Camping at Bahia Honda State Park can be a mixed bag. I say this even though I believe our campsite on our last visit is probably the best campsite in all our travels. Emphasis on campsite. The views from campsite #14 at the Buttonwood Campground at Bahia State Park in Big Pine Key, Florida has amazing views of both bridges, the ocean, an inlet brimming with fish and a glimpse into the camper’s marina. It’s truly spectacular at sunset. So, how did we get this site in the middle of winter when anyone who has ever tried to reserve a site at Bahia Honda knows it’s always fully booked through the winter? Like all the other Florida State Parks I reserve, I get them through last minute cancellations, usually a week before. This drives my husband batty not knowing if we’re going to be stuck without reservations at such short notice. I assume many others feel the same way which may be why last minute bookings work so well for us. We spend close to two months every winter between Key Largo and Big Pine Key and have never been without a reservation.
As for Bahia Honda State Park, there are three separate campgrounds, two of which are primarily for tent or small pop-up camping. The third campground, Buttonwood, accommodates RVs. However, a large majority will not comfortably accommodate large rigs. Fortunately these smaller sites have pretty lousy views not to mention overgrown “native” growth, so those with big rigs aren’t missing out on much. Of the forty-eight campsites in Buttonwood, only thirteen have waterfront views and two of those are the camper’s marina. And although $42/nt in the Keys is considered affordable, it’s too much for anything but the waterfront sites in my opinion.
My focus in these reviews is on the campground more than the park as a whole. I think it’s worth mentioning especially in context of Bahia Honda State Park because although the campground, specifically Buttonwood, is average at most, the park as a whole is quite beautiful and full of history. The old bridge, two nature trails, an informative nature center, butterfly garden and dedicated park rangers make this park a must see while in the Florida Keys. Unlike many of the mostly rocky beaches you’ll find while hopping from island to island, Bahia Honda’s beach is soft and sandy. If it gets too hot, there’s a nice gift shop that serves ice-cream and other tasty treats to cool you off. Visitors that are not camping will pay $8 a car for 2-8 people plus 50 cents per person Monroe county tax.
- Iguana iguana at Bahia Honda State Park, Florida (dusttracks.com)
- Long Key State Park (campingwithaview.wordpress.com)
- Oak Hollow Family Campground (campingwithaview.wordpress.com)
- Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area (campingwithaview.wordpress.com)