A gorgeous beachside destination, accessible only by boat, lies only 25 miles from Tampa in Dunedin, Florida. This beautiful Florida state park, Caladesi Island State Park, offers beautiful clear waters and white sandy beaches ideal for swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking and more.
This pristine area is one of the last untouched islands along the Gulf of Mexico; a real paradise according to homesteader Myrtle Scharrer Betz’s journals. She and her family lived on the island during the late 1800s.
Nearby Honeymoon Island State Park has 4 miles of white sandy beaches and one of the last remaining virgin slash pine forests. Visitors enjoy exploring the trails by foot or mountain bike in addition to their time spent at Caladesi Island.
Whether you plan to visit the island for a day or stay overnight in your boat you’ll enjoy every minute of your time spent in this peaceful and serene location. As you escape to this secluded island paradise you’ll feel as though you have taken a step back in time.
Getting here is part of the fun: An hourly ferry service from Honeymoon Island provides access to Caladesi Island State Park. Once on the island guests enjoy collecting shells, exploring the nature trails by foot or kayak, fishing, swimming and picnicking along the beach.
Guided tours of Myrtle Scharrer Betz’s 19th century homestead are also offered so that guests may learn more about this pioneering woman, her family and the nature and history of the island.
Visit the new Caladesi Discovery Center, a three-story building with an open-air observation tower that looks out over the park. Stop into the Caladesi Cafe for a bit to eat and pick up a few souvenirs to remember your visit. The park’s concession also carries beach supplies, snacks, and rentals (kayaks, beach chairs and umbrellas).
Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Caladesi Island State Park:
Boating at Caladesi Island State Park
Kayak along the 3 mile mangrove trail and experience the lush and shady mangrove tunnels along Caladesi Island. Kayak rentals are available through the park’s concession. The park also features a 108-slip bayside marina with overnight docking for guests traveling by boat.
Swimming at Caladesi Island State Park
Swim in the beautiful waters along the soft white sandy beaches inside Caladesi Island State park. Please pay close attention to the park’s warning flag system as it indicates daily swimming conditions.
Hiking at Caladesi Island State Park
The easy 3 mile nature trail loops, the Beach Loop and Hammock Loop, winds along the sandy beach and through the lush hammock. Breathtaking views of the water, birds and other wildlife, such as diamondback rattlesnakes and gopher tortoises, may be seen along these trails.
Fishing at Caladesi Island State Park
Pick up a Florida fishing license before heading out to the park. Caladesi Island State Park’s designated fishing areas offer ideal conditions for catching trout, redfish, flounder, snapper, whiting, sheepshead and snook.
Birding at Caladesi Island State Park
Caladesi Island State Park lies along the Great Florida Birding Trail. Guests can pick up a bird guide at the Visitor Center and discover many species during their visit. Some commonly seen within the park are snowy egrets, great blue herons, American oystercatchers, snowy plovers and roseate spoonbills.
Nature and Wildlife at Caladesi Island State Park
Nature and wildlife are everywhere inside Caladesi Island State Park from the pristine white beaches, coastal strand, maritime hammock, live oak trees, cabbage palms, pine flatwoods, and mangroves. You’ll see armadillos, turtles, snakes, raccoons, birds and sea life during your visit.
Pets at Caladesi Island State Park
Well-behaved pets are allowed in designated areas within Caladesi Island State Park. Pets are not permitted inside any park buildings or on the beach; they are also not allowed on the ferry. Pets must be supervised and kept on a handheld leash no longer than 6 feet long.
Camping at Caladesi Island State Park
Planning to travel through the islands aboard your own vessel? If so then you’re in luck – Caladesi Island State Park has a 108-slip marina with electric and water hookups. Concessions, picnic areas and restrooms are located nearby.
Nearby Caladesi RV Park on 205 Dempsey Road in Palm Harbor is a full service RV park with a heated pool, hot showers, laundry facilities, a clubhouse and a bike trail.
Caladesi Island State Park
1 Causeway Blvd
Dunedin, FL 34698
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Caladesi Island State Park:
Leave A Comment