A beach paradise, Bahia Honda State Park allows campers a unique camping experience. Visitors get a front-row ticket to the park’s white sands, sea breezes, and shallow turquoise waters. Snorkel, kayak, or build a sandcastle. As the day winds down, take in a beautiful sunset or some stargazing.
Camping at Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda visitors have various accommodation options ranging from campsites and cabins to boat slip rentals. Given the park’s popularity, all sites are available by reservation. There are no walk-up or first-come, first-served (FCFS) campsites available.
Campers with large RVs will likely opt for Buttonwood Campground (sites 1 – 48), which can accommodate anything from a small tent to an RV. Primitive camping is available at Bayside Campground (sites 73 - 80). All campsites offer water hook-ups, picnic tables, and grills. Primitive sites do not provide electricity. Six cabins and 19 boat slips are also available for rental.
Amenities at Bahia Honda include restrooms, hot showers, trash disposal, and a sani-dump. You’ll also find a visitor center, amphitheater, interpretive exhibit, and restaurant. Forgot something? The concession offers snacks, marine supplies, and rentals (snorkeling gear, umbrellas, beach chairs, kayaks). You can also rinse away sand and saltwater at the cold-water shower station in the day-use area.
As for ADA affordances, a small number of sites and one cabin are accessible. Bahia Honda State Park offers accessible picnic tables, a boardwalk, and ramps. If you wish, you can borrow a beach wheelchair from the park. Service animals are also welcome.
Location, geography, and history
Bahia Honda is an island in the lower Florida Keys found at mile marker 37 on U.S. Highway 1. The state park occupies over 524 acres, making up most of the uninhabited island. Bahia Honda is renowned for its sandy beaches, sea breezes, and breathtaking sunsets.
The Florida Keys are an archipelago located on Florida’s southern coast in the subtropics. These ~1,700 tropical islands stretch over 120 miles, starting south of Miami and extending to the Dry Tortugas.
The deep waters near Bahia Honda (“deep bay” in Spanish) afforded a place for sailors to safely anchor, away from the Keys’ shallow water and coral reefs. A railway ran through the area until it was destroyed in 1935 by the Labor Day Hurricane. This Category 5 event hammered the Keys with winds of 200 mph and a 17’ storm surge.
Monroe County handed control of the park on Bahia Honda to the Florida Park Service in 1961. It later deeded additional land in Bahia Honda to the park service, after which the state acquired additional parcels. In 1984, the Florida Park Service purchased the last privately held property in Bahia Honda, which brought the entire island into the service’s stewardship.
Features, wildlife, and vegetation
Bahia Honda State Park contains three beaches. The shallow waters near Loggerhead Beach make for good swimming. Visitors to Loggerhead at night to sparkling night skies, including views of the Milky Way. Calusa Beach faces the Florida Bay and is known for its white sand and beautifully colored water. Sandspur Beach was damaged by Hurricane Irma and remains closed. (An entrance fee is charged to enter the park but waived for those camping in the park.)
There are several wildlife viewing opportunities at Bahia Honda. From the water, you might spot dolphins, sea turtles, reef fish, rays, or nurse sharks. Check out the sanderlings, turnstones, and plovers that feed on the sand flats. Or, venture into other park areas to find herons, egrets, and hawks. Endangered white-crowned pigeons also call Bahia Honda home.
You’ll find over 150 flora species in Bahia Honda State Park. Some of the park’s rare plants include yellow satinwood, Florida silver palm, and small-flowered lily-thorn). Several non-native animals and plants are present in the area, including the Key lime. (Yes, Key lime pie originated in the Keys.)
Activities at Bahia Honda State Park
Water plays a part in many activities at Bahia Honda. Snorkelers and novice scuba divers appreciate the area’s shallow (4 – 6') waters. From here, they can get close to the colorful reef, as well as corals (staghorn, star, brain, fire), tropical fish (angelfish, barracudas, eels), and lobsters. Do not take anything from or leave anything in these waters.
There are two boat ramps in the main marina that accommodate boats up to 32' in length. You can access the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean from the park. Those without a kayak or canoe can rent one from the concession. Swimming in the area is usually safe, but you should check warning flag signs and avoid the Bahia Honda Channel’s swift currents.
Other recreational opportunities at Bahia Honda State Park include geocaching, relaxing strolls (check out the decommissioned Old Bahia Honda Bridge) or a casual bike ride on the park’s paved road. Those interested in learning more about the region can visit the Sand and Sea Nature Center, which offers an aquarium, displays, videos, and activities for kids.
Risks, cautions, and notes
Check warning flag signs at beaches and welcome stations before swimming. There are no lifeguards on site, and these flags can help you gauge risk.
If you wish to reach the cabins or the Bayside Campground, your vehicle must be under 6' 8" tall. Any vehicles over this height will not fit under the Bahia Honda Bridge.
Sandspur Campground (sites 49 – 72) is closed at this time.
Campsites at Bahia Honda State Park’s campgrounds are in exceptionally high demand. Be sure to make your reservations well in advance (you can make reservations up to 11 months before your arrival date). If Bahia Honda State Park is sold-out, you can create a scan to monitor the park for cancelations and notify you of newly available campsites.
Information about Bahia Honda State Park
36850 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, FL 33043, United States
Bahia Honda State Park is located oceanside on U.S. Route 1. Travel south on U.S. Highway 1 (US 1). Watch for the green and white mile marker signs on your right, and make a left-hand turn at mile marker 37.
7 ft (2 m)
Up to 11 months in advance of arrival date
Number of sites
Dogs are permitted but must be kept on a six-foot leash. Dogs are not allowed on the beach, buildings, or rental boats. Service dogs are welcome in all areas.
In designated areas only
Max. site occupants
6 in some sites; 8 in others
Vehicles per site
Maximum vehicle length
Picnic table, grill, some sites with hook-ups
Number of accessible sites
6, 13, 14, 20, 62, 68, 76
Questions and Answers
Bahia Honda State Park FAQs
Can you bring alcohol to Bahia Honda State Park?
Alcohol can only be consumed in designated areas at Bahia Honda State Park. You can drink alcohol at your campsite; however, alcohol is not permitted on Bahia Honda’s beaches.
How much does it cost to get into Bahia Honda State Park?
Admission to Bahia Honda State Park is $4.50 for a motorcycle or vehicle with one occupant. This fee increases to $8 for a vehicle containing two – eight people (plus a surcharge of 50¢ per person). Admission for pedestrians and cyclists is $2.50.
How do I get a reservation at Bahia Honda State Park?
You can reserve a campsite at Bahia Honda State Park on Florida State Parks’ website, or you can make a reservation by phone by calling (800) 326-3521.
How far in advance can you book Bahia Honda State Park?
Reservations for Bahia Honda State Park can be made up to 11 months in advance of your arrival date.
Is Bahia Honda State Park fully open?
No—Sandspur Campground remains closed due to Hurricane Irma (2017), which caused significant damage to the area. Restoration efforts are underway. You can donate to The Friends of Bahia to contribute to this rebuild project.
Does Bahia Honda fill up?
Oh, heck yes it does! Bahia Honda State Park is extremely popular and campsites sell out in seconds. In fact, your best chance of getting a campsite there is to scan for canceled reservations.
What do BAYC, BAYS, BTWC, and SSC stand for?
These are abbreviated names for Bahia Honda State Park’s campgrounds. They area as follows:
Loop BAYC are cabins at Bayside Cabins
Loop BAYS are campsites at Bayside Campground
Loop BTWC are campsites at Buttonwood Campground
Loop SSC are campsites at Sandspur Campground (currently closed)
Got another question about Bahia Honda State Park?
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ARE Bahia Honda State Park campsites SOLD OUT?
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Contact Bahia Honda State Park
- Florida State Parks
- Booking site: https://reserve.floridastateparks.org/Web
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This is truly a bucket- list-worthy park, especially for the waterfront sites. It is located in the middle keys, about an hour from Key West. The campground features crystal clear turquoise water and abundant snorkeling opportunities.
The Best of the Florida Keys
Bahia Honda is a jewel and very difficult to get reservations for. Just 50 miles from Key West and beautifully maintained, with beaches, a marina, and amazing camping for all types of rigs/tents.
Pros: beauty, location, price, exceptional amenities. Great customer care.
Cons: low water pressure and day trippers congest the only park entrance during the day.
I couldn’t believe I got a spot here, but Campnab came through. And it was a very balmy breezy beautiful spot that is truly brochure friendly. I was right on the beach and there was turquoise water and sailboats passing by. I only wish I had more than one night.
Great park for camping with 3 beach options. Only complaint is that the bathrooms in the gulf camping area require some attention-they don’t drain well and there’s often water all over the floor when you enter. Didn’t used to be this way-not sure what happened.
The Crown Jewel of Florida State Parks
Bahia Honda is a top Florida state park that is clean and well-maintained. The campsites are spacious and comfortable. I stayed one night in the bayside campground, and then two nights in the oceanside campground. Both are great. Swimming is good at the bayside campground. Magnificent ocean views are at the oceanside campground but with little or no shade. I highly recommend this park. Be careful coming in from the Overseas Highway as traffic backs up onto the highway and it can be a little treacherous at peak times.
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