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Latest update: Dec. 2015

Bahia Honda State Park... Paddling in the Florida Keys

Bahia Honda State Park is in the Florida Keys along the Overseas Highway (US 1) at Mile Marker 36.8, south of Marathon.The 524 acre park almost totally occupies Bahia Honda Key. Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway ran through the present park to Key West, a portion of the Old Bahia Honda Bridge has been converted to a walking trail with great views of the entire island. Paddling around the park is one of the prettiest areas we've seen on "big water." (Detailed map and photos below.)

paddle Bahia Honda, Florida Keys, kayak, canoe

Distance: varies
Location: Bahia Honda Key (US1, MM 36.8)
Difficulty: Moderate
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: Boat ramp at the Marina (Gulf side); kayak launch on the beach (Ocean side) (See map)
Nearby points of interest: City of Marathon, Dolphin Research Center, The Turtle Hospital, Old Seven Mile Bridge and Pigeon Key, EAA Air Museum

Rentals/Outfitters/Tours:

Coral Reef Park Company (park concessionaire, rentals)

Support and Advocacy:

Friends of Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda... Comments and Photos

Kayaks are available for rent; check-in at concession. There are two launches for paddle craft, from the Loggerhead parking lot (Ocean side) and from the paved boat ramp at the marina (Gulf side). Watch for the buoys which mark the designated swimming areas. Wind and tide can be challenges during any Keys paddling trip, but typically the Gulf side of Bahia Honda offers some pleasant shelter.


Paddling at Bahia Honda State Park

We launched from the boat ramp at the marina, and paddled under the Old Bahia Honda Bridge for a quick view of the ocean. We then turned around and paddled under the Overseas Highway bridge (US 1) and along the northwest side of Bahia Honda Key (Gulf side) to the Ohio-Bahia Honda Channel. We then turned east and paddled under another Overseas Highway bridge past the east end of the island onto the ocean. Upon return, we walked the short State Park trail up to the historic old bridge span. Here, we discovered some of the very best views in the Florida Keys.

Launches, Ocean side and Gulf side (at marina)

Paddling on the Gulf side to Ohio Key

 

Ohio-Bahia Honda Channel to Ocean

 

Old Bahia Honda Bridge and Walking Trail


Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park has parking, restrooms, swimming, camping and cabin rentals, fishing, picnicking, hiking trails, biking, concession and restaurant. The Gulf side beach is compact and picturesque; you'll often see photos of the beach in Keys promotional brochures. Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular and the concession offers a snorkeling tour to the historic Old Bahia Honda Bridge. The short walking trail up to the old bridge span is a must for the views from the top. The Sand and Sea Nature Center offers educational programs and interpretative exhibits. Bird watching is also popular.

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