Last summer I planned a trip to the Florida Keys with my boyfriend and some friends. The Key’s have always been a favorite place of mine because I love the beaches and it feels so homey. I was telling my voice teacher about my plans and she suggested I go to a place called Bahia Honda because it is really beautiful and she said that I would like it. So I put that on the agenda and made sure that we went.
Bahia Honda Key, Florida
Bahia Honda State Park is on Bahia Honda Key which is pretty much just the state park and thats it. It is a amazing area and I would go back in a heart beat! Calusa Beach is my favorite and where I would recommend to go. This beach was so great that when we went we spent most of the weekend there. The plan was to go to Bahia Honda and check it out and hang out there on the first day and then the next day go to Key West but we ended up going back to Bahia Honda after visiting Key West for about five hours. We spent the rest of the day there. It is so beautiful and relaxing. Thinking about it makes me want to pack my bags and leave right now!
Bahia Honda is famous for its beautiful beaches. Calusa Beach is known for having about a mile long sandbar. By this I mean when you get there the water only goes up to your knees for about a mile. You can walk out into the ocean and then keep walking for a while and not hit deep water. Most of it is coral reefs so I would be careful where you step (it will be easy to tell in the pictures). People put their chairs in the water and sit out there because it’s so shallow. When you enter the park there are two ways to go (calusa beach is to your right, if I remember correctly). It is important which way you go because if you go to the wrong side you will think I am lying to you and that the sand bar doesn’t exist. This happened to me, I went the wrong way and the other beach is just a regular beach so I was pretty disappointed when it wasn’t what I was expecting. We didn’t go to Calusa Beach until the end of the day so when we finally found it we didn’t get to spend as much time there (which is why we came back). Calusa Beach also has beautiful coral reefs that you can snorkel around (bring your own snorkeling gear). I snorkeled with my boyfriend and saw so many colorful fish! It is something I will always remember! You can go camping at Bahia Honda State Park, it is about 36 dollars a night for only tents or RV’s and can go up to 160 dollars for cabins. I have not camped there before although I really want to. I will always recommend camping instead of a hotel because I think it is the most inexpensive and the most fun. Yes, a hotel is very luxurious and convenient but it is so much fun to be in the outdoors and build a fire and make sausages (my favorite way to make sausage) and s’mores over that fire. My boyfriend and I tell each other scary stories (when there is no wifi) and sometimes I am scared of my own stories. The experience of camping is the best part which is why I recommend it. I would never be able to tell people that I scare myself with my own stories if I didn’t go camping. Moments like that happen when you disconnect and having real bonding moments.
Key West, Florida
We went to Key West for all of about 5 hours but I have been there many times before so I can still talk about it. Key West is a very cute Key, it is probably the most famous because it has the southern most point which is 90 miles from Cuba, Duval Street which is the most famous area down town, and Ernest Hemingways’ house (I really like literature so it was a must do for me). It is a very charming town, the key west style houses everywhere are so cute and of course key lime pie is a must try (that rhymed), make it a really nice place to visit. If you want to visit the southern most point all I can say to you is good luck! The line will be ridiculously long and it will probably be very hot outside. If this is something you must do then just be prepared to wait a while. I didn’t take a picture there because I didn’t want to wait in the line (no regrets). When you visit the Key’s you must walk down Duval Street. It is like a main street area, I got Key lime pie on Duval Street at the Key Lime Pie store. Everything there is Key lime flavor, they have pie (obviously) and candies there too. There are other shops and eating establishments to visit on Duval St. There is a cigar shop that my boyfriend and his friends looked into and they claim that they got the best cigars they have ever had from there. The Ernest Hemingway home and museum, is 13 dollars for adults and 6 dollars for children over the age of 5. The house and the gardens are really pretty and I really enjoyed touring it but the thing that stood out to me the most were the cats. There are so many cats on this property that if you go to the museums website they have an entire tab just for the cats (I really like cats). They are everywhere and so cute, that was my favorite part!
I am a college student so money is something I care about when I travel. If you are like me, my advice is that when you go to the Keys don’t try to stay at a hotel that is to close to the popular areas because they will be the most expensive.When I went I stayed at a cheap hotel in Florida City, it was clean and fulfilled its purpose of letting me sleep there and that was all I needed. Of course if I could have gone camping I would have but it didn’t work out so I organized the hotel situation. Staying in Florida City was not a bad option because Key West was only three hours away so we woke up early and went the next morning. If you must stay closer because you like to do that but you still need to save money, don’t just take the cheapest option. Read the reviews! I found a place in key west that was affordable but the reviews were terrible. I chose to stay three hours away because they were so terrible! I don’t regret that decision at all! We still had an amazing time even though we didn’t stay in Key West.
I strongly recommend visiting the Florida Keys. There are other Keys around the area that are also really nice, like Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon and many others I haven’t gotten the chance to visit yet!
Below I have added a link to a video of my underwater adventures while I was at Bahia Honda! I hope you enjoy! (the music makes you feel like you’re having a good time!)