We were fortunate to spend 12 days at the lovely Bahia Honda State Park (30 miles North of Key West) for the Christmas Holidays this year.
I was asked by some fellow RVers about this park – how hard is it to get a reservation (very) and what activities are available?
Here are some activity suggestions for you to consider should you spend some time here in the great area of the country.
The Florida Keys are known as the Fishing Capital of the World. Many Charter trips are available to visitors – the boats bring people to great fishing throughout the area. More saltwater world records have been established in the Florida Keys than any other angling destination on the globe.
Hiring a charterboat or flats’ guide might be considered for the best fishing. Not only does the Keys captain offer local expertise and full equipment & the fishing licenses required for all visitors or residents.
Bonefish, tarpon are favored inshore species, but jacks, Spanish mackerel and barracuda also abound, especially in the winter months. Burly grouper and snapper haunt the reef areas. Acrobatic dolphin fish (mahi-mahi), billfish, tuna and wahoo cruise offshore.
Zane Grey and famous local Ernest Hemingway knew that no other place in North America boasted such a vast array of fish species and habitats, from shallow flats and backcountry to coral reefs and the azure Gulf Stream waters.
The Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is named for Dagny Johnson who was instrumental in helping to preserve this large tract of Florida Keys hammock and is now part of Great Florida Birding Trail. The Keys serve as the anchor for the South Florida segment of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Altogether the trail has 116 segment in twelve Florida Counties. Details for individual parks may be found via a downloadable brochure at the Great Florida Birding Trail’s Web site, http://www.floridabirdingtrail.com.
At the Dagny Johnson Hammock Botanical State Park are found breeding populations of white-crowned pigeons, black-whiskered vireos, and mangrove cuckoos and at times migrating warblers. Also documented are sightings of the Zenaida dove, thick-billed vireo and the rare LaSagra’s flycatcher.
At Bahia Honda itself – a wonderful place walk the beach to see shorebirds, gulls, and terns. Warblers may be found in trees close by the old store. Still other birds can be viewed at the east end of the beach and roadside past the camping area. Visitors can do it all here. Bahia Honda State Park allows for birding, camping, boating, snorkeling, kayaking and or just swimming and relaxing on the beach.
Scuba & Snorkeling
Scuba & Snorkeling is great sport here. The 120-mile Florida Keys island chain is home to the continental United States’ only living-coral barrier reef. This teeming backbone of marine life runs the length of the Keys about five miles offshore and offers Florida Keys scuba diving vacation memories that last a lifetime.
Coral formations are famous for their abundance of fish, from impressive schools of blue-striped grunts to toothy green moray eels. The U.S. government established the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to protect the marine habitat.
Preserving the reef is a top priority for a good reason. There is no more versatile marine destination in the world. We have coral-encrusted ship wrecks and intricate natural coral formations. Shallow reefs for snorkelers, and a range of deeper reefs for experienced divers.
Kayaking here in the Keys is some of the best.
The crystal blue water provides many opportunities to view wildlife in the water – water so clear and in many cases very shallow – provides many chances to see what is swimming underneath your boat. Water that is five different shades of blue in a 40′ span. Spectacular.
Also below you may find abandoned boats on the water floor. We discovered a cove this trip that had two sunken boats on the floor.
You can also explore the great mangrove tunnels carved into the groves with your boat. Folks have taken the time to carve out trails for your exploration – a trail is available right at Bahia Honda for you to view. Kayak rentals are available at the park – and up and down the keys.
Many terrific restaurants are available for you to try. Blue Heaven with great Caribbean food and roosters running around the yard and good cocktails in an outdoor setting.
El Siboney Restaurant – a neighborhood Cuban stop with basic food in a plain setting with good service. Our last visit there demonstrated hour popular this eatery is. Jammed!
Hogfish Grill – on Stock Island, serving a fish that is hard to find outside of South Florida. Caught by spear fishing (not on a line or via net) it is a mild whitefish bordering on lobster. OK, maybe a stretch but really delicious. Whenever it is on the menu or available at a local fishmonger I buy it.
Square Grouper – a casual seafood restaurant about 10 miles North of Key West. Named after bales of pot found floating in the water. Used by the owners to finance the restaurant? Unknown.
I don’t know why the sunsets in Florida are so terrific. Every night presents a new show – many people socialize around the drop of the sun every night. The sky presents beautiful colors for you to absorb.
And others have expressed their love for this place, including Disperna, who could not help themselves but had to let the world know how they felt….