Ultimate Guide to Bahia Honda

14 min read


view of the Broken Bridge at Bahia Honda at sunset

Bahia Honda State Park is home to some of the best beaches in Florida. Where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Atlantic Ocean, this tropical oasis is a must on your trip to the Florida Keys!

The breathtakingly beautiful views paired with the gorgeous beaches are what give this beach the title of one of the best beaches in the United States.

Here you can go camping, swim in shallow crystal clear blue waters, snorkeling, nature viewing, and so much more!

As a Florida native, Bahia Honda State Park remains one of my favorite places in all of Florida. This is the perfect place to go to recharge your body, mind, and soul.

In order to make the best out of your trip to Bahia Honda, there are a few pointers and tips from a local you should know in advance!

Let’s dive right in!

If you are in a hurry

If you’re traveling to Bahia Honda, you’ll need somewhere to stay! Here are the best of the best to make your trip to Bahia Honda super special.

Here are the main hotels near Bahia Honda State Park to book in advance:

1. Bahia Honda State Park Overview

aerial view over Bahia Honda and parked cars

Bahia Honda is one of those places you visit where it’s easy to have a ‘pinch me, I’m dreaming’ moment.

People of all ages come to visit this park to get in some real R&R, and all these people have two things in common: they love nature and a good beach.

Because this is one of the most popular destinations in the Florida Keys, keep in mind that the parking does fill up quickly, especially on the weekends. To avoid getting turned away due to being at capacity, try to get there as early as possible.

If you’re not a fan of crowds, then your best bet is to go on a weekday when people are at work.

There are so many things to do in Bahia Honda State Park. With three incredible beaches, the historic old Bahia Honda Bridge, all sorts of water activities and rentals, and a marina, there is something for everyone at this incredible Florida State Park.

You can also book a Snorkel Boat Tour at the main Concession building and fill up your water bottle for free. You can also rent kayaks, snorkels, and other water equipment in the Concession Building.

Let’s start off with the basics. Here is the important info and logistics you need to know before you go. We’ll get into the more fun and exciting stuff below!

  • Fees: US$8 per vehicle to enter the state park
  • Contact Number: 305-872-2353
  • Hours: 8 AM to sundown, 365 days a year
  • Address: 36850 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key, FL 33043
  • Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi with 24-hour access in the Concession Building

You can rent chairs, snorkels, and kayaks at Bahia Honda State Park. There is limited shade so it helps to bring an umbrella!

You can also find a concession stand/snack bar with limited options if you happen to forget to pack some snacks!

2. Exciting things to do in Bahia Honda

Here are all the best things you can do with the whole family in Bahia Honda State Park! It may be a small island, but there’s no shortage of things to do. Let’s get into it!

2.1 Go to the beach in Bahia Honda

Bahia Honda Beach

A lot of beaches in the Keys are not what one would expect when it comes to white sand beaches. Most of them are riddled with coral and large stones. However, part of what makes Bahia Honda State Park famous for its beaches is that it is one of the only places in the Florida Keys with white sand beaches instead of rocky coral.

The sandy beaches in Bahia Honda make for the perfect combination of pristine, clear, turquoise waters and perfect soft white sand!

Bahia Honda has three incredible beaches – Loggerhead Beach, Caloosa Beach, and Sandspur Beach.

Loggerhead Beach

This is many people’s favorite beach in the entire state park. It is known as the snorkeling beach of Bahia Honda! This is because it has a lush coral reef close to the shoreline that is just perfect for exploring.

Usually, to go snorkeling, you have to take a boat out, but at Bahia Honda, you can snorkel right on the beach! When I went snorkeling in Loggerhead Beach, I saw all sorts of brightly colored schools of fish and a stingray! It was an incredible experience.

HACK: Purchase a snorkel and bring your own. The Florida Keys are notoriously expensive (because they can), so you can cut your trip’s expenses by bringing your own snorkeling gear.

Calusa Beach

Calusa Beach view from the top

This beach is known as the ‘swimming beach’ of Bahia Honda State Park. And it’s right next to Loggerhead Beach!

The water at Calusa Beach is crystal clear and perfect for frolicking and soaking up the rays. The sand is powdery, and the ocean is absolutely stunning.

Perhaps the best part about Calusa Beach is the epic views of the Old Bahia Honda Bridge.

Another awesome part about Calusa Beach is the picnic tables and BBQ grills on the beach! I loved that the picnic tables were right on the beach! This is rare as picnic areas are usually off the sand and on a grassy area nearby.

PRO TIP: Bahia Honda provides incredible sunset views with the Old Bahia Honda Bridge in the background. It’s a really incredible opportunity for some killer photos.

NOTE: This beach tends to clear out around 5 PM, especially if the weather happens to be poor.

Sandspur Beach

Sandspur Beach is known for its gorgeous, white powdery sand beaches and unbelievably translucent water as far as the eye can see. This beach is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world!

The crystal clear waters paired with the tropical and Caribbean character of this Bahia Honda Beach make for an excellent getaway with a loved one, friend, or with family.

2.2 Walk the Old Bahia Honda Bridge

broken bridge at Bahia Honda

Another super fun thing to do in Bahia Honda State Park is to walk the historic Bahia Honda Bridge.

Feel like you are walking on water as you stroll down this charming old bridge surrounded by translucent blue water and incredible views.

This is one of the highest points in the Florida Keys, so you can imagine how absolutely magical the views are from the Bahia Honda Bridge!

This 0.4-mile walk can be accessed from the parking lot at Caloosa Beach. The bridge is not connected to the other side. The middle portion crumbled into the ocean a few years back, so you can walk until you hit the barrier where you can’t go any further.

NOTE: There are some steps required on the bridge, so it’s not ADA-accessible 🙁

2.3 Enjoy a day of fishing

fishing rods next to Bahia Honda Bridge

For those who love to fish, Bahia Honda State Park offers some of the best fishing in the Florida Keys! Specifically, Bahia Honda offers incredible Tarpon fishing!

However, do keep in mind that you need a saltwater fishing license to be able to fish at Bahia Honda State Park. If you are planning on trying to get some famous Conch (one of the specialties that the Keys are famous for), remember that collecting Queen Conchs is prohibited.

2.4 Go snorkeling to see amazing marine life

woman snorkeling

The beach snorkeling in Bahia Honda is some of the best snorkeling you will encounter in the Florida Keys! You can rent gear at the Concession Building, but I recommend bringing your own! If you are traveling to the Florida Keys to see some of our amazing marine life, Bahia Honda is definitely one of the best places to go!

2.5 Get adventurous with a kayak at Bahia Honda

kayaks on a wooden stand

Kayaking at Bahia Honda State Park is an excellent way to get to know this gorgeous island in the Florida Keys. Swimming and snorkeling are one way to get to know a place, but when you step into a kayak, you are able to explore places that you may not want to swim in, giving you a more immersive and intimate experience with whatever waters and landscapes you are exploring!

You can rent your kayak at the Concession building or bring your own. Alternatively, you can also book a kayaking tour!

2.6 See native mini deer at the National Key Deer Refuge

deer staring at the camera

National Key Deer Refuge is one of the most unique places to visit near Bahia Honda State Park. Just a few minutes’ drive down the road from Bahia Honda State Park, you will find one of the most special secret gems in the Florida Keys.

This happens to be one of the few free things to do in the Keys, and, in my opinion, it’s one of the most special things to do!

At National Key Deer Refuge, you can see a unique natural landscape as well as miniature Key deer! How special is that?

The deer are only about 2 feet tall and much smaller than your average deer! This is a nice change of pace if you want a break from water activities and want to see some untouched Florida Keys wildlife!

2.7 Explore The Blue Hole

image from the Blue Hole

A next-door neighbor of National Key Deer Refuge, The Blue Hole is a really incredible secret gem in the Florida Keys.

On your trip to Bahia Honda State Park, why not explore the surrounding Keys? If you want to see some alligators while you’re visiting the Florida Keys, The Blue Hole is your best bet!

PRO TIP: Don’t forget to bring your bug spray, as this spot can get pretty buggy!

2.8 Visit the Turtle Hospital

turtle going to the water, people cheering

Animal lovers and conservationists alike travel from all over to come to see the Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys!

In the nearby town of Marathon, the Turtle Hospital does really incredible work to rehabilitate and support the turtles of the Keys.

It costs US$25 to visit, which covers a 90-minute guided tour where you can see lots of different turtles that the Turtle Hospital has rescued!

Possibly the cutest part, they even have their own ambulance!

3. Hiking trails in Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park does not have a whole lot of hiking trails. It is mostly known for its beaches. However, visitors can explore two main trails on their visit.

Bahia Honda has some unique botany and flora and fauna. On your hike, be sure to keep an eye out for the endangered small-flowered thorn lily as well as the rare yellow satinwood!

3.1 Old Bahia Honda Bridge Trail

Old Bahia Honda Bridge Trail sign and entrance

If Bahia Honda State Park is not your destination and you are passing through on your way to Key West, it is well worth taking a detour and walking to the top of the old Bahia Honda Bridge.

The trail is short, but the views of the ocean and Keys are absolutely incredible. If you look down from the top of the bridge, you just might be able to spot a sea turtle!

3.2 Silver Palm Trail

This trail leaves from the Sandspur Beach part of the park. Make sure you get a brochure so that you can learn more in-depth information about the significance of the ecology at Bahia Honda State Park.

4. Cabins and camping at Bahia Honda State Park

tents at Bahia Honda

For the adventurous among us, here are the best options in Bahia Honda for cabins and camping!


There are 6 cabin units at Bahia Honda State Park. 5 of the cabins have a full kitchen and can also hold up to 6 people. The cabins also have a full bathroom and 2 bedrooms for your convenience.

Cabin #2 is wheelchair accessible but can only hold 4 people.

May – October: US$120/night

November – April: US$160/night


There are three different campsites located within the park. However, it is really hard to reserve a spot. The slots fill up very quickly!

They open up reservations up to 11 months in advance, and you are going to have to try and snag one of those dates as soon as they open up reservations or be put on the waitlist for a cancellation.

While it can be challenging to get a reservation, the views and unique landscape are totally worth it, and I recommend planning ahead to book a reservation.

You can search for availability and book your reservation here.

If you have an RV, Buttonwood Campground is the best place to set up camp. If you want to be waterfront, book sites 12 through 25.

5. Hotels near Bahia Honda State Park

Boat Key has the closest hotels to Bahia Honda State Park, which is about 15 minutes away over the Seven Mile Bridge. The views are impeccable, and you will not mind the commute at all!

collage of 3 images containing a swimming pool, bedroom, and bathroom


The Islabella Beach Resort and Spa is a luxurious ocean-front hotel with lots of amenities to make for an elevated stay in the Keys. Some of the amenities you can expect at this upscale stay are beach access, a poolside bar, a spa, and onsite shopping! Staying at this resort will give you that sense of luxury that you are looking for on your escape to the Florida Keys!


Courtyard by Marriott Faro Blanco Resort near Bahia Honda State Park offers incredible ocean views, beach cabanas, a pool, as well as a delicious on-site bistro. They also have yoga classes and tennis courts, as well as bike rentals to explore the area!

This is an excellent option for those looking to have a nice and relaxing stay with incredible ocean views without the huge price tag!


Captain Pips Marina & Hideaway is an excellent hotel for those looking for a comfortable, clean, and safe place to rest their head on their trip to Bahia Honda State Park. This hotel has great access to the area and provides a pretty awesome home base to explore Marathon Key!

They offer standard hotel rooms as well as apartment-style units with a private kitchen. Since it’s located right on a marina, there are lots of water sports and activities to enjoy. There’s also a pool and a seafood restaurant on site that you don’t want to miss!

FAQs about Bahia Honda

aerial view over Bahia Honda State Park

💲 How much is entry to Bahia Honda State Park?

The cost to enter Bahia Honda State Park is US$8 per vehicle.

⛺ How much does it cost to stay at Bahia Honda State Park?

It costs US$36 per night plus tax, a US$7 reservation fee, as well as a US$7 nightly utility fee for RVs. The utility fee does not apply to tent camping.

🥥 Is Bahia Honda worth visiting?

Yes! It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the continental United States and is well known to have the most beautiful beaches in the country. It is also worth going just to go snorkeling right on the beach!

🏝️ How far in advance can you book Bahia Honda State Park?

You can book a reservation up to 11 months in advance. I highly recommend doing so as the reservations fill up quite quickly!


view of the Broken Bridge at Bahia Honda at sunset

Bahia Honda State Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the United States. By a long shot. I put together this ultimate guide so that you would be able to make the best of your trip and avoid any learning curves along the way!

Whether you stop by on your way to Key West or you make a trip just to explore Bahia Honda, it is well worth the trip and will create some truly unforgettable moments that will live on forever in your heart!

Happy exploring!

With love and gratitude,

Amira G

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view of the Broken Bridge at Bahia Honda at sunset

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couple standing in front of a tent


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