Imagine a pristine Florida island before the existence of homes, condominiums, crowded beaches, traffic and parking lots. Got a picture? If not, let us help. At one time, Florida’s barrier islands were fringed with miles and miles of glistening white sandy beaches and surrounded by bluish-green water. Add native flora and fauna, tropical birds and wildlife, all thriving in their natural habitats. Sound delightful?
If you think those days are gone forever, take comfort – all is not lost. Real Florida awaits you at Caladesi Island State Park. North of Clearwater and south of Tarpon Springs. Caladesi Island is part of the chain of Florida’s coastal barrier islands and is one of the very few remaining in its “natural” state. And here’s the best part – it’s accessible.
The Caladesi Connection, a boat shuttle service at Honeymoon Island State Park, north of Caladesi, runs daily from 10:00am to 4:30pm. Honeymoon Island, once connected to Caladesi, was split by a 1921 hurricane, creating a pass between the two. To get to Honeymoon Island, take the Dunedin Causeway off Alt. Hwy. 19. There’s a nominal park fee to get on the island. Look for the ferry service on your left after passing through the gate. Or if you would rather paddle or sail the half-mile water route between the islands, try a rental (kayaks, sailboats, paddleboards, etc.) from an outfit called Sail Honeymoon, which is on the Dunedin Causeway across from Caladesi, before you get to the park gate. Of course, if you have your own boat, follow Marker #14 and the signs.