We frequently mention that Bahia Honda State Park in the lower Florida keys is one of our favorite RV places, but we enjoy state parks in general, especially the nine in Florida at which we have stayed. Among those nine we had camped in three of the four options in the Florida Keys (John Pennekamp, Long Key, and Bahia Honda.) The one that had eluded us was Curry Hammock in Marathon, about half way down the overseas highway to Key West. After working the Reserve America system for weeks trying to snag a late cancellation, we finally managed to secure two reservations covering six consecutive days earlier this month.
Wow, so glad we didn’t give up on this one! While Bahia Honda is still our number one FL Keys State Park, Curry Hammock may be our new number two ahead of Long Key. It is very small, only 25 RV/Tent spots total, with two of those taken up by the camp hosts. The sites are some of the best maintained you will find, perfectly level gravel spots with well positioned power and water connections. All sites are on a single wide, paved loop, and are a very short stroll from the Atlantic side ocean.
The beach is quite nice for the FL Keys. Some people have a misperception about the keys, thinking it is filled with nice long sandy beaches. Not so; your thinking of the rest of Florida. The Keys is mostly rocky beaches with a few exceptions, such as in Bahia Honda. Curry Hammock has a mostly sandy beach with almost no wave action, and an extremely shallow grade allowing ankle deep wading out to more than a hundred yards during low tide. Some will not appreciate the heavy presence of sea grass beds and very mucky bottom, but the overall result is a profusion of flora and fauna easily discovered with a short walk out from the shore.
In addition to the millions of snails and hermit crabs, we found lots of upside down jelly fish (non-stinging), and during low tide I actually caught a tiny cow fish and a small blow fish with my bare hands in the tidal flats. The bird life is extensive, with pelicans and herons all over the place.
About the only downside to the beach and water was the significant presence of Portuguese man-o-wars blown up during recent high winds. There were a lot on the beach, but we didn’t see any in the water.
Our timing was excellent for the visit, as we were able to attend the annual Marathon Seafood Festival. Free parking, free transportation from the parking to the event, a reasonable admission fee ($5 per adult,) lots of vendors, live music, and good local seafood: hard to beat.
At least two groups within the park were musicians, and they put on an impromptu concert at the western end of the park. Three young, what I assume to be sisters, opened with a handful of songs before a couple of the men with guitars took over for an hour set or so of mostly old time rock and folk classics.
We also finally got to visit the Marathon Moose Lodge. Something for a separate post, but all RVers should consider joining some sort of association like the Moose or Elks. Aside from civic contributions, they are all over the country and offer social interaction, constant events, and very affordable booze. Some of them even have RV sites, usually dry camping, but still.
We also finally managed to meet up with Jennifer and Deas from Nealys on Wheels, a full time RVing couple that we have followed for more than a year, and whom we narrowly missed while in the panhandle last winter. We had a very short overlap with them when they pulled into Curry Hammock, but long enough to enjoy an evening out, and Pad Kee Meow got to hang with their three dogs the next afternoon.
It wasn’t a perfect stay; we discovered a flat tire the morning of our departure, which took six hours to get replaced, but that’s a story for a different post.
We continued up the road to Long Key State Park, and used the time there to sort out the rest of our March plans. We have everything sorted out in detail through March 15, but are still deciding where to stay after we leave central Florida. Any recommendations for the Gainesville area, as well as back up options for the north east coast of FL should Gamble Rogers not open up for us?