The three white-sand beaches at Bahia Honda State Park (36850 Overseas Hwy., 305/872-2353, www.floridastateparks.org/bahiahonda , 8 a.m.–sunset daily, $3.50 and up per vehicle, camping $36 per night, snorkeling tours from $30 per person, kayak rentals from $10 per hour) are certainly the best in the Florida Keys . Many visitors to the Keys are disappointed by the relative lack of beaches on the islands, but a visit to Bahia Honda quickly disabuses them of the notion that the Keys are completely devoid of good places to splash around and sunbathe.
The largest beach area, Sandspur, is at the southeast end of the island and has three picnic pavilions as well as restroom and shower facilities; most visitors head straight for it, as the 2.5-mile stretch of white sand and calm blue waters is, though narrow, quite beautiful and surprisingly spacious.
The shallow waters at the small Loggerhead Beach area are great for families; a sandbar just offshore is a great place for kids to play during low tide.
Still, the best beach here is Calusa Beach, which offers not only the beautiful sands and blue waters of the other beaches, but also a great view of the Overseas Highway bridge; be advised that the underwater surface here quickly shifts from smooth, shallow sand to jagged rocks.
There are ample snorkeling opportunities just a few hundred feet from the shore of all three beach areas, and given the relatively isolated nature of the Keys, Bahia Honda State Park more than earns its reputation as one of the best beach areas in the state.
Beyond the beaches, Bahia Honda has plenty of opportunities for bird-watching and hiking along two fantastic nature trails. Camping, fishing, and boating are popular activities here as well. Overnight campers should make reservations well in advance, especially during the winter.