Snorkeling Bahia Honda State Park from the beaches is OK for beginners to learn the basics, but it is not satisfying for experienced snorkelers looking for a healthy reef with sea life.
From the shore you will pretty much find sea grass, rocks, and a few immature fish. There is no coral to see. It can be enjoyable to get in the water, and focus on the little creatures. We share the best shore snorkel spots below.
2023 Coral Bleaching Event – Please note that very high water temperatures in the summer of 2023 have caused widespread coral bleaching and death in the Florida Keys. So the descriptions on this page are not accurate. If you wish to see healthy coral reefs we now recommend you visit the Coral Triangle.
The better snorkeling that takes place from Bahia Honda is the boat trips that take folks out to Looe Key Reef. Snorkeling Looe Key Reef is a different story all together. It is fantastic and you don’t want to miss it. But, Bahia Honda is a good distance away from Looe Key, and we prefer to use different boat companies that are closer. So going to Bahia Honda for the snorkeling is not our suggestion.
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But you should still visit this park because it is one of the most beautiful attractions in all of the keys. It offers the only natural beaches in the keys, and they are really very nice to hang out on. And the waters here are a beautiful azure blue and are great for swimming. The park also has some very nice places to take walks. Even the corn dogs at the concession stand were pretty good.
Besides hanging out on the beaches, one of the nice things to do is to walk up to the end of the old bridge and enjoy the views. See the picture below? See the broken bridge on the left side? That is where you walk up to. It is a great spot.
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Snorkeling Bahia Honda Beaches
Snorkeling Bahia Honda is a good option for someone who wants to learn how to snorkel, because it offers some protected shallow waters. But as mentioned above, the quality of the snorkeling at these beaches is low.
Bay Side Beach
If you are going to beach snorkel here most folks do it from the bay side (the beach on the side of the park where the boat docks are – see picture below).
If you snorkel toward the bridge (to the left, facing the water) there are some rocks and a wall that is a home to some fish. The wall at the end of the beach is a popular snorkeling Bahia Honda spot to explore (see picture below). Take note though, there is a strong current that cruises through the channel under the bridge. So be cautious if you snorkel toward that channel from either side.
Foggy Masks, Fin Blisters and Angry Snorkels!
Poorly fitting, cheap gear, can ruin your trip. See our snorkeling equipment reviews and fitting suggestions to make sure your next trip is great.
Atlantic Side Beach
Snorkeling Bahia Honda from the Atlantic Ocean side beach (picture below) tends to have more waves and is generally not much better. And actually if you snorkel anywhere but on the bay side, the park requires you to have a dive flag with you while snorkeling, which they conveniently sell or rent from their store.
We sometimes do enjoy snorkeling in sea grass and rock environments because you get up close and personal with immature fish and a variety of other creatures you would not normally pay much attention to in a bigger coral reef environment. While snorkeling Bahia Honda we found an occasional lobster in the grass, a couple of Spotted Scorpionfish, an immature drum, and some small skates.
But still, it is pretty mediocre snorkeling. We normally love to take pictures underwater, but had almost no luck here, and the ones we got were pretty bad. You can see a hiding lobster in the sea grass, and an immature drum.