BIG PINE KEY & BAHIA HONDA, THE LOW-KEY ISLANDS
Point of entry of the Lower Keys, Big Pine Key is connected to Marathon by the iconic Seven Mile Bridge, which was one of the longest bridges in the world when constructed in 1912, and gained worldwide fame through blockbuster movies such as Licence to Kill, True Lies, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and Mission Impossible III.
Less animated than other regions of the Florida Keys, the Lower Keys consist in a string of smaller islands such as Summerland Key, Big Torch Key, and Sugarloaf Key.
Located just ahead of Big Pine, Bahia Honda Key is home to Bahia Honda State Park, a unique natural site with magnificent beaches and world-class snorkeling.
While mostly frequented for its diving, kayaking, cycling, and wildlife-watching activities, Big Pine Key also hosts a small community of amateur astronomers enjoy the perfect local conditions.
BIG PINE KEY & BAHIA HONDA Map
A hot spot for wildlife and diving
- Reaching Big Pine Key by the East means entering in deer country, as the 30-inch all, endemic Key Deers aka "toy deer" roam around the National Key Deer Refuge, a dedicated 2,300-acre mostly untouched natural reserve.
- Remarkable freshwater sites abound in Big Pine Key, including The Blue Hole within the National Key Deer Refuge, a watery sinkhole full of fish, turtles and even alligators.
- The remarkable Bahia Honda State Park is almost worth the trip by itself, with its incredible award-winning white sand beaches.
- One of the best snorkeling and scuba diving spots in the Florida Keys, the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary is a great place to observe coral reefs and canyons, counless tropical fishes and other marine wildlife.
OTHER FUN ACTIVITIES IN THE LOWER KEYS
- Beyond casual snorkeling, Big Pine is also a base for exciting diving expeditions around major sunk ships and wrecks like the 210-foot long Adolphus Busch.
- Built in 1929, the Bat Tower is a singular building erected to fight mosquito invasions, and although it did not work as intended, it remains a popular sight with visitors if only for an unusual photo souvenir.
- Kayaking is a popular way to explore the Lower keys and to observe a colorful wildlife especially at sunset, from the shallow lagoons of No Name Key to the eerie mangroves of Saddlebunch Keys.
CAMPING & ACCOMODATIONS
- Due to a relatively slow housing development and large tracks of wild land along the 30-miles long Lower Keys, the Big Pine area is the favorite spot for camping in all the Florida Keys.
- Many campgrounds are available throughout the Lower Keys, as well as R.V. parks coming in all sizes, from small private rentals to large premium camping resorts.
- Some of the most popular camping sites are the Sugarloaf Key KOA, the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge and the Geider Key Park Marina but you can also stay within the Bahia Honda Sate Park which hosts three campgrounds (80 campsites) for tents and RVs.
- Besides camping, the Lower Keys have a lot to offer in terms of accomodations, from B&B's like the Barnacle Bed & Breakfast, a wide variety of private vacation rental homes and hotels in all price ranges from the laylow Parmer's Resort to the exclusive Melody Key, as well as premium tropîcal resorts such as the Little Palm Island Resort & Spa.
What's New in the Florida Keys & Key West for Fall 2017
19 Oct 2017
Recovery continues in the Florida Keys & Key West after Hurricane Irma’s Sept. 10 passage through the 125-mile-long island chain. Despite the storm, the Florida Keys’ resilience is demonstrated by the number of new and ...
Sugarloaf Showdown to Lure Anglers to Lower Keys Nov. 2-4
13 Oct 2017
Anglers are to pit their skills against the Lower Florida Keys’ wiliest in-water inhabitants during the fourth annual Sugarloaf Showdown, a fundraising fishing tournament scheduled Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 2-4.
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park Reopens Oct. 5
06 Oct 2017
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, encompassing 300 acres on Windley Key at mile marker 84.9 near Islamorada, reopened Thursday, Oct. 5, for day use.
After Irma, Florida Keys to Reopen to Visitors Oct. 1
25 Sep 2017
After the Florida Keys were impacted by Hurricane Irma Sept. 10, local government officials announced Monday that the island chain would reopen to visitors Sunday, Oct. 1.
Tourism Infrastructure Repairs Moving Forward in Florida Keys
21 Sep 2017
Recovery efforts continue throughout the 125-mile-long Florida Keys island chain after Hurricane Irma struck the destination Sept. 9.