Talk about a bang for the buck, Bahia Honda State Park is that and much more! Bahia Honda is located in the southwestern end of the keys, at mile marker 36. Enjoy the wonders of this uninhabited paradise which offers island life only 60 minutes from Miami. You get there by taking U.S. 1 (Overseas Highway) south until you get just past the Seven Mile Bridge. The entrance to Bahia Honda State Park and fun is on the left. The entrance and exit ways are clearly marked, so you can’t miss it. Bahia Honda is Spanish for deep bay, and it is indeed deep. The bay is located in the park, which was founded in 1961.
The park owns most of the island whose natural deep water channels were convenient for use by ancient Spanish ships. If you can afford to, go deep sea diving. You can also snorkel right off your balcony or just off the beach! Many species of marine life abound in these warm tropical waters. Here there are: sharks, rays, dolphin, manatee, barracuda, and more. The colors on the reef fish along with the flora and fauna are teeming with beauty and bring the reef alive. It’s not just under water but in the air that life thrives. The birds and butterflies are everywhere. One such butterfly, the Miami Blue, was thought to be extinct; however recent sightings of this azure beauty in 1999 produced the only known wild colony in existence, and right in the park! There are also many native plant species such as the Key Thatch, and extremely rare plants, such as the Lily-thorn. There are natural trails throughout the park that skirt tidal lagoons, deep bays, coastal hardwoods and salt resistant flora. Trails can be accessed by skates, bicycle or walking and the park includes part of the Great Florida Birding Trail.
A trip to The Flagler East Coast Railway Bridge gives a panoramic view that cannot be easily surpassed. The bridge was built between 1905 and 1912 and was destroyed by hurricane on Labor Day 1935. The remains were reused in the building of the Seven Mile Bridge. A path leads upward to the heights of the windswept bridge and it’s definitely worth the time to experience. Bahia has so many things to do and most are free. There is an admission fee for park entrance and certain accommodations however. Campsites with full hook-up and vacation cabins are available as are marina facilities. The fees are modest for the amount of enjoyment they allow and the fun begins at 8 A.M. The park closes at dusk to all except those lucky enough to have availed themselves a place on the island. In between the day is full, kayak the lagoons or the uninhabited islands or explore the reefs and channels and bays or swim off the white sugar sands that Dr. Beach Letterman voted # 1.
If you choose to stay when the sun goes down you can settle into a rented cabin or snuggle up to an outdoor campsite. For those that want dinner out there are superb restaurants throughout the nearby adjacent keys enough to please any diner’s appetite. And for the more adventurous, Key West, with it rollicking night life is just minutes away.
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