Just Florida Things: Epic Beach Crawl 2017: Bahia Honda State Park & Seven Mile Bridge, Bahia Honda & Little Duck Keys, FL
Bahia Honda. The foreign name brings thoughts of faraway lands. Rather, we were still in the FL Keys, approaching our next stop, a state park known for its beaches, a bridge, and snorkeling trips to the Looe Key Marine Sanctuary.
Bonus Fact: Bahia Honda means Deep Bay in Spanish
The day was bright, beautiful, and breezy. The latter unfortunately meant our planned snorkel trip was cancelled. The Looe Key Marine Sanctuary is not a well-protected location from 7 foot waves and 20 mph wind. Instead, we now had ample time to view and climb to the top of the Old Bahia Honda Bridge and check out both of this park’s natural beaches, Calusa and Sandspur. While not allowed to walk across the entire span of the bridge, we were able to enjoy a short, moderately steep hike to the top for a look around. Hiking in Florida is no easy feat, but the breezy day helped immensely. At the top, my hair was whipping around everywhere! Afterwards, we walked up close for a good side view and even underneath a short section.
After roughly an hour of this hiking excursion, it was time to hit the beach! Conveniently adjacent to the bridge, Calusa beach is the smaller of the two at Bahia Honda and more protected. The sand was soft and white, the water clear and wave-less. We brought our snorkel gear out since the water was so calm and clear, but beyond a couple of small fish, there wasn’t much to look at and lots of sea grass any distance from shore. We could tell this was a good beach for families based on the speed by which it filled up with them! Before long, we were on the hunt for more seclusion, hoping to find it at Sandspur.
We were not disappointed. Sandspur is the much longer beach and while there was a sizable congregation beginning to form closest to the parking and amenities, we did not have to wander far before the population dwindled to the more peaceful size we prefer. Even then, we continued onward almost to the point. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous and the sand was easy on our feet - very soft, but not laboriously deep.
As usual, we set up shop with our tent and headed out into the surf to cool off. We weren’t very far before we had to head back and rescue our tent as it de-anchored and started to tumble down the beach! Did I mention it was a windy day?! Tent safely stowed, we returned to the water. Almost crystal clear and a lovely shade of turquoise, the ocean here was shallow such a long way out. Still a natural Florida beach, we had to contend with sea grass, but here, it was in sparse patches that created a little path of cleared white sand. We strolled out through the maze and found it never really got higher than mid-thigh and farther out even shallowed enough for us to literally sit in the sea. Which is exactly what we did for a very long time.
So long that when we emerged, we were already starting to turn a slight shade of crispy! Rookie mistake. Not only had we not bothered to reapply, the sunscreen was back in the car! Sigh…lest we not ruin the remaining half of our sun-filled vacation, it was time to go….
As we drove past, I noticed a random parking lot next to it and yelled at Justin “pull over, pull over!” Naturally, we missed it. Luckily, our hotel for the night required us to backtrack and Justin, with a little more foresight, made the pull off. Already burned to a crisp, we didn’t plan to linger, but ended up spending an hour strolling to the end and back, with frequent pauses to look over the side when we noticed some marine life moving around in the gorgeous, clear water. We saw a couple of sharks, several different kinds of fish, and two kinds of rays – almost the same thrill as a snorkel trip, with none of the danger! Laughingly, we counted our way to the end and back by the blue trash barrels lining the bridge, along the same vein that we’d been counting down the mile markers!
By the time we returned to the car, we were only slightly crispier and all the more delighted by our unplanned excursion. Next stop: mile 0 – Key West!
Have you been to Bahia Honda State Park or walked the Seven Mile Bridge? Did you get to snorkel at the Looe Key Marine Sanctuary? Tell us about your visit in the comments!
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Our Favorite Photos From the Trip:
Top Tips & Notes For Next Time:
About the Epic Beach Crawl:
One random Saturday, Justin and I were discussing our hopes and dreams and landed on the topic of our chosen home state of Florida and how little of it we’ve seen, even after living here for several years. One thing lead to another and the question popped up: “How long would it take to drive around the entire coast of Florida?” According to Google Maps, roughly 24 hours give or take. And thus, the Epic Beach Crawl idea was born. Fortunately, after beginning our research, we came to our senses and realized there is far too much to see and do, especially since our modus operandi is along the lines of long walks on the beach paired with mid-afternoon naps! And so, we have split our Beach Crawl to End All Beach Crawls into Epic Beach Crawl part 1, the Florida Keys, a 10 day adventure we took this summer, to eventually be followed by Epic Beach Crawls 2-infinity, TBD.