Bahia Honda State Park
As our days were winding down in the paradise called the Florida Keys, Betsy and I had to be prudent on where to spend our time. During our travels we have grown very fond of visiting National Parks, National Seashores, State Parks, County Parks, etc. After reading great reviews and then seeing Bahia Honda State Park as we drove down the Overseas Highway (US 1), we decided a visit to this State Park would be a good use of our time. To seal the deal, we were chatting with a couple from Michigan in the Venture Out Resort pool a couple of days earlier who spoke very highly of the State Park, emphasizing the great bike-riding in the park and the great snorkeling a short distance from the shore. We were convinced. Book a visit.
Located at MM 37 on the Overseas Highway, Bahia Honda State Park was a pleasant 20 minute ride from our home at Venture Out Resort. Shortly after turning off US 1, we stopped at the Guard booth where the $9.00 entry fee was collected. ($8.00 / car for the State Park and $0.50 / person Monroe County surcharge.) While we usually prefer FREE activities, we definitely understand these types of parks cost money to maintain and happily paid the fee. We parked in a lot with a front-row view of the crystal clear Atlantic Ocean. It is always amazing to us when we think about the fact that this is same Atlantic Ocean as the one we visit at the Jersey Shore! We had planned ahead and loaded our bikes on the back of the Pilot. Off we pedaled to explore the Park.
Directly across the street from our parking lot was the marina and boat ramp. The Park has 19 slips for rent in a small protected harbor. The charge is $2.00/ foot with a $30.00 minimum for electric and water available at each slip. Also moored in the harbor was the boat which takes snorkelers out to the reef approximately 12 miles off shore. Daily departures are 9:30am, 1:30pm and/or 4:45pm daily. Each trip provides 1.5 hours of snorkeling, plenty of time to explore this fabulous coral reef. Prices for the snorkel trip are $29.95 for adults and $24.95 for children under 18. Snorkel equipment can be rented for a minimal charge. Although we did not take part in the snorkel trip, it is definitely something we would consider on our next visit to the Park.
We definitely wanted to get a look at the campsites during our bike tour. The camping area has some fabulous waterfront sites that you can see from US 1, and they were just as fabulous from inside the park. All of the sites were a decent size, ranging from 30 to 71 feet in length, with water and electric available at each site. The peak season rate is $36 / night for RV sites, which sounds like a great deal until you find out that in order to obtain one of these waterfront sites you have to be on the website 11 months in advance at exactly 8 AM. And you still hear stories of people not getting sites after jumping through these hoops.
We pedaled out along the beautiful Atlantic coastline, enjoying the sun and scenery. After exploring all of the park, we loaded the bikes on the car and decided we couldn’t resist a trip into the water. We changed into our swimsuits (Yes, we came prepared!) and waded out into the water right in front of where we parked. When we considered it was the first couple days of March, the water was a perfect temperature, probably in the mid-70’s. As we wandered along the coast in waist-deep crystal clear water, there weren’t many other places either one of us wanted to be. And nobody else we wanted to be there with!
Just something else to put on our list of “Let’s do this again”.