It is surprisingly simple to find your way around in the Florida Keys. The reason for this is there’s really only one road, US 1, which runs from the Florida mainland straight through the Keys south to Key West. So, directions are given based on mile markers on US 1. (For example, there’s a really great restaurant called the Keys Fisheries at MM 48.) So, if you are headed out to a particular destination, google the mile marker ahead of time, and then head north or south until you get there!
Yesterday the Top 5 headed out for Bahia Honda State Park, MM 38.6. It’s just south of the 7 Mile Bridge…and yes, it is really seven miles long! It was originally built in 1905 for a railroad by Henry Flagler and dubbed “Flagler’s Folly” because it seemed impossible to do. But, at a rate of one mile a year, and one hurricane later, the workers made their way across the span of water to finish in 1912. (Fun fact: the workers lived in Marathon, just north of the bridge, and the slow rate of work gave Marathon its name!)
So, we crossed the bridge and got in line for Bahia Honda State Park, which is about as close to a total tropical island feel as you can get! Here you can swim, snorkel, scuba dive, kayak, and just enjoy frolicking in the gentle surf. In fact, here’s an underwater webcam for you to check out the underwater scene!
You can also make your way up a remnant of the old bridge which now serves as an observation deck. Check it out:
“Top 5” Tips for an enjoyable trip:
1. Go early because the parking spaces fill up. Load up the car…it is cheaper admission to take one car of 8 people ($12) than 2 cars of 4 people ($10 each)
2. Rent a kayak and enjoy the crystal blue water. There are no lifeguards though.
3. Make the hike up to the bridge…it is worth it!
4. Bring a lunch, because there are tables under the pavilion as well as restrooms.
5. If it starts raining, wait it out. Chances are fifteen minutes later it will be sunny and clear.