While most people associate warm, tropical islands with luxuriously large stretches of sand, in the Florida Keys beaches are a different story. With their coral rock foundations, the Florida Keys don’t have many naturally occurring sand beaches -- which can come as a shock to some first-time visitors. The ones that exist are very prized, like Bahia Honda State Park beach on Bahia Honda and Fort Zachary Taylor Park beach at Key West. You know another sandy place where you can stop for a swim in warm ocean waters? Henry Harris Park in Tavernier, on the island of Key Largo.
(One of the Florida Keys public beaches: Henry Harris Park. Photo (c) Island Runaways.)
This beach might be tucked away, but it’s worth a visit, whether you’re driving through the Keys and just want to stop off for an afternoon’s dip, or staying in the Upper Keys for a vacation.
(Henry Harris Park, a Key Largo beach. Photo (c) Island Runaways.)
It's an oasis of tranquillity. The way Henry Harris is arranged is with a large rock “groin” that creates a protected tidal pool. Not only is the water usually warm, it’s also very calm, just right for floating on your back in the salt water and letting the rest of the world fade away.
(The chill scene at Henry Harris Park. Photo (c) Island Runaways.)
So here’s how you reach it: at approximately Mile Marker 92.5, turn from the Overseas Highway onto Burton Drive. You’ll meander through a residential neighborhood. Just follow the signs that will take onto Beach Road, where you’ll see the entrance and the park booth where you pay your fee. For non-Keys residents it’s $5.00 a person; young ones (16 years and younger) are free. Boat owners can also put their craft in the water here at a charge of $10.00 per trailer. (Prices may change.)
(The Key Largo beach with the mellow vibe. Photo (c) Island Runaways.)
There are restrooms, barbecue grills, picnic tables, and palm trees. It’s simple, which is sometimes exactly what you want. I’ve stopped by Henry Harris Park in the low season during the week, and practically had the whole beach to myself. Talk about an island escape. This little corner of paradise is one more reason to love the Upper Florida Keys.
Are you a Florida Keys fan? Check out our book about the Middle Keys!