First of all, I have to say, this was my families favorite camping trip so far by a long shot! I’m so happy that our favorite camping trip was in our now “home state” of Florida. I took lots of pics to share and I have tons of info to share so I’m going to make several posts on our experience as to share as much as I can.
The reason I want to share a detailed review is because this was our very first experience in Key West, FL. We were Key West newbies! Another trip has already been planned next year and we are going to change a few things. So please look out for future posts on our experience camping in Key West, FL.
The whole family was ready to go for a wonderful week in Key West, FL. Since we moved to Florida 5 years ago, it has been on our bucket list. I didn’t imagine it would be a camping trip, but it is, and everyone is very excited! Hubby and I were happy that it was only a 6 hour drive (aprox. 360 miles) from our central Florida home. We know from a year of camping experience now, to add an hour to the drive, due to gas stops and speed limits while hauling Mini Pearl. We set off on our adventure in the morning assuming we would get there, stop to eat lunch in Key West on the way to Bahia Honda before it got dark so we could check in and set up in the daylight. Well…….not so much! It took us way longer to get there than expected.
There was very heavy traffic after Homestead on US-1 heading to the keys. It is a 2 lane highway with mostly water and wildlife on each side of the road and the traffic was very heavy heading into Key West. Hubby and I both agreed that next time, heading down on a Saturday, maybe not the best idea! There were times we were at a stand still, completely, and people were outside of their cars standing around. This was NOT a good situation with towing Mini Pearl behind us. I was starting to get worried about the gas tank level just idling there for over an hour. Once you are on this stretch of road there isn’t any gas stations, stores, etc.. Just road, water, and wildlife. We hit the first gas station we could get to once we got to the Keys and I think we just barely made it! It was a very tight gas station and there was a long line of people trying to do the same thing. There were better ones past the gas station we went to, so we will remember to fill up again (no matter the level) in Homestead area and again around Islamorada where there is a little more room.
We were so happy once we were able to get moving and decided to head straight to the park instead of stopping for lunch since we were running so far behind schedule now. We ended up in heavy traffic again through Islamorada and tried to divert it through a few neighborhoods, but it eventually brings you out to the same traffic mess we were in to start with. Since it was getting dark I was looking forward to seeing the famous Key West sunsets. I took this as we were going over The 7 Mile Bridge..
After the bridge, the campground is very close! We were worried because it was past their hours. As we got there, we had to pull off to the side due to a gated entrance. A number is needed to enter and since it was after hours, there was nobody in the little building and no mailbox for us so we had to wait for somebody else to leave and ask them for a number to get in. Luckily it was a fellow RVer and they understood our situation and gave us the number. We were able to find our spot pretty easy considering we had no map. It was VERY DARK in the campground and lucky for us we had flashlights a plenty!
On another note, while setting up, I made the kids wait in the truck because I was getting eaten alive by whatever bugs are there. Since it was night, I couldn’t tell what exactly they were, but they immediately found my arms and legs!
Once we woke up in the morning, we were able to scout out the place. I loved how each campsite was densely populated with beautiful sea grape trees. It made for nice privacy and shade! The site we had (and most of them) were very wide so you had ample space to situate your car for added privacy if you wanted. I posted a short video review of our campsite area here –>Video Review Bahia Honda
One morning as I was sitting outside having my morning cup of coffee, I heard a loud thump on the awning and this guy had jumped off the awning onto a tree branch in our campsite. It scared the bejezuz out of me because I hadn’t seen any up till now. He was a big guy and so beautiful!
The bugs are very bad here at all times of day. Hubby had done some research before we left and had purchased a Thermacell Portable Bug Repeller. I was so happy he did because I couldn’t even have a morning cup of coffee outside if I didn’t have that on the table. This product was one of the best products we have bought so far because it’s portable, only takes about 10 minutes to warm up and start working, and doesn’t take up much room in the camper.
In addition, as I quickly learned we also had several sand crabs living in our site. They scurry out and in of their little holes, but never bothered us as much as just startled us!
In addition, there are so many things you can do at the park. If you are lucky enough to have a waterfront campsite, you can snorkel right from your site! That’s our plan next visit. We opted to head out of the campground area to the nearest beach in the park (not the swimming area with the store.) as that area had the best view of fish for snorkeling. We tried several other spots, this was our favorite. It’s great because it’s shallow so you don’t have to worry too much abut the kids. There were sand sharks, but a park ranger told us they have never had one bite anybody. The kids thought that was cool to see them! In addition, he told us to make sure the kids didn’t touch the RED Coral as that will make you rash out and you’ll be red and itchy! This was the kids FIRST time snorkeling and it was amazing to see how quickly they adapted! They did better than I who have snorkeled several times! They loved it so much that they didn’t want to go to Key West the next day, but we made sure to do another day of snorkeling before we left.
There is a bit of seaweed on the beach, but once you get past it, the water is very turquoise and clear and gorgeous! Make sure you bring a towel or sheet because the beach is covered with dead seaweed and little bugs so you will need it!
We wrapped up our last night by fishing under the bridge (which was only a very short walk from our site – see pic)
Hubby and our youngest went up after dinner and after the dishes were cleaned, my oldest and I joined them. By then there were several people fishing and watching the sunset. People brought chairs, glasses of wine, and dessert to enjoy the sunset. It is truly a site to see in person and just spectacular!
This became a social hour and it was a nice place to meet some of our fellow campers and meet some really nice people. Truly a great trip and a campground that we will do (already have reservations for next year!) again and again and again!