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Bahia Honda State Park is one of the most popular stops on the Overseas Highway, the scenic route that connects the entire length of the Florida Keys. The small Calusa Beach, on the bay side, offers the calmest waters on the island. Snorkeling at Calusa Beach is just decent, with a few fish to see over the rocks and the seagrass.

Calusa Beach, Bahia Honda State Park
Calusa Beach, Bahia Honda State Park.

How to get to Calusa Beach snorkeling spot?

Calusa Beach is the most popular beach in Bahia Honda State Park, a nature reserve located on Bahia Honda Key, in the Lower Keys. The island is 63 miles south of Key Largo and 57 miles east of Key West.

If you’re driving from Miami and the mainland, Bahia Honda State Park is signposted from Oversea Highways. Bahia Honda is just 3.5 miles before you reach Big Pine Key.

Bahia Honda State Park is open 365 days a year, from 8 a.m. to sunset. The entrance fee (2024) is $8 per car (2 to 8 people), $4.5 for single-occupant vehicles, and $2.5 per pedestrian and bicycle. Ample parking is available next to the beach.

Calusa Beach is at the western tip of Bahia Honda Key, at the foot of the Old Bahia Honda Railroad Bridge, on which the beach offers a lovely view.

Calusa Beach - Bahia Honda State Park snorkeling map
Calusa Beach (Bahia Honda State Park) snorkeling map.

Water entrance for snorkeling Calusa Beach

The recommended water entrance is from the eastern end of the beach, near the rocks. Underwater visibility is variable on this spot, and not always good enough for snorkeling.

Calusa Beach snorkeling exploration tips

The Calusa Beach snorkeling area corresponds to the swimming zone marked by buoys. It extends all along the beach, which is around 200 meters long.

Juvenile Sailor's grunt at Bahia Honda
A juvenile Sailor’s grunt.

Calusa Beach features mainly sandy and grassy beds, except to the north of the beach, along the small breakwater that separates the beach from the marina

It’s along these rocks that you’ll see the most fish, in particular, Snappers (mainly Grey snappers, but also other species – see list at bottom of page) and Grunt. Sergeant majors are also easy to spot around isolated rocks.

Grey snapper at Calusa Beach, Bahia Honda
The Grey snapper is one of the most common reef fish at this location.

More occasionally, you may encounter Rainbow parrotfish, Bermuda chub, or Butterflyfish. There’s much less to see in the seagrass meadows, occasionally visited by small grunt and chub.

Underwater visibility can be poor at Calusa Beach, due to suspended particles in the water at certain times of the year.

Two Fanworms noted in the rocks.

If the sea is calm, you’ll find better snorkeling at Loggerhead Beach, which edges the southern shores of Bahia Honda Key.

Restaurants and accommodations nearby

There’s a snack bar and dive shop next to the parking. Masks and snorkel rentals are available.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaBahia Honda State Park
  • Maximum depth6 feet/2 meters
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardYes
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costs$8 per car (2 to 8 people), $4.5 for single-occupant vehicles, and $2.5 per pedestrian and bicycle
  • Restaurants nearbySmall snack near the car park
  • Public toilets & showersYes

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.