Caladesi Island State Park
|Caladesi Island State Park|
|Location||Pinellas County, Florida,
|Nearest city||Dunedin, Florida|
|Visitors||200,000 (in 2010)|
|Governing body||Florida Department of Environmental Protection|
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Caladesi Park's boat marina, in the distance; the low shoreline trees are mangroves.
Marina up close
Park's small passenger ferry, docked