A Camping Honeymoon in Florida
Written by Jo Ann Oliver
Bahia Honda State Park is a great place to unwind after the whirlwind of your wedding. This 524 acre paradise in the Lower Keys is ideal for beach and nature loving couples.
Imagine... pristine beaches, some of the best snorkeling in the Florida Keys, great camping, swimming in emerald green waters, kayaking, boating, fishing and soaking up the natural beauty with your beloved. If you’re looking to get a little sand between your toes and don’t mind a little sand between the sheets, (ahem) - this may be just the place for you!
The park offers tent and RV campsites, with some sites in hardwood hammocks and some right on the water. You can also rent a great little cabin that is fully furnished and a bit more private for honeymooners. The cabins are a favorite among visitors, so need to be booked early. Cabins can be reserved 11 months in advance.
There are also boat slips available for overnight rentals. The boat slips offer water, electric and all the amenities of the campsite. If you don’t bring a boat with you, there are boat rentals available in the Big Pine Key area.
If you’re not into renting your own boat, you can take a tour to Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. The concession at Bahia Honda State Park offers snorkeling tours to this national treasure. The sanctuary is named after the HMS Looe, a ship that ran aground in 1744. The variety of coral structures and tropical marine life will amaze even some of the most experienced snorkelers and divers.
To learn more about the island and the different habitats there, visit the Sand and Sea Nature Center. You can tour the small aquarium, join a park ranger for a Nature and History Quest or a campfire circle, and even learn the history of the Overseas Railroad.
If the two of you want some alone time, take a self guided tour through the beautiful Silver Palm Trail, home to the rare silver palm. You’ll enjoy the hike through hammocks, mangroves, dunes and the beach. The trail in the Calusa area takes you to the top of the Old Bahia Honda Bridge, from where there's an unbelievable view of the island, the water below and the most gorgeous and romantic sunsets. Some couples even get married on top of the bridge.
On your walk through the trails you can spot dolphin, manatee, turtles, large rays and the protected and precious Key Deer. Also be on the lookout for birds like the Great White Herons, White Ibis, Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones, Roseate Spoonbill, Osprey, and the rare white-crowned pigeon. Bahia Honda is a favorite rest stop for migrating birds.
The park concession offers kayak and snorkeling equipment rental. Believe me, you’ll want to take advantage of these activities. There are also snacks, sandwiches, souvenirs, groceries and marine supplies. If you’re in need of other supplies, the area of Big Pine Key and the Florida Keys has lots to offer. There are grocery stores, gift shops, boat rentals, tackle shops, outdoor outfitters, dive shops, restaurants, tiki bars and pubs.
And while you’re planning your honeymoon, why not think about getting married in the Florida Keys? There are many wonderful wedding professionals throughout the Keys that can assist you with your tropical wedding. The local phone directory and the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce are great resources for all these services.
Have fun you two - and don’t forget your sunscreen! For more information on the beaches of Florida, check out my site, Best Florida Beaches
Comments by other travellers