Just 25 miles outside of Tampa, in Pinellas County, Florida, lies a small barrier island with 4 miles of white sandy beaches and one of the last remaining virgin slash pine forests. This gorgeous pristine area, Honeymoon Island State Park, offers visitors an escape from the city and a chance to explore (on foot or bicycle), swim, hunt for shells, fish, birdwatch and more.
The island’s name dates back to 1939 when a land developer from New York, Clinton Washburn, purchased the island and posted a contest in LIFE magazine for newly married couples to win a two-week honeymoon on the island.
Weddings are still a big deal at Honeymoon Island State Park. And it’s an ideal location for any beachside events. Cafe Honeymoon is available to help plan special events by arranging flowers, music, food and more.
For those just wanting to escape for a day, this Florida state park provides covered picnic areas with grills and restrooms plus a beach area, trails, concessions and more.
Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Honeymoon Island State Park:
Boating at Honeymoon Island State Park
Explore Pelican Cove by kayak and experience more of the park’s beauty. Bring your own or rent one from the park’s concessionaire.
Swimming at Honeymoon Island State Park
Honeymoon Island State Park’s 4 miles of shoreline provide visitors with opportunities for swimming, surfing, digging for shells and entertaining the family pet (at the designated pet beach). Swimming is allowed at the main beach only and bathhouses are conveniently located nearby.
Guests are advised to pay attention to the warning flag system used along Florida’s coastline. These colored flags represent important swimming conditions.
Hiking at Honeymoon Island State Park
Hike one of the two nature trails through the park’s slash pine forest and along the mangrove swamp area. Or take in the beauty of the coast as you walk along the 4 miles of beach.
Here are the hiking trails at Honeymoon Island State Park:
- Osprey and Pelican Trail – An easy family friendly 2.5 mile loop through the slash pine forest and along the northern peninsula part of the island.
- The Nature Trail – A short easy trail (0.3 miles) through the dunes and flatlands. Most of this trail is sandy as it leads through the beach areas. Interpretive signs line the way and educate visitors on the local plants and animals that may be seen.
Biking at Honeymoon Island State Park
Bring your bikes and ride along the paved roads and trails at Honeymoon Island State Park. Bike rentals are available at Wheel Fun Rentals.
Fishing at Honeymoon Island State Park
Fish for snapper, redfish, flounder, pompano, trout, shark, cobia, mackerel, tarpon and more during your visit to Honeymoon Island State Park. Remember to bring your fishing gear and pick up a Florida fishing license ahead of time.
Birding at Honeymoon Island State Park
Honeymoon Island’s white sandy beach dunes extend to the northern tip of the top of Florida’s barrier island chain. This is an important spot for resting and foraging shorebirds. During the year parts of the beach may be closed off in order to help protect these nesting areas.
During your visit to the park you may see ospreys, snowy plovers, snowy egrets, great blue herons, oystercatchers, bald eagles and great horned owls.
Nature and Wildlife at Honeymoon Island State Park
Learn more about the various wildlife that is native to Honeymoon Island by checking out the Nature Center inside the park. The Rotary Centennial Nature Center is open 9am to 5pm Wednesday through Sunday.
The observation deck, with its views from above, and the Osprey Trail are both excellent places within the park where wildlife can be easily observed. See armadillos, turles, snakes, raccoons and more during your visit.
Pets at Honeymoon Island State Park
Honeymoon Island State Park not only allows pets but they have a special designated beach for pets. Please supervise your pet and keep them on a leash no longer than 6 feet and clean up after them.
Camping near Honeymoon Island State Park
Honeymoon Island State Park is for day use only but there are plenty of campgrounds, resorts and hotels nearby. Here are a couple of popular choices:
Caladesi Island State Park – Offshore Island, Dunedin
If you’ll be traveling by boat consider staying at the marina inside Caladesi Island State Park just 13 miles from Honeymoon Island State Park. Their marina has a floating dock with electric and water connections plus a picnic area with grills and a snack bar/gift shop.
Dunedin RV Resort – 2920 Alternate 19 North, Dunedin
Picturesque shaded RV resort and Inn on the Gulf of Mexico, only 3 miles from the park. Considered one of the best RV parks in the Clearwater area, this year round resort is pet friendly and features a fitness center, heated outdoor pool and a clubhouse.
The Blue Moon Inn has standard rooms and deluxe rooms. Each of the rooms have private patios, kitchenettes and sleeper sofas. The deluxe rooms also have a two-person hot tub.
Caladesi RV Park – 205 Dempsey Road, Palm Harbor
Full service RV park that is conveniently located near beaches, shopping and dining and only 4 miles from the park. This RV park also has a heated pool, hot showers in air conditioned bathhouses, laundry facilities, a clubhouse and a bike trail.
Honeymoon Island State Park
1 Causeway Blvd
Dunedin, FL 34698
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Honeymoon Island State Park: