Island State Park
|Distance: 5 miles
round trip from Dunedin Causeway to Caladesi marina.
|Atlas: Page 82 D-2
|Last Update: July 2006
||Canoe OK: No
Caladesi Island is a Florida State Park located approximately one
mile off the mainland by the city of Dunedin, Florida. Caladesi
at 3 miles long and up to 1/2 mile wide is the largest of six islands
in the Gulf Island Geopark. Caladesi and neighboring Honeymoon Island
were once part of a large barrier island that was split in half
during an intense hurricane in 1921. The resultant waterway between
the islands is known as Hurricane Pass. During the 2004 and 2005
hurricane seasons, the shape of the island changed again, this time
with shifting sands and a new cut at the north end of the island.
With the exception of the state park marina and swim beach located
near the center of the island Caladesi remains undeveloped. The
gulf side of the island offers three miles of white sand beach that
has been rated as high as the second best beach in the United States.
The bay side offers a mangrove shoreline and seagrass flats populated
with an abundance of inshore birds, fish and other wildlife.
| For non-paddlers, Caladesi Island may be reached
by public ferry. The ferry runs from Honeymoon Island to the
marina at Caladesi, weather permitting. Hours vary by season
so check with the Caladesi Island State Park Service at 727-469-5918.
From Clearwater, travel north on US 19 to Curlew Road (SR 586).
Go west on Curlew Road past Alt-19 to the Dunedin Causeway. You
can put-in anywhere on the south side of the causeway. Parking is
free. For those wanting to visit both Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands,
a good access point is just before the bridge nearest the Honeymoon
Island park entrance. Kayak and sailboat rental is available on
the causeway near Honeymoon Island.
Boat, Paddle, PFD
Marina and dock charge, $4 boaters
$1 for kayakers.
[Optional] Kayak rentals available
White Sand Beach
Oak, Pine and Palm Trees
Caladesi Island offers a great beach
for walking, shelling and just having fun.
Tour: Dunedin Causeway to Caladesi Marina (5 miles)
To begin, select a nice sandy spot on the south side of the Dunedin
Causeway. The area closest to the mainland attracts Personal Watercraft
owners, so you'll probably want to put-in near the Honeymoon Island
park entrance. Paddle in a southwest direction to Caladesi Island.
The north end of the island is approximately 3 / 4 mile from the
causeway. This area can be a bit tricky due to shallow water, currents
and wind driven waves between Caladesi and Honeymoon Islands. The
north beach is a popular place to stop, take a quick break, maybe
a swim and look for shells.
Head south along the east (mainland) side of the island for 1.5
miles to reach the marina entrance. You can tell you're close when
you see the channel markers. The marina features a boat dock with
99 slips, concession stand, bath house, picnic areas and ranger
station. There are no boat ramps or beach landing at the marina,
so you must be comfortable entering and exiting your kayak from
a floating boat dock to stop here. From the marina, you can follow
the boardwalk to the snack bar for a cool drink or go across the
island to the swim beach. If you really want to stretch your legs,
try the sandy three mile nature trail that loops the center of the
island through sabal palms, slash pines and saw palmetto.
Camping is not allowed, but overnight docking is permitted at the
marina for boaters who register with the park office before sundown.
Since its unlikely you'll get a good night sleep in your kayak,
try the spoil islands north of the Dunedin Causeway. Several of
these small islands are open to primitive tent camping. Be sure
to bring lots of bug repellent.
To return to the Dunedin Causeway, exit the marina and follow the
island north for 2.5 miles.
Special Interest: Caladesi Island Canoe Trail
Starting and ending at the south end of the marina, a 3.5 mile
canoe trail leads paddlers through mangrove canals and seagrass
flats along the bay side of the island. In many places the mangroves
totally enclose the trail forming tunnels teeming with small fish,
crabs, birds and other wildlife. To help with navigation the trail
is marked at strategic intersections with numbered white plastic
poles. Note the poles mark the direction you should turn, i.e. if
the pole is on the right side of the waterway, turn right.
At one mile (marker 8), the canoe trail exits the mangroves offering
a view of St. Joseph Sound and the Intercoastal waterway. Turning
north will take you back to the marina for a shortened 1.5 mile
trip. Continuing south will reveal the next marker and re-entry
into the mangrove canals. After another 3/4 mile of paddling the
trail enters open water near the south end of Caladesi Island. Follow
the mangrove shoreline in a northeast direction to return to the
Walt at the Canoe Trail.
| GPS Location Aid
|Caladesi North Tip
|Canoe Half-way Loop
|Canoe Trail End