Dunedin >Caladesi Island State Park
Wonderful - will go back someday!. Family & I were in Orlando for a vacation & decided to drive to Tampa Bay to visit a friend of mine. She suggested we visit this 'natural state park beach'. It was five days into our visit and we exhausted and when we woke up the planned morning we did not want to go! We wanted to see her, but thought 'natural state park beach? How boring!'. But, we had promised, so off we went (90 minute drive from Orlando). To our surprise, this was the BEST day we had there!! We rode the ferry from Honeymoon State Park and just loved every minute of it!! We all waded in the water (the only four on the beach to do so in January-LOL-that's what happens when you put Minnesotans in Florida! Not much is too cold to us!). And all of us searched the sand for shells - they were plentiful! It was great fun to wade into the waves, have them push at your feet and watch the water for a good shell and try to grab it before it got pulled away by the outgoing waves (only seconds!). We managed to find three perfect ones and one slightly damaged one. None of my family seen the ocean before and really reveled in it! We ate some lunch at the concession stand & I picked up a great photo album in the gift shop that displays the photos from the entire trip! We were bummed when we had to leave after only 3 hours. My friend then took us to a restaurant she loved on Clearwater Beach and we watched the sunset - wonderful! It was the greastest day! I remember it fondly to this day (especially in the winter months-LOL!) and will visit again someday! I have recommended it to a couple of people who were traveling in the area, but none have gone yet. I think they think what I originally thought - 'a natural state park beach? How boring'!! Oh, but how SO untrue! One day I will get one of them to go there and they will come back and thank me for it!
This is a free park!. Although it's true that you can access the island via the ferry service, and subsequently pay several dollars for parking and entry at Honeymoon Island State Park (not Caledesi) and then pay for the ferry ride to Caledisi, there is a free option, other than boating in, that many people know nothing about. If you don't mind a little exercise then you can choose to park on the North end of Clearwater beach and hike the 2 miles onto the island. This is, honestly, one of the most beautiful beach hikes that I have ever been on. Once on the island you can search for trail markers along the dunes and find where the Caledisi nature trail ends (or begins on this journey).
Car Parking. I noticed the $2.00 car parking, just wanted to let everyone know that there are NO cars on Caladesi. You must pay the $5.00 per car park fee and the $8.00 ferry fee or arrive by personal boat. Otherwise it is one of the most beautiful state parks in Florida!
Caladesi. Lovely island park, but it is not a "free" attraction. Check Florida State Park website to note cost of entering the state park area, parking and ferry to the island. It can cost nearly $15 per person. It is well worth the price, but shouldn't be under this heading.
One of the state's last undeveloped barrier islands, you'll feel a million miles away from civilization..
Comprised of six islands with 650 upland acres and more than 1,800 acres of mangroves and grass flats, the park was opened to the public in 1972. Caladesi Island itself came into being in 1921, after a vicious storm created Hurricane Pass and carved it out from Hog Island.
Exploring the natural offerings is the best way to experience Caladesi. Long stretches of unspoiled, sugary white sands, swaying sea oats, lush mangrove forests and sturdy palm hammocks beckon visitors to fish, collect shells or hike. Pack your own lunch and enjoy it at the picnic pavilions, or take advantage of the limited concessions. The island has covered pavilions, bathhouses, restrooms and a picnic area.
Private Oasis. Escape to the beach. Caladesi has a shuttle to honeymoon beach, the only was to get there! The beach is beautiful and private. There is a snack/shop on the island along with bathrooms, however, you feel like a "shipwrecked survivor". Everything is in the natural state, you the sand, the water and the breeze! It has never been too crowded whenever I have gone so you really can feel like a castaway. The shuttle ride makes it an adventure island! Designed by nature, a must for anyone and everyone to experience. Cheryl New Hampshire
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