Honeymoon Island State Park
|Honeymoon Island State Park|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
|Location||Pinellas County, Florida, USA|
|Nearest city||Dunedin, Florida|
|Area||2,785 acres (11 km2)|
|Governing body||Florida Department of Environmental Protection|
Honeymoon Island State Park is a Florida State Park located on Honeymoon Island, a barrier island across St. Joseph's Sound from Palm Harbor, Ozona, and Crystal Beach. The park is 385 acres (1.6 km2) in land area with 2,400 acres (10 km2) submerged and 4 miles (6 km) of beach. It lies at the western end of Causeway Boulevard, which becomes Curlew Road east of Alternate US 19. The address is 1 Causeway Blvd.
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.
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. According to the Dunedin Museum, located in Dunedin on the mainland which lays claim to both Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island, Honeymoon Island was formerly known as Hog Island. In the early 1940s, honeymoon-type huts were built on the island for vacationing, and the name was changed. World War II began and the thatched huts fell into disuse. The structures were torn down as the island was turned into a state park. However, the name stuck. A causeway leading to the island was constructed in 1964.
One of the island's services, that of a ferry to Caladesi Island, is only for convenience to those in the Honeymoon Island area to reach Caladesi Island across Hurricane Pass. Caladesi Island is easily accessible by walking from Clearwater Beach, Fla. as it has been for decades, and is only separated by a "welcome sign" from the south.
The barrier island park is a refuge for a number of species of plants and animals including south Florida slash pines, mangroves and several threatened and endangered species. Osprey and various species of tern, plover and wading birds reside on the island or stop during spring & fall bird migration.
Dolphin pods will often be sighted within yards of the shore.
In the Fall of 2008, a pair of Bald Eagles made a nest on Osprey Trail in the park. Visitors must stay back 300 feet from the nest, but it is well marked and easily observed with binoculars.
Mosquitos are quite prevalent in the picnic areas and trails away from the beach, and can quickly inflict dozens of bites on uncovered, unprotected skin. These bites can cause severe itching for several days and leave blemishes after the scabs heal. Signs near the entrance warn of this possibility. Mosquitos can also be a nuisance in the shower and bathroom facilities.
Rattlesnakes are common to Honeymoon Island so caution should be exercised.
Activities include birding, fishing, hiking and sunbathing. Amenities include picnic pavilions, bathhouses, a park concession, nature trails, bird observation areas, a pet beach and a ferry to Caladesi Island State Park. the Rotary Centennial Nature Center features exhibits about the natural and cultural history of Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands and an elevated observation deck.
Construction is underway in portions of the beach near the north concession area to mitigate extensive erosion that has taken place over the years. That part of the beach is closed though there is a path one can use to access the north beach.
The beaches range from sandy to covered in large chunks of fossilized coral. Some areas may have water puddles that emit a stench in certain months, but this does not deter swimmers from accessing the beaches.
Hours and entrance fees
Florida state parks are open between 8 a.m. and sundown every day of the year (including holidays). While signage at the entrance to the park indicates a per vehicle daily entrance fee of $8, single persons are only charged $4 in February of 2015. There is also an annual fee for those who wish to save on frequent visits. The charge to ride the ferry to Caladesi Island is $14 per adult person in addition to the park entrance fee.
- Honeymoon Island State Park at Florida State Parks
- Honeymoon Island State Recreation Area at Absolutely Florida