Best Beaches

Caladesi Island – A Natural Florida Beach

Three miles of white sand, unspoiled, and natural. An uncrowded beach that can only be reached by boat. Caladesi Island State Park on Florida’s west-central coast, in Dunedin, Florida, is one of the few remaining pieces of quiet untouched beach paradises left in Florida.

No hotels, homes, or even roads, matter a fact other than the restroom facilities, concession area, boardwalks, and boat slips, this Island has nothing but the sand, shells, mangroves, plants, birds, and animals that would naturally inhabit the island.

John and I spent 4 hours (see our advice below) on the Island playing in the Gulf of Mexico, relaxing under an umbrella, and finding beach treasures on the sand. Caladesi Island is known for being one of the best places to find those special shell treasures.

Kayakers can enjoy paddling through two mangrove forest trails, a one-mile trail along the mangrove shore, or a more adventurous 3-mile trail through the mangrove canopy.

There is also a beautiful nature walk through Island Pines and Live Oaks into the Island’s interior where you will find a historic homestead.

Surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joseph Sound, Caladesi Island can only be accessed by boat. If you do not have access to your own boat, kayak, or canoe, then you can reach the Island via the Caladesi Island Ferry that runs out of Honeymoon Island State Park.

The Ferry departs from Honeymoon Island every half hour starting at 10 am weekdays, 9 am weekends, mid-February thru mid-September, hourly the rest of the year. Round trip is $16 per person over 12 years of age and $8.00 per child 6-12, under 6 are free.

Once you disembark at the Caladesi Island marina there is a 5-minute walk on paved walkways and boardwalks to the beach. Beach wheelchairs are available for a fee on a first come first serve bases. Boats are designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities and boat crew will provide assistance to those who require it.

Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island were at one time, one large barrier Island until a major hurricane that struck in 1921, split the island in two. The waterway now between the two Islands is called Hurricane Pass.

Caladesi Island State Park has your basic amenities to enjoy your time there including, a cafe with the usual beach menu, a small gift shop, restrooms, shower, chair & umbrella rental, and kayak rental.

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Boat Camping

You can camp in your boat at the Island’s Marina! Electric and water hookups are provided.

Reservations can be made online at ReserveAmerica or first-come, first-serve in the marina. Fees are $24 per night, plus tax through ReserveAmerica, plus a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee or $1 per foot, plus tax, at the marina. T-Docks are non-reservable and rent for $2 per foot, including tax.

Our Advice

Here are some tips that John and I would like to share to help you best enjoy your time on Caladesi Island

  • There is an $8 entrance fee per car to get onto Honeymoon Island and then add your ferry fee to Caladesi Island. To get your best value plan to spend time on both Islands
  • You are assigned a time for your return ferry trip back from Caladesi Island to Honeymoon Island which allows you only 4 hours to enjoy Caladesi Island. (Last ferry back to honeymoon island departs at 5 pm so if you arrive after 1 pm you will get less than 4 hours.) Use your time wisely.
  • Plan to take only your essentials on your trip over to Caladesi Island. Remember you have to lug whatever you take onto the ferry and then once you arrive on Caladesi Island you have to lug that stuff the 5-minute walk from the ferry to the beach.
  • Pets and alcohol are not permitted on Caladesi Island
  • I would take only like snacks over to Caladesi and plan to picnic on Honeymoon
  • Once back on Honeymoon Island, drive your car from the Ferry launch area all the way down to the end of Honeymoon Island. At the end of Honeymoon Island is where you will find the best beach area and picnic areas. ( the beach area in the middle of honeymoon island is very rocky and hard to walk on and the rocks continue a good way out into the water)
  • If you don’t plan to picnic and want to eat at the cafe’ there is also a cafe’ on honeymoon Island.
  • You may want to apply bug repellent – The ferry dock is in a mangrove area and if you have to wait a few minutes to board you will probably get a bug bite or two.
  • Lastly, I want to add that Caladesi Island is truly an unspoiled natural gorgeous beach and is absolutely worth the expense, effort, and pre-planning that it takes to get there.

Honeymoon Island is located at 1 Causeway Blvd. in Dunedin Florida. Once on Honeymoon Island follow the signs just after the entrance to the Caladesi Ferry Parking area. The ticket booth for the ferry is in that parking area.

The Caladesi Ferry runs every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas as long as the weather permits. There are two ferry boats. Departs Honeymoon Island Docks. Departing Monday thru Friday starting at 10 am and Saturday and Sunday starting at 9 am every half hour. Seasonally and adjusted weather permitting.

Click here to learn more about Honeymoon Island

Click here to learn more about Downtown Dunedin

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