Here at Hipcamp, we’re already pretty excited about camping in Florida, but today’s post, courtesy of voyager Jena from Frolick and Finnley, got us beyond stoked. Bahia Honda State Park is the supreme destination for camping in The Keys and from all these photos, it seems like a spot everyone should add to their bucket list. Read on for tales of warm sunny days, white sandy beaches, and clear starry nights (a.k.a. paradise) and see you there!
Florida may be devoid of vertical awe (i.e. mountains), but you have to admit its horizontal appeal can be just as vast and awe-inspiring. Especially if you venture down south where the sunsets are abundant and the clothes, minimal.
Traveling to the Florida Keys is like skipping into a Caribbean wonder-world without the passport. The minute US-1 becomes an island, the reefy turquoise water starts singing this Bob Marley/Jimmy Buffet lovechild of a tune and your windows melt into sun crystals so the warm breeze can make your hair dance and you’re forced to flood your mouth in coconut water. It’s my world.
My boyfriend and I try to make the trip at least once a month. Though we live a few hours north we are often mistaken for locals as we scout the fish markets and local restaurants on our way down and back.
Camping in the Keys can be tricky, particularly in a State Park. The key is to be persistent. My own camping addiction has survived on others’ cancellations. The closer you get to your desired date the better the chance.
The downfall is it’s usually only for one night, but if you’re close enough and you’re willing to put your weekend warrior face on, this method will have you rising to the sunrise on some sweet oceanfront property.
Our recent escapade was to Bahia Honda State Park at mile marker 37. We stayed in the Bayside campground which is the smallest of the parks three, with only 7 tent sites. It sits across from the cabins along the bay. While no swimming is allowed in the bay, visitors are welcome to cast a line or kayak/SUP out to the Gulf.
Fear not, if you want to take a dip, there are plenty of options from secluded abyss’ to stretches of white sandy beaches. Basically if it’s the ocean, feel free to hop in.
If you were given the choice, I would recommend staying in the Sandspur campground. We have stayed there in the past and 11 of the sites offer spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, sunrises filled with dolphins and soaring pelicans, and are only a short walk away from Sandspur beach. However, the sites are tent only.
For the RVers out there, check out Buttonwood campground which also offers awesome oceanfront sites with views of the Bahia Honda bridges, badass sunsets, and is only a short walk from Calusa beach.
For us this time around, the closest beach was Loggerhead, known for its extremely large and pristine sand bar. Perfect for beachcombers and wild youngsters like the one I had with me.
Unfortunately most beaches in the Keys are not dog-friendly so I couldn’t bring my puppy near the shore, but they are welcome in most other areas of the park. If you want to take your pup to splash around, check out Anne’s Beach in Islamorada at mile marker 73.
After watching one of the Keys famous sunsets be sure to look up. On most nights the stars are beaming and the panoramic view is all yours. The adventures don’t have to end because it’s night. One of my favorite things to do is wait until midnight when the wind calms and the ocean is so glassy it mirrors the sky. My boyfriend and I will take the kayak out and just let the ocean take us as we look into the expanse.
Bottom line is the Keys does camping right. Even on a sweltering summer day, with the beaches only steps away and a constant ocean breeze, paradise is all you feel.
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