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Bahia Honda State Park

Best beaches in the Keys

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The whole of Bahia Honda Key is given over to Bahia Honda State Park, and that’s a good thing.It’s a botanist’s delight. Botanically-rich, the island hosts more than 150 species of native plants, including the largest known stand of Florida silver palms. It’s found along the Silver Palm Nature Trail at the north end of the park. The National Champion silver palm is here, 29 feet tall, as is the National Champion West Indian satinwood.

Since Dr. Henry Perrine’s expeditions through the Keys in the 1830s, botanists have studied the rarities here, from smallflower lilythorn to wild dilly and vine milkweed. Just south of the park entrance, the Wings and Waves Butterfly Garden offers host plants for a variety of butterfly species such as the Cuban daggerwing and the black mangrove buckeye. Most significant is the Miami blue, an endangered species whose range has shrunk to this island.

Bahia Honda is a beachgoer’s delight, too. Here you’ll find the natural sandy strands that most of the Keys lack, soft and white but hard enough to stroll on at the waterline, drenched with sun and lined with coconut palms.

There are three beach areas to choose from: one at the northern tip of the park, at the very end of the access road, adjoining the Silver Palm Trail. US 1 once rode straight through the heart of the park and up and over the old railroad bridge that now sits as a relic above the sea. Two beaches flank each side of the Bridge Trail in this area. The inner cove, facing modern day US 1, is a launch point for water sports and for dive expeditions to the reefs of Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. The oceanfront beach is popular with paddleboarders and snorkelers.

Beach wheelchairs available upon request


At A Glance

Address:
36850 Overseas Highway
Big Pine Key 33043
Price:
$
$4.50 driver, $12 for 8 people, $2.50 pedestrian or bicyclist
Hours:
8 AM to sunset

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