Friday, August 5, 2016

Bahia Honda State Park Florida

Lobster Palooza!

We recently camped at Bahia Honda State Park in our 1997 Georgie Boy Maverick Class C for 7 nights.  We were there July 24-31 during mini Lobster season with many family members.


It should be noted that you will find very few negative points in this post.  My husband has been camping there since he was a small child and we've gone together "nearly" every year of our married lives.  We pretty much love this place. ;)

It's TOUGH to get a site at this park, we have a strict policy that if we don't get a water site, we don't go, that's just us, but many people enjoy the park in all the other camping areas and aren't as picky as us. :)

There are basically three camping areas in the park (buttonwood, sandspur and bayside) plus a few cabins.  

BUTTONWOOD, (water and electric):  Our camping area of choice, with 12 campsites that lay along the waters edge (14-25).  The view from here is of the gulf that lays between the old bahia honda bridge and railroad (historic landmark) and the new overseas highway that heads south to Key West.  
You can walk right into the water from your campsite and swim, snorkel, kayak, canoe, float, whatever suits your fancy.  We brought our boat and during the day we tied it up just off our site for easy access.

Our little boat waiting for a ride...

Benefits of water sites:  Instant water access! 

Just chillin in the water right off our campsite...

Less mosquitoes and no- see-ums, finer rocks to walk on, the possibility of a breeze, the sunset view...breathtaking!

Downfalls of water sites:  The closer you are to the overseas highway, the louder the noise, but it's something we've become use to and is synonymous with being there. ;)  The possibility of a, I mean WIND.  If a storm kicks up (and they do quite often, be ready to pull in your awning!  The inner sites are protected by trees, these water sites are wide open to the wind ... just be aware of that.


Downfalls of "inner/not-on-the-water sites":  They can be hot and stuffy, no breeze, if you are there in the summer, just know that many of the sites do not get much air flow, and some of them have little to NO privacy between you and your neighbor, but some are more open (corner sites) and some have a better chance of water view and breeze (across road from water front sites).  Word of caution... though it may be handy to be near the bathroom, keep in mind that the bathroom is RIGHT next to the dump as well as two large dumpsters!  My sis in law was very near the dumpsters and the flies on her site were very bad, as well as the smell.... so keep that in mind when choosing a site.

SANDSPUR (water and electric):  We've never stayed on this side, but have ridden our bikes through many times.  A few of the sites are right off the beach (Atlantic Ocean side), with a path right down to the water, but most of them are not direct water access.  They are all quite shaded.  No big rigs in this camping area, only tents, pop ups and smaller trailers.  Possibly smaller RV's (van types), but you would have to check with the park on that.

BAYSIDE (water ONLY - NO electric):  There is a half circle of sites that are in the same area as the Cabins, they surround a deep basin (no swimming in there) where you are likely to see tarpon and sea turtles! :)  These are for tents ONLY and do not have electric.  Not for the faint of heart...not for me. :)

CABINS:  I've never stayed in them, but I believe they are 2 bedroom, living area and full kitchen, and can sleep up to 8-10 people.  They are on stilts with covered parking for your vehicle, have a balcony for fishing and grilling.  You can pull your boat right up to the front of your cabin in the deep basin.  Pricey and tough to get into I hear.

There is a boat ramp in the park, which also has overflow trailer parking if you need it.  
You can leave your boat in the "main marina" for a "by the foot" fee.  
OR, if you get lucky you can tie up to the campground dock for free.  There are about 8 slips available on a first come, first serve basis.  The dock is set right behind sites 12 and 13 with a fish cutting table and path to the campground.  You can leave it overnight, which is a great bonus.
Boating this area is amazing, so much to see... last trip I saw 5 or 6 HUGE thick red starfish.... so beautiful!

This water was so clear and still... 8-9 feet and I can see straight to the bottom.

Swimming and Snorkeling:  Everywhere!!! :)  There are three "beach areas".  Calusa beach is a roped off area with covered picnic table pavillions and a large parking lot, it is set next to the main marina on the gulfside (between the bridges).
Calusa Beach as seen from the bridge...

On the Atlantic side there are two beach areas, one that is near the bridge (south side of park) and one that is past the Sandspur camping area (north side of park).  
NOTE:  While the water is pristine and clear and warm and beautiful, the sand white and soft, you WILL mostly likely encounter sand fleas which can be irritating, as well as much seaweed on the beach which has a funky smell.  We have become use to it. :/

Beaches on the Atlantic Side...


You will have the chance to see so many pretty fish while snorkeling in all areas of the park, you'll also most likely see a lobster or two, crabs, maybe a sea turtle, stingray and possibly a nurse shark.  

For the absolute best experience of a lifetime... take the Bahia Honda charter boat out to Looe Key Reef... you will be blown away by the beauty!!  You can also take your own boat out there, it's only 10 miles southeast of Bahia Honda.

Walk up the bridge and soak in the amazing view during the day, go on a moonless night and watch shooting stars.

 Ride your bike all over the park.  Head to the Bayside to see the most amazing sunset ever.

  Get in the water, see the beauty, don't touch or take anything so that all our grandchildren can enjoy the beauty in years to come.

Buy a tank top at the gift shop and get a scoop (or two) of delicious ice cream that will melt right down your hand if you don't eat it fast enough!

Relax, enjoy, fall in love with the beauty ... come back again.