An offshore getaway accessible by car, bike, or paddle, Honeymoon Island State Park offers white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, which keeps it busy on weekends. The northern portion of the island, upland pine forests fringed with mangroves, hosts colonies of ospreys and pelicans nesting.
Fees: $4-8 per vehicle, $2 bicyclists and pedestrians
Open: 8 AM to sunset
Leashed pets welcome except on the main beach; there is a special pet beach at the south end of the island, near the ferry dock.
With its sun-dappled shores north of Clearwater, the name “Honeymoon Island” evokes a romantic getaway. Thank Madison Avenue: a 1940s ad in Life magazine offered a week in paradise on “Honeymoon Island,” where visitors enjoyed the languid seaside life from the doorsteps of their tropical thatched bungalows. And thus a giant hog farm became a destination. The only way to the island was by boat until the 1960s, so little of it became developed.
When the city of Dunedin donated its beaches to the state in 1982, most of the former Hog Island became Honeymoon Island State Park. Protecting 22 acres of sandy strand, these sun-dappled shores are a huge draw for nearby residents; the park will close when parking capacity has been reached.
This is the launch point for the ferryboat to nearby Caladesi Island State Park, as well as an important nesting ground for osprey and pelicans. Both can be seen along the extensive trail system at the northern tip of the park.
Explore the park
- Osprey Trail - On this barrier island just north of Clearwater Beach, the Osprey Trail at Honeymoon Island State Park offers a close-up look at a rookery of “sea eagles,” the noble osprey
- Osprey watching at Honeymoon Island - It's an easy walk out to the osprey nesting grounds on Honeymoon Island, and an unforgettable experience.