• Wed. Nov 16th, 2022

The beach scene, the beach access, the ferry from Caladesi island

ByJean A. Francis

Feb 20, 2018


Beach scene

Most of the beach goers here are laid back, with lots of locals and families, although you can still find the odd bluetooth speaker screaming on the sand.

Keep in mind that the beach itself can be quite thin and rocky, with lots of limestone overlying the sand, a remnant of past dredging. The beach is fed by sand pumped from the pass, but it gets washed away regularly and needs to be redone.

The park is basically split in two, with the southern end open for sunbathing and picnicking, and the northern end reserved primarily for hiking and other outdoor activities.

As a state park, the Florida Park Service offers a a wealth of information on its site, including a section describing state park rules.

Be aware that alcohol is only allowed in designated areas, not on the beaches themselves.

ACCESS

There is only one entrance to the park, which is open from 8:00 a.m. to sunset every day of the year.

The Rangers collect an entry fee at a toll booth at the southern end of the island before you are allowed to enter. The cost is $ 8 per car with up to eight people, or $ 4 for a single occupant vehicle. Pedestrians, cyclists, or passengers over the eight-person limit are $ 2 each.

A nature center with interpretive exhibits is right once you’re inside the park.

There is no camping on the island, but a popular pastime is heading to the island to watch the sunset. From an hour before sunset, the park reduces the entrance fee to $ 4 per car, but you must leave after dark.

There are 10 beach access points spread over the available car parks.

NORTH END

The northern part of the island has a lot of sand, but conservation is the key word here.

There are several hiking trails and mangroves for paddling, but no parking or services. The Osprey Trailhead north of the playground stretches for 2.5 miles, offering views of pristine slash pine stands and wildlife.

Dogs on a leash are allowed on the trails. Make sure to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes, which live on the island.

If you get to the northern end of the island along the beach, the rocks thin out considerably. Not everyone is ready to hike with their 3 mile beach gear, however, and there are no services there.

SOUTH END

The south end facing the seafront offers both a north beach and a south beach, each with its own parking lot.

Walking past these lots from the entrance leads you to a playground and picnic area, where lodges are available to rent for $ 30 per day.

Surfers congregate on the North Beach, which has its own public bath. The south beach, more intended for people content to stay on land, offers sanitary facilities and two concession areas.

Dog owners especially enjoy the pet beach at the far south of the island. There is a stake in front of the south parking lot for pet owners to park and walk the half mile to the sand. Dogs must be kept on a 6 foot leash at all times, including on the trail and on the beach. Fishing is also good for this purpose.

PAVEMENT OF DUNEDIN

You may have noticed on the way to the park that the Dunedin Causeway is lined with its own beach, before you even get to the island. This strip of sand on either side of the road is known on some maps as Jetski Beach or Causeway Community Park, but most people just call it Causeway Beach or just Causeway. It is popular with locals and offers some of its own amenities.

If you are looking to save a few bucks to explore St. Joseph Sound and don’t mind the constant hum of traffic, you can try stopping here. There is no admission fee and parking is free, when available. Sunbathing is not the focus here, where the beach caters to the crowds of boats and fishermen.

The waterfront is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and has designated areas for launching motorized and non-motorized watercraft. You can get permission to fish after 11 p.m. by contacting the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and park a boat overnight with a $ 10 license. More details are here.

Caladesi Island Ferry

Just south of the park, across the Hurricane Pass, is Caladesi Island State Park, which frankly offers much better beach conditions than Honeymoon Island. Indeed, Caladesi has surpassed List of the best Dr. Beach in America twice in recent years.

However, there are only two ways to access these sugary sands – you can either take your own boat or take the ferry from Honeymoon Island.

The road to the ferry is on the left just inside the park entrance. There is ample parking at the pier for ferries. This means that you have to pay both the park fee and the price to take the ferry – a round trip of $ 14 for adults and $ 7 for children aged 6 to 12. Children 5 and under are free, and there is a military discount. The ferry service too offers discount coupons on its site.

Two ferries leave from 10 am every half hour from mid-February to mid-September, and every hour the rest of the year. The journey takes about 15 or 20 minutes.

There is a marina, restrooms, and concessions on Caladesi, which we will explore in more detail in future articles on Caladesi Island.

Taking a boat to the island does not necessarily mean a motor boat. Depending on the water conditions, this is a relatively short paddle from Honeymoon Island or the causeway (where kayaks and paddleboards are available for hire) to Caladesi.

Keep in mind that Hurricane Pass can get busy, so make sure the coast is clear before you paddle the waterway. In summer, dozens of boats drop anchor in the pass right by the beach, and the area is very popular with fishermen.

As it is a short distance, people often swim across Hurricane Pass to reach the island. We recommend a lot of caution, as the current in the pass can be quite strong, especially at low tide. We’ll also point out that the area is known for its shark and crab fishing, so you won’t be alone in the water.

More information on the honeymoon island

About the beach, plan your trip, where to park

Where to stay, where to go and events

Water sports and fitness, shopping, and places to eat and drink

Local microbreweries and advice from city dwellers


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