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 in the Gulf of Mexico, across St. Joseph Sound to the west of Dunedin, Florida, and north of Clearwater Beach.

It is accessible by passenger ferry (not a free ride), or by private boat, from a dock on Honeymoon Island, provided primarily for convenience of access from the north (Dunedin area). Alternatively, the state park can be walked to via Clearwater Beach from the south; it 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 a three-mile nature trail, a marina, picnic pavilions, bathhouses, a park concession stand, and a beach.[1] In 2005 the Caladesi Island beach was listed as having the fourth-best beach in the country, in 2006 and 2007 the second-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, north of Caladesi, were formed in 1921 when a hurricane created Hurricane Pass, splitting the barrier island into two parts.[3] Although Caladesi is still referred to as an island, Hurricane Elena filled in Dunedin Pass in 1985, making Caladesi "Island" accessible by walking northward 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 on the barrier island.[1]

Recreational activities[edit]

The park affords such activities as shelling; boating, including canoeing and kayaking; fishing; hiking; picnicking; swimming and snorkeling; and land-based nature studies, including birding and other wildlife-viewing.

Concessions are also available.[1] The concession stand, Café Caladesi, features "casual style beach fare". Its hours vary according to park hours.