A Travellerspoint blog

Days 21, 22, 23 - Florida Keys, Part 1

Bahai Honda State Park, Key West, Funky street art,

sunny 89 °F

Our reservation wasn’t until 3pm at Bahai Honda State Park so we dawdled the morning away at the campground in Key Largo. We had just a 60 mile drive to the park. It was Easter morning and the Keys were full of people. The Key Largo Kampground is a co-op, 165 or so R/V lots that are all owned individually, but managed together. Well over half of the lots have permanent R/V’s on them, some quite elaborate. When the owners are not in residence the R/V can be rented and is managed by the co-op. Some would rent for $250 per night and up in peak season. There are 20+ lots that are vacant and rented out to people like us, passing through. Many of the R/V sites are on a boat slip and your boat can be moored right with your R/V...sweet! Our rate for the vacant site was $65 plus tax, but hey, we did not book in advance and were grateful to find a place when we arrived unannounced the night before. The washrooms were adequate and the facilities were pretty good.

We headed out at close to Noon with plans to do a bit of shopping along the way to refill our fridge. Some stores were closed for Easter Sunday and some were not...it was going to be hit or miss. We did manage to find one open and stocked up, very close to our State Park. Luckily, our site was ready when we arrived. We got the camp set-up and settled in to relax in the now 90 degree heat. Our Canadian constitutions are not handling this increase in temperature well and we have no air conditioning in the boler. Also, our fan is very small, just 4 inches across and pushes little air. So off to K-Mart we go and pick up this little beauty, which is proving to be a life-saver. It has been on constantly since we returned from buying it!



Bahai Honda State Park is full 365 days a year, reservations must be made 11 months in advance and this was the only reservation we made when planning this whole trip. It was the basis for our March 7 departure date. The park is also open to day visitors, from 8am to sunset. When the sun sets, the day visitors leave and the park belongs to the 125 campsite holders. The washrooms and showers are pretty good although there is no laundry and Wifi is only available at the camp store. But the Keys themselves have everything else you could want, plus beautiful scenery and a warm ocean. Kayak rentals, snorkeling tours, etc. are all available for a price. Lots of birds as well, this one is an Ibis:




The heat flattens us out for the first night and most of Monday. We are slowly acclimating as we go about our day. Frequent showers and lots of resting in the shade highlight our first full day in tropical heat. We did go to an outlet store and Jenny bought a light dress for wearing around the park and I bought some light weight shorts and sleeveless T-shirts. We briefly waded in the ocean and the breezes down by the shore helped cool us off. We’ve slept well both nights so far, under our new fan. Internet access is good, but you must wander on down to the camp store to access it. They have picnic tables and power outlets if you need to hook up.

Tuesday, day 23 of the trip, was our first visit to Key West, at the very end of the road. Parking on the street cost $2 an hour and we prepaid $11 to get us to 1:30pm. We had breakfast at Pepe’s, an institution, open since 1909. We arrived at 7:30am and the place had a good crowd, a significant number at the bar, having an eye-opener, we presume. Breakfast was good, but the coffee was just barely OK.

We started our walking tour by heading over to the historical harbour front, where fishermen have been heading out for 350 years. Key West has a permanent population of around 20,000 and probably as much as 100,000 tourists at any one time, depending on the season. It is still very busy there, with this being Spring Break for several areas of the US, so we were not alone. Roosters roam free here in Key West and there are plenty of them, fighting over the very few females we see:


We stopped for a good coffee, iced for Jenny, hot for me and continued our tour heading first for the Southernmost point in the US. People were lined up for pictures with the post, so I just snapped one and Jenny cut out the unknown poser.


Our tour took us to the Hemingway House, where Ernest Hemingway wrote about 70% of his novels. Entrance fee is $13 per person. The house is pretty well done up and the tour guides knowledgeable. One really neat feature is the 6 toed cats. When Hemingway lived there back in the 1930’s he adopted a 6 toed cat from a sea captain. The house is still home to many six toed cats, who have the run of the place. They are very used to the people who come in and are very friendly, not to mention entertaining. The cats are all well maintained. If you have ever read and enjoyed a Hemingway novel, this is the place to go for a splash of Hemingway history. He died in 1961 at the age of 62. Now, in 2016 he has been dead for more than 54 years, but there is still interest in his house in the Keys.



While wandering about we came across a fellow in his front yard. There was a for-sale sign on the house and we asked about prices. His house, plus the one next door were on the market together for $1.5 million. The lots are 25’ x 90’ deep. We saw many closed and boarded up houses in our walk and also a significant number of houses under renovation.

Our lunch was at a Cuban restaurant, our first experience with a Cubana Sandwich. Essentially, it is a bun sandwich with meat, cheese, sauce, grilled in a press and served with french fries. We shared a sandwich and each had a beer before wandering back to our car to begin the 37 mile drive back to the campground. US highway #1, which runs the length of Keys is the only road option and is chock-a-block with traffic all the time. Originally we thought it might be the effect of the Easter weekend, but now, mid week it is still as busy as all get out!

WE came upon some very interesting street fol art: The first one has a note in the window saying "out of gas, be back in 20 minutes"




We will be heading back to Key West, only our next trip will be in the afternoon, and we will stay for supper and the sunset celebration that takes place on the docks every evening.

Gas prices have been pretty good on the trip. We have paid the equivalent of about $0.50 a liter for gasoline since leaving home. The low has been $0.42 in Jersey City and the high of $0.54 a liter here in the Keys.

Shortly after we got back to the campground we got to experience a Thunderstorm...it lasted 45 minutes, brought over 2 inches of rain and took down our awning and soaked everything that was outside the boler...wow, just imagine a hurricane with this going on for 24 or more hours.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 06:25

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Wow, looks nice there. Next time you see the thunder clouds gathering you'll be battening down the hatches!

by Mary Klimek

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