Bahia Honda State Park - one of the southernmost state parks in Florida - is a beautiful sight to see. It should be on your list of places to visit next with your motorhome. Get to experience its sandy shores, bright blue waters, and awe-inspiring sunsets when you visit. The Bahia Honda Bridge holds a lot of history, as it was one of the most difficult bridges to build in the area. From fighting uneven land to being taken on by massive hurricanes, this bridge has had its share of struggles. But what can you expect from a place whose name literally translates to “deep bay” in Spanish?
There’s so much to see and do at this 524-acre State Park. Enjoy the beaches and palm trees, go swimming, boating, kayaking or fishing, and discover so much more. You’ll be sure to find fun for the entire family when you come here, no matter what time of the year you choose. You can leave all of your jackets behind, but don’t forget to bring sunblock and sunglasses. When you stay a couple of days at the park, you can choose between a cabin, RV site with electrical and water hookups, or a tent site with similar hookups. Bahia Honda is the perfect place to relax and soak up some sunshine all year round.
To reach the park, visitors must drive along the overseas highway through the Florida Keys. The drive is absolutely stunning with views of both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean for your eyes to soak in. The park is roughly 130 miles from the city of Miami and makes a perfect location for a weekend away. RVers traveling from Miami along the US-1 to the park won't encounter any restrictions until they reach the New Bahia Honda Bridge. If you wish to travel anywhere on the other side of the New Bahia Honda Bridge, your vehicle must be less than six feet, eight inches tall, which restricts many RVs.
Once inside the park, the roads become dirt roads. Make sure to adjust your speed accordingly and enjoy yourself as the stunning drive continues on. During the hurricane and flood season, you might also find that many of the roads could be closed off due to damage from the storms. Always check road and weather conditions before you go. If you are camping at the park, go ahead and check in to your site. Day visitors can make use of the available parking.
At many of the campsites, only one vehicle is allowed, so if you’re camping in an RV, you’ll have to find another place to keep your car. The good news is that there is overflow parking available that’s conveniently located nearby, at the Sandspur Day-Use Area. You won’t have to worry about any limited parking here.
This campground is the largest in the park with 42 sites and is perfect for those who wish to bring their RV or camper with them. The sites that you’ll find here are filled with gravel pads. The maximum RV size limit is 50 feet. Each site can accommodate eight people and four domestic pets a night. Sites 30, 31, 45, and 46 are ADA-accessible, and campers who struggle with mobility can reserve them.
When you choose Buttonwood Campground, you can choose from sites on the water, by the marina, or on the channel. You’ll find that the majority of sites are on the waterfront and have less shade, but offer a beautiful view. Each site has 50-, 30-, and 20-amp electricity and water hookups for your convenience. They also have a grill and picnic table that is perfect for meals spent with the good company that you bring along with you on your trip. You’ll have no problem finding a place to wash up from the day since bathhouses with toilets and showers are not far from the sites. There is even a dump station available here as well. When you camp at Buttonwood Campground, you’ll be sure to find that all of your camping needs are met, making it the most popular among RVers
The sites that you’ll find within Sandspur can be a bit small and tight-fitting. Pop-ups and small campers under 14 feet long and eight feet wide are allowed. Tents are also permitted. Keep in mind also that only one vehicle is allowed at each site. If this poses a problem, there is overflow parking available in the area. Whether you’ll have electricity is a hit or miss, depending on the site number that you choose. Sites 58 through 72 feature electrical hookups, and if you'd like electricity during your stay, you should try and reserve one of these.
You can also choose between sites in the hardwood hammock or on the water. No matter what site you choose though, you’ll be sure to find water, a grill, and a picnic table there for you to use however you please. Sites can sleep a total of eight people at a time. This campground is also pet-friendly, and domestic pets are welcome. There is no dump station here, but Buttonwood Campground is more than happy to share theirs with you when you stay at Sandspur Campground.
If you prefer to leave the big RV behind on this trip, you can choose to go tent camping at any of the three campgrounds in Bahia Honda State Park. Bayside is the smallest campground in the park and does not allow RVs inside. There are only eight total campsites, all of them being tent sites. Your vehicle must also be able to fit under the Bahia Honda Bridge, and therefore must be less than six feet and eight inches tall.
At each site, you’ll find a water hookup, a grill, and a picnic table for you to use. Each site can sleep a total of eight people and can accommodate up to two tents. This is a pet-friendly campsite, and visitors are welcome to bring up to four of their furry friends along with them.
Bathrooms are nearby as well, but if you wish to have access to showers, you’ll have to go to Buttonwood Campground. Luckily, it’s only half a mile away, which isn’t too terrible of a walking distance. You can also enjoy tent camping at Buttonwood and Sandspur campgrounds as well.
Along the bay, you’ll be able to find three duplex cabins that you can reserve up to 11 months in advance. These cabins feature all the amenities you could need for a relaxing vacation. All cabins, with the exception of Cabin 2, have two bedrooms with a double bed in each, a living room with a sofa bed, a full bathroom, and a dining room/kitchen with all the appliances and utensils that you could need during your stay. Cabin 2 sleeps four people a night, and the rest of the cabins sleep six people per night
The cabins also feature electrical heating and air conditioning, allowing you to stay here in the heat of the summer and the cold of winter. Outside, you'll also find a picnic table and a BBQ for your use during your stay. Cabin 2 has even been made ADA-accessible so that all families can enjoy a vacation here at Bahia Honda State Park.
What better way is there to cool off in the Florida heat than to take a dip in the beaches of Bahia Honda? There are specific areas set aside for people to swim and enjoy here. The water tends to be clear and cool with mild currents, making it a popular attraction that people come to experience from all over. One place swimmers may want to stay clear of the Bahia Honda Channel. This channel has swift currents running through it that swimmers may struggle against.
Boating is another great way to experience this state park. A very popular activity, boating can be really fun. All boaters here will have access to both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, providing exciting boat adventures and variety when you bring your own boat. If you have your fishing gear, you can take it along and enjoy throwing your line in out on the water. Just be sure to stay at least 400 feet from shorelines once you head out.
Whether you choose to bring your own kayak or canoe or rent one from concessions, there are two spots that you can launch from. The Loggerhead parking lot on the ocean side is one way of accessing the water, and the boat ramp on the Gulf side is another. Kayaking and canoeing can be a fun way to experience the park. It's very relaxing and allows you to get up close to the stunning nature and different wildlife species around you. Keep in mind that canoes and kayaks are not allowed to paddle in the swimming areas.
While there is only one trail here in the park, it’s definitely worth hiking. Beginning in the Calusa area at the southwest end of the island, the trail takes you up to the top of the Old Bahia Honda Bridge, where you’ll get a spectacular view of the entire island and surrounding wildlife. It’s a sight that you’ll definitely want to see. Make sure to take along water, snacks, and sunscreen to keep you going as you enjoy exploring the island.
The shallow water along the beaches at Bahia Honda State Park is perfect for beginning scuba divers and snorkelers. In fact, this place is well known as being one of the best places to do near-shore snorkeling in the Florida Keys. There is so much to see, such as different kinds of coral, tropical fish, conches, lobsters, and more. This is a refreshing way to enjoy the water during the summer months. If you are brave enough to do this during the winter months, you may want to use a wetsuit. Make sure that your "diver down" flag is visible when you are in the water.
During the off-season, you can see all kinds of birds. There are the usual exotic birds that you’ll find all over Florida, but during this time, you’ll also be able to spot migratory birds that have traveled here for the warmer climate. There is also lots of ocean life to be seen, including sea turtles, ghost crabs, and Atlantic bottlenosed dolphins. Wildlife Viewing can be an interesting pastime during your stay here.
Geocaching - a game similar to scavenger hunting that uses GPS coordinates to find caches - is becoming more and more popular within parks. Bahia Honda is big on geocaching, and if you visit all 20 caches, you’ll get to win the Official Operation Recreation Geocoin. There are so many benefits that come with playing, like getting rewarded for exploration. Be sure to leave caches exactly as you found them so that others can enjoy the search after you. This is an exciting game perfect for the whole family.
The Calusa park area, located at the southwest end of the park, is the perfect spot for a barbecue with friends and family. Here, you’ll find two pavilions with barbecue grills. There are also some smaller picnic areas throughout this area of the park if you’re looking for something a little smaller. This is an enjoyable way to relax and enjoy being out in nature, while those with more energy can enjoy the nearby beach.
There are lots of fishing opportunities within the park, so be sure to have a Florida fishing license on hand as you may need it. Be sure though that you are familiar with Florida’s fishing rules and regulations. As long as you’re aware of the regulations on size, quantity, fish season, and method of capture, you can head out just about anywhere and settle in with your fishing pole for a relaxing time. Spearfishing, however, is not permitted at the park.
Biking is very popular within Bahia Honda State Park. You can bring your bike and take the paved road through the park. The off-season is a great time to take your bike out, as you’re less likely to have to share the road with as many people, and the sun isn’t as harsh. Please stay on the provided roadways to ensure that the park's natural surroundings are maintained. A helmet is a good idea and is a must for individuals under the age of 17, according to Florida law.