WELCOME TO HONEYMOON ISLAND & CALADESI ISLAND STATE PARK IN FLORIDA




Discover the paradise of Honeymoon Island State Park in Florida & Caladesi Island State Park – one of the best-kept secrets in Florida with pristine beaches, a lot of nature, hiking trails, and even one of the best dog beaches in the country. This is a one-stop guide, prepared by a local, with all you need to explore Honeymoon Island & Caladesi Island as the locals do: Top 10 things to do, where to eat, best accommodation options, how to get there, and much more!

Florida is a vacation paradise and Honeymoon Island State Park and Caladesi Island are some of the best-kept secrets and considered among Florida’s Top things to do

Here is the place I have been calling home for the past 15 years of my life – if you want to meet me, just visit Honey Moon Island on Sunday morning. 

Yes, I know! I live where people vacation. And now you are about to know everything about this paradise in Florida and learn from a local how to better explore Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island State Parks. 

Besides the sweet and romantic name, Honeymoon Island is a great place to visit not only for couples but also for families and outdoor adventure lovers and is considered one of the prettiest islands in Florida – along with Anna Maria Island in Florida.

This paradise in Florida is a natural barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico, with 4-miles of pristine beaches with white sand, and it offers natural trails and abundant wildlife

I am about to share with you some great tips on how to enjoy Honeymoon Island State Park’s beauty, solitude, and nature as the locals do. 

I hope you enjoy this guide and safe travels!

Honeymoon Island Florida Guide

WHERE IS HONEYMOON ISLAND STATE PARK FLORIDA

The 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 the Caladesi Island, State Park.

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 of Hurricane Pass. It was in the mid-1500s when the Spanish explorers first surveyed this coast. 

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

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

To make it easier, Honeymoon 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 HONEYMOON ISLAND STATE PARK FLORIDA

You reach Honeymoon Island State Park via the 2.5 miles long Dunedin Causeway. The causeway offers scenic views of St. Joseph Sound and there is free parking all along with it. It is also a popular place where the locals enjoy fishing, exercise, and launching a jet-ski or kayaks. 

  • BICYCLE: You can rent a bicycle and take the Pinellas Trail all the way to Honeymoon Island. You can spend the day exploring the Island, riding on paved trails.
  • WALKING: The Dunedin Causeway is also a very popular place to go for jogging, run or walk your dog
  • DRIVING: Honeymoon island is connected to the mainland by a causeway and it can be reached by taking SR 586 from Dunedin across the causeway out to the island. Dunedin is located about 25- minutes north of Clearwater Beach in the Tampa Bay area on Florida’s west coast. 

If you decide to rent a car from a reliable source. To get the best service and rates in the market check RentlCars.com. If you have your own car it is the fastest, most practical, and cheapest way to get to Angra dos Reis.

Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island Florida

HOW TO VISIT HONEYMOON ISLAND STATE PARK FLORIDA

  • Honeymoon Island State Park location: Causeway Boulevard – Dunedin, Florida 34698 – (727) 469-5942
  • Hours: The Honeymoon Island State Park is open from 8 a.m. until sunset, 365 days a year
  • Entry Fees: There is an $8 per vehicle or $4 for a single-occupant vehicle and $2 for a bicycle 
  • Picnic Pavilion Rental: $30 per day, plus tax
  • Parking: It has very ample parking and there is no additional fee
  • Asset: Bathrooms and a cafe inside the park, serve meals from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., they offer beer, wine, and other beverages. I recommend a pancake breakfast that is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 8-10:30 a.m. 
  • Alcohol: It is not allowed, but you can purchase it at the Cafe Honeymoon
  • Pets: It is allowed at the Pet Beach, but dogs must be on a 6-foot leash.
  • Showers: Located near the boardwalks leading out to the main beach areas.
  • Accessible Amenities: These amenities include elevated boardwalks to the beach and beach wheelchairs available for free.

BEST HOTEL AT HONEYMOON ISLAND STATE PARK FLORIDA

If you are planning to visit Honeymoon 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:

honeymon island accommodations

GREAT VALUE IN DUNEDIN

BEYOND THE WALL B& B is an amazing accommodation option with an immaculate room. The location is perfect. Outside of the downtown, but easy walking distance. Breakfast is filling and delicious. Bed and pillows are so comfortable.”

honeymoon islands florida hotel

CLOSEST TO HONEYMOON ISLAND

MERANOVA GUEST INN is located very close to the Dunedin Marina, with an outdoor swimming pool and bar and stunning views. This Bed & Breakfast has continental and a la cart breakfast and rooms with a terrace.

LUXURY OPTION

WYNDHAM GRAND CLEARWATER BEACH is located at the stunning Clearwater Beach and the rooms have an ocean view. Here you can enjoy an amazing outdoor pool with outstanding views.

Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island State Park in Florida

WHERE TO EAT IN HONEYMOON ISLAND STATE PARK, 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 are, 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. 
Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island State Park in Florida

BEST TOUR OPTIONS WHEN VISITING HONEYMOON ISLAND STATE PARK

There are plenty of awesome activities to explore around Honeymoon Island. You can find great options for a trip with a family, a couple, or solo – there is an adventure for everyone. Check my top pick 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. 

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN HONEYMOON ISLAND STATE PARK IN FLORIDA

Honeymoon Island has access from the mainland, just over the Dunedin Causeway. It is actually my favorite place to enjoy the beaches around the Clearwater area, as it is less touristy and it offers a large variety of activities, besides, of course, amazing and pristine beaches to enjoy.

Check out some of the many activities you can do in Honeymoon Island State Park:

1) Go hiking on Honeymoon Island State Park

There is a great hiking trail on Honeymoon Island, the Osprey Trail. You can hike for 2.5 miles of walking while observing some of the local nature, such as birds, owls, raccoons, and also one of the few remaining South Florida virgin slash pine along the way.

I highly recommend you to have tons of bug spray with you, as the mosquitoes on this trail are the largest and hungriest I’ve ever seen. 

Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island State Park in Florida hiking trail

2) Paddling and explore the sorrundings

You are allowed to bring your own kayak or paddleboard to Honeymoon Island State Park. Explore the shore of the island, or you can also go to Caladesi Island on a short distance paddling. If you don’t have your own, you can rent it easily at the Dunedin Causeway. 

3) Bicycling in Honeymoon Island

You can explore Honeymoon Island State Park by bicycle, riding on great paved trails throughout the island. Please note that helmets are highly recommended for cyclists. If you don’t have your own, you can rent a bicycle 

Beaches at the Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island State Park in Florida

4) Picnic at Honeymoon Island

There is a picnic area inside the Honeymoon Island State Park, located on the Northern end of the island. You can find picnic tables, 2 covered pavilions, restrooms, and barbecue grills. There is a playground area next to the picnic area. 

5) You can get married at Honeymoon Island

You can also get married at Honeymoon Island – and what a beautiful place for this to tying the knot!

Weddings are a regular thing on Honeymoon Island; we can see often signs guiding guests to the right ceremony or chairs being set up for the event.  You may even catch one in progress during your visit to Honeymoon island!

Restaurants at Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island State Park in Florida

6) Swimming in Honeymoon Island

Honeymoon Island has approximately 4-miles of shoreline and if you are a beach lover, you will find a variety of areas designated for swimming on the main beach, a pet beach on the South end, and a great shelling and walking on the North end, which turns into a sand spit.

You will need to pay attention to the Warning flags signs posted at the welcome station and on the beaches, as these flags indicate the swimming conditions at the beach. 

Pristine beaches at the Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island State Park in Florida

7) Visit the Rotary Centennial Nature Center

The center has a great viewing deck that looks out over Saint Joseph Sound and is a wonderful observation spot to watch the birds at low tide as they come in to feed.

The staff on hand at the center are very knowledgeable and can give you whatever information you are looking for on the animal and plant species that are found on the island. Ranger-led walks are also available, and you can inquire in the nature center for availability and schedules.

8) Walking and Running

One of my favorite outdoor activities is to go for a run or walk my dogs on the Dunedin Causeway all the way to Honeymoon island. You can also run or take your dog on the Osprey Trail and four miles of beach.

Honeymoon Island beaches

9) Wildlife Viewing

Honeymoon Island State Park is home to many actively nesting birds including osprey, oystercatchers, snowy plovers, and least terns. Roseate spoonbills, snowy egrets, great blue herons, and many other species are often observed feeding in the bay, beaches, and estuaries surrounding the park. Gopher tortoises and armadillos can be found in the picnic area and along the nature trail. It is also common to see dolphins and don’t be surprised if you see a manatee very close to the shore. 

Wildlife at the Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island State Park in Florida

10) Watch the sunset at Honeymoon Island

If you are visiting the area, it is worth it to come to Honeymoon island to watch the sunset, it is just another fantastic thing to do while you are in the area. The sunsets at Honeymoon Island are as epic as any you’ll find on Florida’s Gulf Coast – pinks, purples, blues, and oranges swell and fade like breathing watercolors as the blazing ball of sun descends. 

Sunset at Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island State Park in Florida

HONEYMOON ISLAND BEACH FL

HONEYMOON ISLAND MAIN BEACH

This is the most popular beach on Honeymoon Island and it is very rocky and is popular for shelling. From this beach, you can look across Hurricane pass and see Caladesi Island and Clearwater Beach.

HONEYMOON ISLAND MAIN BEACH

Further north of the island the beach turns to a white sand beach again. The furthest northern beach access is where all the rubble is–leftover from a failed attempt to enlarge the island back in the 1950s. The material that was dredged up and dumped on the shoreline contained large amounts of limestone rubble. They cover up the rubble with sand every now and then, but it soon washes away.

HONEYMOON ISLAND PET BEACH

Honeymoon Island is also the favorite place in the world for Pingo and Cooper, my dogs. Yes! There is an amazing dog beach here! They have their own beach at Honeymoon Island, and it sounds like heaven on earth to spend time with my puppies at this gorgeous place. This is the most beautiful beach on Honeymoon Island in my opinion, and it is nearly empty too. 

Dog beach at the Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island State Park in Florida
Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island State Park in Florida

HOW TO VISIT CALADESI ISLAND (INSIDER’S TIPS)

Caladesi Island State Park is a wild oasis, with a tranquil shoreline and pristine beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. 

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 cristal water, 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 enjoying nature. There is no hotel or restaurants here, but you can find restrooms and even a little place to get snacks.

Kayaking at the Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island State Park in Florida

This well-preserved island has 3-miles of nature trails and 3-miles of kayak trails for you to explore the mangrove forest where the water averages only 2 to 5 feet deep and the grass is protected.

Caladesi Island has also rich wildlife and it is also 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.

In the clear water, you can spot playful dolphins, horseshoe crabs, life shells, and stingrays. Occasionally manatees, and hundreds of species of fishes, what make this sanctuary a paradise for the local wildlife, and also, for us to visit it.

Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island State Park in Florida
Honeymoon Island Caladesi Island State Park in Florida

HOW TO GET TO CALADESI ISLAND FROM HONEYMOON ISLAND

There are different ways to get to Caladesi Island, but my favorite, and what I recommend is by kayak.

  • KAYAK: 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.
  • FERRY: Another option is to take a ferry 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.
  • WALKING:  Another alternative to the ferry or kayak is exploring Caladesi Island by walking north on Clearwater Beach. Where Caladesi was once a separate island, a few years ago, sand deposits connected it to Clearwater Beach.  Note that there’s 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. 
  • BOAT: 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. 

GUIDELINES FOR CALADESI ISLAND STATE PARK

  • First thing first, never forget to be a Responsible Traveler. 
  • Hours are 8 AM until sunset, 365 days a year.  
  • No pets are allowed on the beach.
  • Swimming, fishing, boating, and fires are allowed in designated areas only. 
  • Fireworks and hunting are prohibited. 
  • Alcoholic beverage consumption is allowed in designated areas only. 
  • Caladesi Island Kayak rentals are available.
  • There is a picnic area, playground, restrooms, a Caladesi Cafe, and showers available on the island. 

TRAVEL INSURANCE: SIMPLE & FLEXIBLE

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!

FINAL THOUGHTS ON HONEYMOON ISLAND STATE PARK

What a great place I chose to call “home”- Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island in Florida are 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 Honeymoon Island & Caladesi Island and enjoy this paradise in Florida.  

I hope you find this guide helpful, and don’t forget to check the Resources section below to make your trip to Honeymoon Island & Caladesi Island easy, fun, and safe. 

And don’t forget the most important ingredient for any trip through Honeymoon Island and Caladesi island – a spirit of adventure.

WHAT IS NEXT?

If you are planning to visit Honeymoon Island & Caladesi Island State Park, pre-planning, research, and understanding what you are looking for will help make your visit far more successful and safe. Here is some further information you may enjoy:

Honeymoon Island & Caladesi Island Florida

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2 thoughts on “How to Explore Honeymoon Island State Park in Florida + Tips from a Local (2021)

  1. PATRICIA MARTINELLI FERNANDES says:

    O que mais aperta o peito hoje é a ideia de tirar férias e não poder viajar. Meus planos se tudo estivesse bem era ir para a Flórida e hoje vejo a gama de excelentes opções de passeios e viagens dentro deste maravilhoso Estado Americano. Com certeza entrará para minha lista de opções após ver este ótimo trabalho Paula. Parabéns.

    • Paula Martinelli says:

      Sim concordo. Essa fase esta bem dificil. Eu cancelei todas minhas viagens e sonhos nesse periodo. Sempre sera bem vinda na Florida, e tem muito aqui a ser explorado.

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