On the northwest side of Big Pine Key, housed in the Bahia Honda State Park, you’ll find Calusa Beach. This natural sand beach offers some fantastic views of the Atlantic and the stretches of Overseas Highway that juts out over the water.
Calusa Beach’s location in the interior of the park ensures that the water is calm and comfortable. Because of this, it is the perfect spot for a refreshing swim in the sky blue waters.
There are also lots of amenities at this beach. Since it is housed inside a popular state park, you can expect great recreational activities and amenities like bathrooms and beachside concessions.
Bahia Honda State Park is known far and wide as a tropical paradise that invites guests into the Florida Keys’ wilds. If a day at Calusa Beach needs a bit more excitement, you can indeed find it in the park’s famous interior.
Birding, snorkeling, sunbathing, biking, hiking, swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding are just a few activities you can get into at this beach.
Much like other areas in the Keys, the birding is spectacular. When the tide goes out, you can catch shorebirds on the sandbars that sit just a bit offshore.
A boat trip is available through the concession area that takes you out to Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary.
Swimming is allowed in the roped-off designated swimming areas. Here the water is shallow and calm, and for the most part, the bottom of the beach is relatively rock-free. Water shoes are still recommended if you are exploring farther offshore.
Snorkeling is also a super popular activity here. Again, the shallow water makes it incredibly easy to explore the bounty of soft corals, small coral heads, and tropical fish.
Since the beach is located in a state park, there are tons of amenities available for use. There are restrooms, shower facilities, picnic pavilions, parking, a concession stand, and even cabins available for rent if you plan to stay overnight.
There is also a nature trail available in the interior and an interpretive center for outdoor education.
Kayaking and paddleboarding can be easily done with the boat launch that is available on-site. Keep in mind that while the water is nice and calm, you should be wary to avoid the swimming areas. They should be clearly marked, though.
If you want to keep exploring the beaches in Bahia Honda State Park, then there are two other areas, Loggerhead Beach and Sandspur Beach, that should be on your itinerary.
Down on West Summerland Key, you can find Horseshoe Beach, another small swimming basin, and the Old Bahia Honda Bridge. The old bridge is a remnant of the massive railway system that sprawled through the keys. Several pieces are missing, allowing boats to move freely through.
The island of Bahia Honda is virtually uninhabited, with only the park’s ground occupying most of the area.
Until Henry Flagler built his railroad through the area, the island was a rugged wilderness. His efforts transformed the area into a tropical paradise.
Address: Big Pine Key, FL 33043