What makes Caladesi Island State Park on the Florida Gulf Coast so special isn’t just its natural beauty, but also how uncrowded the beaches and trails are.
Because people can’t just drive to Caladesi Island in a car, it’s a lot less crowded than all the other Gulf Coast beaches and trails in the Tampa Bay Area. If you love natural beaches and want to get away from all the people you’d bump into from Clearwater Beach to St. Pete Beach, and from Honeymoon Island to Ft. DeSoto, go seek out Caladesi Island. Talking about seeking out: it’s going to take a little bit of an extra effort and planning to get there. It’s one of those cases where they journey is part of the destination itself.
There are basically two ways to get to the State Park, which depending on the water levels is not actually a true island: by water or by land.
To get to Caladesi State Park by water, you have three options: take the ferry from Honeymoon Island State Park, arrive by your own boat from wherever you launched, paddle over on a (rented) SUP or kayak from the free Dunedin Causeway beach or entry-fee-required Honeymoon Island pet beach. With the ferry or your own boat, you’d land at the marina on the mainland-side of Caladesi. If you’re paddling over from the north, you might just want to aim for the beach on the north end.
(On a personal note: paddle boarding from the Dunedin Causeway over the shallow waters along Caladesi on the intercoastal side is one of my favorite activities in the entire Tampa Bay region. I need to go at least one more time before “winter”.)
To get to Caladesi State Park by land, you’ll have to come up along the beach all the way from North Clearwater Beach. Most likely, you’ll just walk, which is how I got there most often. But there are always those people who like to ride bikes up the beach. Depending on the water level and where the mangroves grow, you might have to wade through some water though.
Once in Caladesi Island State Park, there’s not just the beach and the marina, but also a few trails among the trees and shrubs. The park offers bathrooms, picnic tables, beach umbrella rentals, and even a shop that sells food and drinks. Cheers!
If you want to know more, please check out the full article I wrote for Happier.Place with everything you need to know before you go to Caladesi Island.
Enough words. Now let’s see more photos…
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