wasn’t overly crowded when we were there, likely because we went in the offseason. While in season, it’s likely best to get there early if crowds bother you. 

Alcohol is not allowed on the beach.

Parking is plentiful. This is always such a concern of mine. I hate showing up excited to explore and check out a new place only to have to drive around for 45 minutes trying to find parking. This alone makes the entry price worth it to me, and makes visiting such a breeze!

Food. There are small grills within the park where you can grill your own food. Concessions are also available in the park selling simple food options.

Where to Stay

If you want to stay close to the park without camping there, here are a few great hotel options in Marathon, which is nearby:

For luxury: Isla Bella Beach Resort and Tranquility Bay Resort (both are good for families as well)

Budget options: Captain Pip’s and Banana Bay Resort (keep in mind that the term “budget” in the Florida Keys is a subjective term – the Keys are expensive)

For families: Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht Club

Bahia Honda State Park is around 35 miles to Key West. If you would rather stay in Key West than Marathon, here is my overview of the best places to stay in Key West.

From beaches to camping, the outdoor activities at Bahia Honda are endless. This place is so stunningly beautiful you’re bound to love it!