The Bahia Honda Park is the centerpiece of this particular key - and quite possibly of all the lower keys in general. The park runs approximately 525 acres and includes a little offshore island toward the southern end of the park. Per the state park leaflet (which you should request when you enter), “The geological formation of Bahia Honda is Key Largo limestone. It is derived from a prehistoric coral reef similar to the present day living reefs of the Keys. Because of a drop in sea level several thousand years ago, portions of this ancient reef emerged from the sea, forming islands. Bahia Honda is the southernmost key where the formation is exposed.”
Bringing us to the present tense, Bahia Honda is also the birthplace of Henry Flagler’s (a famous Floridian) East Coast Railway. He started a railroad to Key West from here back in 1905, though it wasn’t completed until 1912. Locals referred to it as “Flagler’s Folly” (between the stories while being built, and what happened to it later on). It was destroyed by a hurricane in 1935. If you stand at the southernmost tip of the park, you have a perfect view of the Old Bahia Honda Bridge and it definitely resonates of Flagler’s dream…
Bathrooms and a gift shop/snack bar are located on the park premises, and there is also plenty of docking slips for boats.
Entrance fee to the park is $3.50 USD per person.
I saw 2 different, blue, perfect creations, looking like little toys - ring and boat, arround 2-3 cm long on the beach and was so excited of them. I had no idea what are they - they looked unreal. Later a friend told me that they are poison jellyfish
When they build the Bahia Honda Bridge, it was even more of an engineering problem than the Seven Mile Bridge because of the depth of the channel and the current. So this bridge was a swing bridge with the typical erector set construction, and high because of the possibility of tidal surge through the channel.
The third picture is a sign about the building of the bridge. It had to cross water thirty feet deep. Steel spans, resting on concrete piers, supported the railway bed of the 5,055 foot (1.541 m) long bridge. There is a picture of the railroad bridge from the railroad tracks on this sign.
Fondest memory: When it was converted to a highway bridge, therefore, they couldn't just stick the sides of the highway over the side like they did for 7 mile bridge because the girders were in the way. SO.... They put the new highway on TOP of the old railroad bridge.
Picture #5 shows the sign on the end of the old bridge. It says: "Old Bahia Honda Bridge. This bridge spanning the 5055 foot Bahia Honda Channel was constructed over the old East Coast Railway which was built by oil mogul Henry Flagler. Sometimes called Flagler's Folly the railway was started in 1905 and completed in 1912."
If you were driving on it back then, you totally didn't know that the highway was up there on top of the girders - at least we didn't.
This sign talks about a large number of rare plants that grow on Bahia Honda Key. The plants pre-date the formation of a park, which is why this tip is under the Key and not the park.
Rare plants growing here includ the West Indies satinwood or yellowwood tree (Zanthoxylum flavum), the Catesbaea, Jamaica morning glory (Jaquemontia jamaicensis) and wild dilly (Mimusops).