Caladesi Island State Park

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Caladesi Island State Park
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
Map showing the location of Caladesi Island State Park
Map showing the location of Caladesi Island State Park
Location Pinellas County, Florida,
United States
Nearest city Dunedin, Florida
Coordinates 28°01′12″N 82°49′16″W / 28.02000°N 82.82111°W / 28.02000; -82.82111Coordinates: 28°01′12″N 82°49′16″W / 28.02000°N 82.82111°W / 28.02000; -82.82111
Visitors 200,000 (in 2010)
Governing body Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Caladesi Island State Park is a Florida State Park located on Caladesi Island, across St. Joseph Sound from Dunedin, Florida and north of Clearwater Beach. Honeymoon Island 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.

It is reachable by boat and ferry from a dock on Honeymoon Island, provided primarily for convenience of access from the north (Dunedin, Honeymoon Island) or can easily be walked to from Clearwater Beach Island from the south, and is only separated by a "welcome sign". Thus, Caladesi Island is not its own island, but shares its island geography with Clearwater Beach.

Amenities include 3 miles of nature trail, a marina, picnic pavilions, bathhouses, a park concession and a beach.[1] Activities include fishing, shelling, kayaking, boating, hiking and nature studies. In 2005 it was listed as having the 4th best beach in the country, in 2006 and 2007 the 2nd best, and in 2008 the best beach in the United States by Dr. Beach.[2][3][4][5]

Originally part of a large barrier island, Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island to the north were formed in 1921 when a hurricane created Hurricane Pass, splitting the larger island into two parts.[3] Though still referred to as an island, Hurricane Elena filled Dunedin Pass in 1985, making Caladesi Island accessible by walking north from North Clearwater Beach.[6]

In the 1880s homesteader Henry Scharrer and his daughter Myrtle lived on the island. Later in life, at the age of 87, Myrtle Scharrer Betz penned the book,Yesteryear I Lived in Paradise telling of her life of the barrier island.[1]

Recreational Activities[edit]

The park has such amenities as birding, boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, picnicking areas, snorkeling, swimming and wildlife viewing. Concessions are also available.[1]