Our last 2 nights in the keys further south - Sunshine Key near Bahia Honda SP

For our last 2 nights in the keys, we headed further south to Sunshine Key. It was hot and muggy our first day; we spent the morning at Bahia Honda and saw dozens of rays and sharks in the water - they were huge! We also stopped in to visit friends from the summer in Maine, Donny and Pat, and Bob and Donna, who are wintering at Sugarloaf KOA. They were building decking around the rental airstreams - really cute! Also, the pool / hot tub area with bar / restaurant were really nice... Bob and Donna were having a soak after a long day working. :-)

On the way home, having past by many times and never stopped (because we always were on our way to Key West), we finally spent some time in the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key. We stopped at Blue Hole where a rock quarry has filled with fresh water to create a very rare fresh water pond (salt water down low, fresh water on top); there are two alligators (another rarity in the keys!) who live there - in this environment which I thought might be too hot for alligators! (In general, Florida Everglades is the furthest south you would find alligators, and also the furthest north you would find crocodiles. I wondered if they placed the gators here, but the lady at the visitor center said no, they got here on their own. As evening approached, the "friendly" Key Deer were everywhere; sometimes called "toy deer", they are small and delicate, average height only 24 - 32". At one time, they numbered less than 50 - they have rebounded due to protection and the creation of the refuge; now there are estimated to be 600 to 800. Now they'll have to find a way to control the population?

Second day, a major cold front had moved in...it was cold, windy, and rainy. We spent the day hanging around Sunshine Key, which was actually much nicer than we expected. Our spot was just one row behind waterfront; also, I found that I prefer the sand / crushed shell surface instead of grass - it seems to be less buggy.  The waterfront sites are HUGE, the size of 3 sites at most parks, and there are lots of seasonals with big thatchroof cabanas and tiki bars, really nice little community. We would most definitely stay here again! Only thing missing is a hot tub...

Our spot at Sunshine Key - water view for half price, not bad!

across from our site at Sunshine Key

The bridge from Ohio Key to Missouri Key

Bahia Honda State Park is the next key down from Ohio Key (where Sunshine Key RV Resort is)

Looking down at the channel from the old rail bridge, Bahia Honda

One of dozens of rays we watched from the bridge

This ray was huge, at least 5-6' wingspan

The water was so clear, these folks in the kayaks had to be seeing a lot - what a blast!

We were seeing dozens of sharks also - some looked like 10 footers!

At Sugarloaf, the "southernmost" KOA, about 20 miles before Key West

Blue Hole in the Key Deer Refuge

Alligator in the keys!

on the viewing platform at Blue Hole

Sunset on Big Pine Key

Key Deer

Catching the last of sunset, back at Sunshine Key

This park has water on 3 sides

Look at the size of these waterfront sites!

Good time to stay out of the water - Portuguese Man o War Jellyfish

windy stormy rainy day

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