A windswept sentinel off the coast of Dunedin at the edge of Clearwater Harbor, Caladesi Island enthralls visitors with its remoteness, its quiet beaches, its extensive forests and mangrove swamps.
Fees: $4-8 to park at Honeymoon Island State Park plus $14 per adult for the ferry. $2 per person if you walk in from Clearwater Beach
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
To get there takes some effort. You can kayak the placid waters of St. Joseph Sound from the Dunedin causeway, floating through Hurricane Pass to land on the shore, or ease your private boat up the mangrove-lined channels and into the 99-slip marina. Or do as the majority of visitors do: take the Caladesi Island Connection, a 20 minute ferryboat ride from Honeymoon Island, which departs daily on the hour, weather permitting. You can also walk up from Clearwater Beach along the sandy strand for several miles to the park entrance; Dunedin Pass is filled with sand, so Caladesi is now connected to its sister barrier island.
Once you’re there, accessible boardwalks lead up and over the dunes to the untrammeled beach. But for the adventuresome explorer, the beach is only one aspect of this island. A series of hiking trails interconnect for nearly 3 miles through a variety of habitats, including a virgin pine forest and a mangrove swamp, ideal places for birding.
Explore the park
- Caladesi Island Trail - Protecting a windswept shoreline and a variety of habitats on a barrier island, Caladesi Island State Park is one of the gems of the Florida State Parks system