I had spent a long day driving all the way to the end of US 1, then exploring Key West. I still had to drive back to my motel room in Miami for the night, but as sunset drew closer, I knew I had to find someplace special to watch the daylight disappear. Bahia Honda State Park turned out to be perfect.
Bahia Honda Key is 37 miles from the end of US 1 in Key West. The island is located at the eastern end of one of the Overseas Highway’s most impressive, and hard to build, bridges. Before crossing the new bridge, I found a good spot at the side of the road to admire the old one.
These days, the century-old bridge is quickly approaching the end of its life. Signs warn boaters to watch for falling debris, and pieces of the structure are obviously crumbling. Thankfully, though, a small portion of the bridge is still in great condition, and you can walk on it!
Leave your car at the main parking area at Bahia Honda State Park, and look for this sign. The trail leads up to…
… the old road surface atop the bridge.
From the top of the bridge, there’s a great view of the deep channel between the old and new roads. Everything you see on the right is part of Bahia Honda State Park, including crescent-shaped Calusa Beach.
Walk to the end of the maintained portion of the bridge, and there’s a guardrail, followed by a sudden drop (where a chunk of the old bridge was removed). Then, the old, decaying bridge continues. You can still see the circa-1970’s yellow lines down the center, along with chunks of concrete and a thick layer of bird poo.
Down below the automobile deck, you can get a look at the old railroad route — but you can’t go beyond a fence, that blocks access to this part of the bridge, unfortunately.
After exploring underneath the old road deck, I decided it was time to find the ideal sunset spot. I couldn’t help but notice…
… that the sun was setting behind the old bridge, so I found a spot to stand, where the sun was centered perfectly. With a few minutes to spare…
… I headed back to Calusa Beach. The view was nice here, too, but I was happier in my first spot (which required a very delicate balancing act, on a concrete wall that’s only about 18 inches wide, with deep water on either side).
I think it was worth it.