Island State Park
|Distance: 6 miles
round trip from causeway to Bird Observation Area or 9 miles
to circumnavigate the island.
|Atlas: Page 82 D-2
|Last Update: July 2006
||Canoe OK: No
Honeymoon Island is a Florida State Park that can be
reached by car, boat or kayak. Honeymoon and neighboring Caladesi
Island were originally part of a large barrier island that split
in half during a major hurricane in 1921. The waterway between the
islands is known as Hurricane Pass.
Want to know where the name Honeymoon Island came from? According
to the Florida Park Service, Honeymoon Island was introduced to
the American public in the early 1940s through newsreels and magazines.
The advertisements promised undiscovered pleasures for newlyweds.
Unfortunately, World War II happened and the island paradise with
thatched huts slipped into the history books. However, the name
stuck. A causeway leading to the island was constructed in 1964
and today Honeymoon's pleasures can still be found.
| Honeymoon Island has a combustion motor exclusion
zone located on the bay (east) side of the island. During low
tide this area is extremely shallow and the no-motor zone helps
save delicate sea grasses.
From Clearwater, go north on US 19 to Curlew Road (SR 586). Go
west on Curlew Road past Alt-19 and onto the Dunedin Causeway. Honeymoon
Island is at the end of the causeway. You can put-in at any point
on the north side of the causeway to visit Honeymoon Island or the
chain of spoil islands to the north. Caladesi Island lies to the
southwest and can be accessed from the south side of the causeway.
Parking on the causeway is free. While it is possible to drive
on Honeymoon Island, there is an entrance fee and a long portage
from the parking lot to most beaches.
Boat, Paddle, PFD
Honeymoon Island Entrance Fee, $5/car or $3 for one person
White Sand Beach
Slash Pine Forest
Tour #1: Honeymoon Island Bird Observation Area (6
Begin on the north side of the causeway and head in an northwesterly
direction to Grassy Key. It's the large mangrove-lined island located
about one-half way up Honeymoon. The water surrounding Grassy Key
is very shallow (1-2 feet) with delicate sea grasses just below
the surface. If you hang around Grassy Key long enough, it should
be easy to spot hungry Osprey fishing for dinner.
Continue north along the mangrove line. The bird observation area
is approximately 3 miles from the causeway. You know you've reached
the area when you round the top part of the island and begin to
turn west. Several park benches can be found along the shoreline.
These offer a great place to stop, have a snack and watch our fine
feathered friends. The Pelican Cove hiking trail starts about 10
feet from the shoreline and proceeds south.
Tour #2: Honeymoon Island Circumnavigation (9 miles)
Before we start, a few cautions on this trip. One - it requires
open water paddling skills and there are some areas, such as the
northern tip of the island and immediately around the Dunedin bridge
where the water can get bouncy. Bring and use a spray skirt.
You can start on either the north or south side of Dunedin Causeway.
I prefer a put-in near Sail Honeymoon (kayak / sailboat rental vendor)
and going around Honeymoon in a clockwise direction. It all depends
upon how the wind and tides are running. The other benefit of a
put-in at Sail Honeymoon is you can get a nice cool soda or other
drink after your trip.
To begin, head in a westerly direction along the Dunedin Causeway.
A channel runs parallel to the causeway so watch for boat traffic.
You'll quickly reach the state park boundry. Paddling past Dog Beach
and eventually turning north will take you to Honeymoon's famous
beaches. The park has gift shop / snackbar, restrooms, showers,
picnic tables and so forth.
Continuing north leads you along the gulf side and, eventually,
you'll reach the northern edge of the island. From this vantage
point, you'll be able to see Three Rooker Bar (next island north)
and in the distance, Anclote Key and the lighthouse. Looking southeast,
you'll see what looks like a brown sandy beach area among the tree
line. Aim for the brown beach.
Once you reach the brown-looking beach, besides very shallow water
and mud, you'll find a few benches, some trees for shade and the
north end of the Pelican Cove hiking trail.
Continue in a east / southeast direction and follow the no-motor
exclusion signs along the backside of Honeymoon Island. Paddle outside
of the signs to keep enough water under your boat. Grassy Key (see
tour #1) is a favorite place to birdwatch.
To return to your car, go south toward the condo buildings. Near
the condos is a bridge that allows you to paddle under Dunedin Causeway.
A few hundred more yards and you'll be back at your vehicle.
For those visiting the State Park, a ferry service runs hourly
between Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands. The ferry transports people
only and is not equipped to carry kayaks or canoes. Other amenities
on Honeymoon include a snack bar, showers, fishing, picnic areas,
hiking trails and Florida's only "pet beach". Should you
have a hankering to take Fido to the beach, bring a close-pin for
your nose and watch your step.
The Osprey and Pelican Cove Trails on Honeymoon Island offer an
interesting break from kayaking. The trails meander through virgin
slash pine forests that serve as nesting areas for Osprey. The Pelican
Cove Trail offers excellent bird watching along the salt marshes
of the bird observation area. To reach either trail, enter Honeymoon
Island via the Ranger station by car; follow the Nature trail signs
to the north-most picnic area. Be sure to lock down your kayak and
hide other valuables. The hike takes approximately 1-2 hours and
is approximately 2 miles in length.
Exploring Honeymoon's wild
The gulf side offers several great
places to take a quick break.
| GPS Location Aid
|Spoil Island Put-In
|Bird Observation Area