Bahia Honda State Park was a beautiful spot for our base camp in the Florida Keys. It’s pretty blissful to be basking in the shallow water near a white sandy beach while a majestically large ray calmly drifts past over the nearby sea grass as you watch the sun sinking down over the horizon. Yes, that happened.
But then there was the seaweed. Perhaps it was just the time of year (October), but the beach on the southern side of the island had a lot of dead seaweed washed up on shore and it stank. Maybe it was a red tide consequence. Whatever the reason, it made that area of the island incredibly unappealing due to stench and bugs. The northern part of the island was where we hung out. There is a beautifully quiet beach access there, perfect for swimming, kayaking, fishing… We felt like we had paradise to ourselves here.
When we weren’t basking in the waters, we thoroughly enjoyed exploring around the bridge area and checking out the views.
There were some great places in the area to fish. We don’t actually really know what we’re doing when we go fishing (we seem to feed the fish more than anything), and we release every creature that does have the misfortune of biting our hooks, but the water was so lovely and clear that we were intrigued by all the curious tropical fish we could see in the beautifully pristine waters. Next time, I think we’ll come prepared to snorkel rather than fish so we can get closer to these amazing and colorful creatures!
Despite the many no-see-ums that plagued our campsite after dusk, we did relish our evening swims in the warm waters that were within walking distance from our campsite, as well as the sunset views.
From Bahia Honda, we could easily hop over to Key West for a day trip. We booked an excursion on a fun glass-bottomed boat tour over a coral reef that enthralled kids and adults alike, enjoyed a relaxing lunch at one of the many cozy restauarants, had an entertaining stroll through the (in)famous town and – of course – felt compelled to have a piña colada (or two) on the edge of the island while we people-watched, admired the antics of the many colorful street performers and watched the gorgeous sunset!
We also got to take the obligatory photo at the southernmost point of the continental U.S., watch wild chickens scamper across the streets and browse through the many touristy shops.
Verdict: It’s the Florida Keys! You really can’t go wrong. Our only mistake was perhaps that the trip was too short – we were there only 3 nights! There are many more things to see so I can’t quite check this off our bucket list yet as there are too many things I’d like to go back to see or experience, including camping and snorkeling at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Don’t feel Key West is the only place to stay when you venture south of Miami – there are many other beautiful options, including Bahia Honda State Park!