If you want to spend the morning hiking and the afternoon relaxing at the beach, Honeymoon Island State Park is where you should head. Honeymoon Island is located in Dunedin, Florida and is an outdoor lovers dream. Keep reading to plan your day!
Honeymoon Island State Park – The Basics
- Address: #1 Causeway Blvd. Dunedin, Florida 34698
- Driving distance: Select cities in Florida
- Clearwater: ~15 minutes
- St. Petersburg: ~35 minutes
- Tampa: ~45 minutes
- Orlando: ~2 hours
- Jacksonville: ~4 hours
- Miami: ~4.5 hours
- Hours: 8 AM until sunset daily
- Fees: $8 per vehicle (2-8 people); $4 single occupant vehicle; $2 pedestrian/bicyclist
- Activities: Hiking, biking, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, swimming
- Pet Friendly: Pets are allowed at the pet beach and on the nature trails
- Pets must be on a 6-foot leash at all times
Why is it called Honeymoon Island?
Honeymoon and Caladesi Island used to be connected as one larger island known as Hog Island until a 1921 hurricane split the islands into two.
Clinton Washburn purchased the island in the early 1930’s and mentioned the island would be a great destination for couples on their honeymoon during an interview for Life magazine. This is where the name Honeymoon Island originated. Fifty honeymoon cottages were built and newlyweds were able to stay on the island on their honeymoon.
Unfortunately, this was short lived due to the island being utilized in World War II. However, the island has been known as Honeymoon Island ever since.
How do I spend a day at Honeymoon Island State Park?
There are so many great ways to spend a day on Honeymoon Island, as an example a one day itinerary is listed blow.
- Hike the Osprey Trail
- Visit the Rotary Centennial Nature Center
- Grab lunch at Café Honeymoon
- Relax at the Main Beach
- Watch the sunset from the beach
- Head to downtown Dunedin for dinner and shopping
Hiking at Honeymoon Island State Park
There are two main hiking trails at Honeymoon Island State Park, the Osprey Trail and Pelican Trail. These trails interconnect making approximately a 2.5 to 3-mile stacked loop trail. Hike the Osprey Trail to see some of the only Florida virgin slash pine remaining in the area.
The parking for the trails is accessed by driving past all the beach parking lots towards the north end of the island. The parking area has restrooms, picnic tables, a volleyball court, and a playground.
The trails are well marked and maintained. However, if heavy rain occurred recently there may be some flooding on the trails. Additionally, I recommend packing bug spray. I hiked the trails on a cooler, overcast day and did not have any issues with mosquitos, but I have read other hikers reviews during the summer months stating the mosquitos were running rampant.
What type of wildlife will I see?
There are many animals that call Honeymoon Island home. Therefore, the wildlife you may see on any given day can vary, but below are some of the animals you can expect to see.
- Great horned owls
- Gopher tortoises
- Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes
- Bald Eagles
- Black skimmers
- American oystercatchers
- Sea turtles
What is there to do at the Nature Center?
The Rotary Centennial Nature Center is a great place to learn more about the history of Honeymoon Island. In addition, information about the different plants and animals that reside on the island can be found at the nature center.
The nature center is open Wednesday through Sunday 9 AM to 5 PM. There is no additional cost to visit the nature center.
Where can I eat at Honeymoon Island?
If you plan to spend the day in the park you can pack your lunch and have a picnic on the beach or visit one of the two cafés in the park.
Café Honeymoon is at the main beach and is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. The café offers a variety of sandwiches and burgers. If you are looking for a sweet treat to help you cool down there is also a selection of ice cream bars. Although alcohol is prohibited to be brought into the park, if you’d like an afternoon drink, they have a variety of adult beverages to choose from. See the full menu here.
The South Beach Pavilion and Café is located next to the pet beach and is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM. The menu has the same offerings as Café Honeymoon including sandwiches, burgers, ice cream, and alcoholic beverages.
Beaches at Honeymoon Island State Park
Honeymoon Island is a barrier island with over 4 miles of beach. There are 4 parking areas to access the beach. As you drive onto the island from Dunedin the first parking area you will find is for the pet beach and Caladesi Island ferry.
There are three other parking areas for the beach. Pets are not allowed on these beaches.
- Oasis Beach
- Main Beach
- North Beach
There are a few reasons I enjoy visiting the beaches on Honeymoon Island. The first reason is there are no hotels or condos lining the beach. This creates a more peaceful atmosphere and natural surrounding compared to many of the other beaches in the area. There are some areas of the beach that are rocky which also makes it a unique beach in the area.
A second benefit is there is ample parking and after you pay the park entrance fee you do not have to pay hourly parking fees.
Are there beach rentals available?
Umbrella and chair rentals are available on a first come, first serve basis on the beach. Credit card is accepted on the beach. In addition, rentals can be purchased cash or credit from Café Honeymoon and the South Beach Pavilion and Café during regular business hours.
- Single day umbrella and 2 lounge chairs: $29
- Single day lounge chair: $13
If you are staying in the area for the week and you want to visit multiple beaches you may want to consider the 7-day beach hop pass.
- 7-day beach umbrella and chair pass (2 chairs): $125
- The 7-day pass is accepted at Caladesi Island, Sand Key Beach in Clearwater, and Fred Howard Beach in Tarpon Springs
What about the ferry to Caladesi Island?
Caladesi Island State Park is a popular destination from Honeymoon Island and can be reached via ferry. The ferry runs daily starting at 10 AM (weather permitting) and departs from Honeymoon Island approximately every 30 minutes.
It is approximately a 15 to 20-minute ride via ferry. Once you arrive to the island there is a short walk to access the beach. Depending on the time of ticket purchase you can spend up to 4 hours at Caladesi Island. If you visit, be sure to check when the last departure from Caladesi Island is.
The round-trip cost of the ferry is $16 for adults and $8 for children (age 6-12). Children 5 and under are free. Pets are not allowed on the ferry. More information on the ferry can be found here.
What should I do in Downtown Dunedin?
This question deserves a post of its own, which I may have to work on in the future. But to round out your day in Dunedin, Florida I recommend heading downtown to main street. There are several gift shops and specialty stores to browse. One of my favorite shops is Back in the Day Books.
You can also keep an eye out for the fun murals along the streets like this one, “Welcome to Dogedin.”
There are also several great breweries to check out downtown including 7th Sun Brewing Company, Soggy Bottom Brewery, and Dunedin Brewery. Downtown Dunedin is a great place to relax after spending a day exploring Honeymoon Island State Park!
Looking for more beaches to visit?
If you are looking to visit more Florida State Parks that include beach access, check out this post on Gasparilla Island State Park.
Information was accurate at the time of publishing to best of the author’s knowledge. If you are planning to visit Honeymoon Island State Park, I recommend also utilizing the Florida State Park website for recent updates.
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