How To Visit Caladesi Island State Park in Florida, according to a Local!

If you are wondering how to visit Caladesi Island State Park in Florida you are in the right place. Here is my backyard, and the place to choose to call home. I am here now to share all my best inside tips about this paradise in Florida, and learn from a local how to better explore Caladesi Island State Park!

Considered a real gem in Florida, with pristine beaches and unspoiled nature, Caladesi Island is also considered one of the best beaches in America, and for a reason. Yes, I know! I live where people vacation. And even better, when you visit Caladesi Island, you cannot skip visiting the Honeymoon Island State Park – I will explain here how to take full advantage of your visit.

This is absolutely the best guide you can find on the web on how to explore Caladesi Island in Florida, and here I cover pretty much everything you need to know to make your visit memorable. So without any further ado, let’s discover the very best of Caladesi Island State Park in Florida.

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Caladesi Island State Park

Caladesi Island State Park Overview

Caladesi Island State Park is a wild oasis, with a tranquil shoreline and pristine beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. Located three miles offshore from Dunedin, just north of Clearwater Beach. It is one of the few undeveloped barrier islands left in the United States, the 600-acre State Park is accessible only by boat or kayak.

The beach is the main reason people visit Caladesi Island, it stretches for 4-miles from the North tip of the Island to Dunedin Pass. The beach is pristine, with crystal water, and white sands, surrounded by nature, and framed with the blue sky almost all year long. 

This is just an island for you to visit, or spend a nice day with your family or enjoy nature. There is no hotel or restaurant here, but you can find restrooms and even a little place to get snacks.

But before we jump into the amazing things to do in Caladesi Island State Park, let’s review some practical information:

LOCATION: Offshore island – Dunedin FL 34698 – 727-469-5918
HOURS: Hours are 8 AM until sunset, 365 days a year.  
ENTRY FEE: The boat fee is $6 per boat. You can buy online the single-use day pass admission ahead of your visit.
PICNIC PAVILION RENTAL: Picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are two picnic pavilions available to rent. Contact the ranger station at 727-469-5918 to reserve a pavilion
ASSET: There is a picnic area, playground, restrooms, a Caladesi Cafe, and showers available on the island. 
ALCOHOL: Alcoholic beverage consumption is allowed in designated areas only. 
PETS: Pets are not allowed on the beach at any time. They are permitted in the rest of the park as long as they are on a six-foot hand-held leash and must be under the owner’s control at all times. Pets are not allowed on the ferry to Caladesi Island
ACCESSIBLE AMENITIES: ADA-accessible restroom facilities are available at the park.
Caladesi Island State Park

Where is Caladesi Island State Park, Florida?

Located in the Gulf of Mexico, Caladesi Island State Park is west of Dunedin, Florida, and just north of the very popular Clearwater Beach. Whether you’re wanting to take a short day trip or looking to make it a multi-day camping and hiking expedition, Caladesi State Park is a great choice.

The two islands – Honeymoon Island and Caladesi  Island were once part of a single barrier island, and during the hurricane of 1921, they were split in half, getting the name Hurricane Pass. It was in the mid-1500s when the Spanish explorers first surveyed this coast. 

Honeymoon Island State Park is connected to the city of  Dunedin on the mainland by a 1.5-mile-long man-made causeway, right to the park entrance, and from there you can take a ferry or rent a kayak and go visit Caladesi Island, State Park.

If you are driving, you reach Honeymoon Island State Park via the 2.5 miles long Dunedin Causeway – Use this address on the GPS:  1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698 – Phone information: 727-469-5918 – OFFICIAL WEBSITE

Combined, both islands have nearly a thousand acres of coastal wilderness to be explored. You can also take a day tour from Orlando with a speed boat

To make it easier, Caladesi Island State Park driving distance from the major cities:

  • ⇒ Clearwater: 8.3 miles – 18 min
  • ⇒ Tampa: 29.1 miles – 44 min
  • ⇒ St. Petersburg: 29.2 miles – 44 min
  • ⇒ Orlando: 112.3 miles – 2 hours
  • ⇒ Miami: 294 miles – 4:30 hours

How to Get to Caladesi Island Florida?

There are different ways to get to Caladesi Island, but my favorite, and what I recommend is by bringing your own or renting a kayak at the Dunedin Causeway and paddling to Caladesi island, park your kayak at the shore and explore the island on foot. But here you can find all the details on how to get to Caladesi Island:

Kayak to Caladesi Island State Park

If you have your own kayak, paddleboard, or boat, you can visit Caladesi Island from Honeymoon Island – it is short and easy paddling. If you don’t have your own, you can rent a kayak, stand-up board, or a sailboat on the Dunedin Causeway and it is a short 15 minutes to the island from here. In fact, Caladesi Island is one of the best State Parks in Florida to go kayaking.

When you rent your kayak or if you are taking your own, be aware that you will need to cross the boat channel, so make sure you are aware and safe. You can also take your kayak from Honeymoon Island and paddle about 15 minutes to Caladesi Island.

Be aware that you may see some dolphins or even manatees along the way and enjoy nature and the views!

Caladesi Island State Park
Ferry to Caladesi Island State Park

Another option is to take a ferry to Caladesi Island State Park from Honeymoon Island State Park or even wade over Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach. The ferries begin running at 10:00 a.m. every day, with numerous returns and departures, and you can stay on the island for 4 hours.

The round-trip is $16 per adult and $8 per kid from 6-12 years. You also need to pay the entrance fee to the Honeymoon Island State Park which is between $2 and $4 per adult.

Walking to Caladesi Island State Park

Another alternative to the ferry or kayak is exploring Caladesi Island by walking north on Clearwater Beach. This is not the official way to enter the island, and I haven’t personally done it.

Where Caladesi was once a separate island, a few years ago, and deposits connected it to Clearwater Beach for over 2 miles.  If you decide to walk, you will need to pass some scratchy trees, and depending on the tides, you will probably need to get in the water.

There is no public parking at the north end of Clearwater beach, you’ll need to either arrive by bicycle and lock up at a northern beach-access point or walk several miles on the beach. The walking is close to 3 miles and takes approximately 90 minutes. 

Private Boat to Caladesi Island State Park

There is no camping at Caladesi Island, but the 108-slip marina is equipped with water and electricity for overnight boat stays. To access by boat from Marker 14 on the Dunedin Causeway Channel, follow the channel markers into the Caladesi Island State Park marina.

Reservations can be made online at ReserveAmerica.com or first-come, first-served in the marina. You will have to pay a $6 entry fee at the marina, and additional charges if you decide to stay overnight.

Top Things to do in Caladesi Island State Park

You can visit Caladesi Island State Park for a few hours, or you can plan to spend the day. Here are the top things you can do during your visit:

NATURE TRAILS: There are great options of things to do in Caladesi Island State Park, such as 3-miles of nature trails where you can observe several species of birds and the local fauna.
KAYAK: There are also a 3-miles of kayak trails for you to explore the Mangrove Kayak Trail where the water averages only 2 to 5 feet deep and the grass is protected. 
BOATING: If you take your own boat to Caladesi Island, you can enjoy the 108-slip bayside marina or you can anchor offshore in the calm waters of the island.
CAMPING BOAT: You have the option to stay overnight. The island has been docked with electric and water hookups. But keep in mind that you must register before sundown. For reservations, visit the Florida State Parks reservations website or call 800-326-3521 or TDD at 888-433-0287
PICNIC: If you are planning to spend the day, you can bring your own food and enjoy the picnic area with the grill, or you can grab a quick snack at the marina house cafe – offering food, souvenirs, and drinks.
SWIMMING: Swimming in Caladesi Island State Park is available in designated areas.
WILDLIFE SANCTUARY: Caladesi Island also has rich wildlife and a bird sanctuary, including ospreys, pink roseate spoonbills, eagles, and hundreds of migratory birds. The interior brush is home to rattlesnakes, and you can also find the endangered gopher tortoises and raccoons.
MARINE WILDLIFE SANCTUARY: In the clear water, you can spot playful dolphins, horseshoe crabs, life shells, and stingrays. Occasionally, manatees and hundreds of species of fish make this sanctuary a paradise for the local wildlife and for us to visit.
Caladesi Island State Park
Caladesi Island State Park
Caladesi Island State Park

Best Accommodations Options Nearby Caladesi Island State Park, FL

If you are planning to visit Caladesi Island State Park and to stay overnight or during the weekend the closest area to stay is in Dunedin, followed by Clearwater –  I have listed the best accommodations options:

COOLEST PLACE: Fenway Hotel, Autograph Collection

Rated: 9.0 Superb

Located in Dunedin and around 2,300 feet from Dunedin Marina and is less than a 10-minute drive to Honeymoon Island. This hotel is cool because it has a rooftop bar and an on-site restaurant and it is a perfect location for a happy hour with a million dollars views of the bay.


honeymoon islands florida hotel

BEST RATED: Meranova Guest Inn

Rated: 9.5 Exceptional

This inn is close to the Dunedin Marina, featuring an outdoor swimming pool, bar, and stunning views. Offering pool or garden views, each unit comes with a kitchen and it is only 3.7 miles to Honeymoon Island.


LUXURY OPTION: Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach

Rated: 8.8 Fabulous

Located in Clearwater Beach, Florida, this hotel is opposite the beach and features an outdoor pool. Honeymoon Island is located 8.7 miles away. The location is fantastic and it is a great option if you are also looking to explore Clearwater Beach.

Caladesi Island State Park

Where to Eat near Caladesi Island, Florida

You can find 2 cafes on Honeymoon Island, and you can buy food and beverage. If you are looking for a nice dinner or a full meal, I have made some recommendations on my favorite restaurants and a close distance from Honeymoon Island:

  • The Cafe Honeymoon – Located directly on the man beach, inside Honeymoon Island.
  • South Beach Pavillion Cafe – Located south of the main beach and adjacent to the Pet Beach. 
  • Frenchy’s outpost – Outside the Island, but located on the Dunedin Causeway, has great food and atmosphere, with a full bar and the famous Grouper sandwich is to die for. 
  • Casa Tina Mexican – Located in downtown Dunedin, this very authentic Mexican restaurant is one of my favorites, whatever you are a meat lover, vegetarian, or vegan the menu has great options. 
Caladesi State Park in Florida

Caladesi Island State Park Nearby Things to do

There are plenty of fantastic activities to explore around Caladesi Island. You can find great options for a trip with a family, a couple, or solo – there is an adventure for everyone. Here are ADDITIONAL AWESOME THINGS TO DO AROUND Caladesi Island State Park:

HONEYMOON ISLAND: It is a must-do if you are visiting Caladesi island, is to spend some time at the next-door Honeymoon Island State Park, just kayak there or take the ferry.

DUNEDIN: It is my favorite town in Tampa Bay Area, and I am sure you will also love this very unique and quaint town featuring Florida’s oldest microbrewery, such as the Dunedin Brewery, and lots of options for great restaurants such as The Living Room, bars, ice cream, and local shops.

PINELLAS TRAIL: With over 25 miles of the rails-to-trails asphalt bike trail covering the entire Pinellas Peninsula runs through Dunedin and closes the Causeway.

CLEARWATER BEACH: The famous white sand and crystal water beach, with great options for restaurants, bars, a waterfront park for the kids, and tons of local shops.

Top Tours for you:

  • Clearwater Sunset Celebration Cruise – I have been a couple of times and really enjoyed it. You can sail the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico while enjoying the magnificent sunset. 
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium – I just love this place and the rescue work they do, visit some of the famous residents, Winter the dolphin star of the Dolphin Tales.
  • Tampa Bay CityPass: With this card, you can see Tampa Bay’s top attractions for 9 consecutive days. 

Travel Insurance for your trip

I never leave my home without travel insurance which is designed to help cover your expenses if something goes wrong on your trip. Things can go wrong, and you don’t want to get stuck paying tons of money if you get sick or have an accident without travel insurance. 

World Nomads Travel Insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover their trip essentials. Especially if you are like me, travel insurance is ideal for adventurous travelers. Travel smarter and safer – You can do your quick quote below and find out how little you can pay for the essential benefit of Travel Insurance for your next trip!

Caladesi Island State Park, FL Conclusion

What a great place I chose to call “home”- Caladesi Island in Florida is among one of the best State Parks in the U.S. 

If you love nature and are looking for a pristine beach area with options for plenty of other activities to keep everyone happy, I really recommend visiting Caladesi Island State Park and enjoying this hidden paradise in Florida.  

Don’t forget to include a visit to Honeymoon Island while you are here, you will love your adventure in this piece of paradise.

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