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October 29, 2005
Honeymoon Island is one of the jewels of Florida's state parks system. You take the Dunedin Causeway over to the island, most of which is the state park. The entrance fee is $5 per car - well worth it.
The beaches are delightful, with plenty of parking, although the middle of the beach is often crowded. Be smart and head off toward the north end, where you can walk a ways and practically have a whole stretch of beach to yourself. The small concession area has a fantastic "breakfast on the beach" on Saturday mornings, with reasonably priced, great food, and you can't beat the view!
Honeymoon Island also has great trails--just follow the main road north and you'll run into them. You probably want to visit the trails during fall, winter, or spring, because during the summer, the trails can be oppressively hot. You'll see lots of wildlife: last time I took the trail, I saw a very large snake.
Probably my favorite part of Honeymoon Island is the FANTASTIC dog beach. The south end of the island is reserved for dogs, and contrary to what you might think, it's not an ugly, trashy part of the beach. In fact, I think it's the prettiest part of the island, with lots of white sand and great views. I believe they reserved this part for the dogs because it is closest to the boating channel: since dogs have to be on leashes, it's not as though they will swim out the 100 yards or so into the channel. Lots of non-dog owners frequent this beach to watch the dogs frolicking in the water. They've even got a doggy shower station so you can rinse off your pup when you're done.
From journal Fantastic Getaway to Tampa/Clearwater/St. Pete
August 19, 2003
From journal Sun and Fun in St. Pete Beach
February 8, 2002
Looking for a quiet, pristine beach on with sugar fine sand? Pass up the crowded beaches for Honeymoon Island State Park & Caladesi Island, voted one of the top 10 U.S. beaches by "Dr. Beach".
Honeymoon Island was a link in the chain of barrier islands that extends from Anclote Key south to Cape Romano. In 1921, a hurricane split the island, forming Hurricane Pass and Caladesi Island to the south.
Americans got their first glimpse of Honeymoon Island in the early 1940's through newsreels and magazine ads which promised undiscovered pleasures for newlyweds. The palm-thatched bungalows, or cottages, sub-tropic climate and balmy breezes seemed perfect.
Visitors can observe one of the few remaining Florida virgin slash pine stands along the island's northern loop trail. These large trees serve as important nesting sites for the osprey. Other important coastal plant communities include mangrove swamps, seagrass beds, salt marshes, tidal flats, and sand dunes. Honeymoon Island has more than 208 species of plants and a variety of shore birds, including several threatened and endangered species.
Visitors can enjoy sunbathing or swimming in the warm Gulf waters, and pass fish.
The park boasts several nature trails, and bird observation areas. It also boasts the only "pet beach" in the state, so bring your furry, water loving friend.
For more information contact:
Honeymoon Island State Recreation Area
c/o Gulf Islands Geopark
# 1 Causeway Blvd
Dunedin, Florida 34698
Since this is a state park, there is a small admission fee and alcoholic beverages are not permitted.
CALADESI ISLAND STATE PARK
For serenity and seclusion, Caladesi Island State Park is ideal. One of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands in the state, shore birds and sea turtles build their nests undisturbed among the dunes. Accessible by ferry from Honeymoon Island, weather permitting. The ferry departs hourly. For additional ferry information call (727) 734-5263.
Fishing, shelling and nature studies are ways to enjoy a visit to Caladesi. Boaters can enjoy the 99 slip bayside marina. Some facilities and activities are accessible to the handicapped.
From journal Tampa Bay Treasures