The easiest way to get to Caladesi Island is to catch a ride on the Caladesi Island Ferry. The ride on the ferry takes you across a shallow bay in a 20 minute ride to the Caladesi Marina, about mid-island. Here’s the general sequence of what you’ll need to do to take the ferry to Caladesi Island State Park:
- Drive to Honeymoon Island State Park. Pay the entrance fee.
- Follow the signs to the Caladesi Island Ferry docks. Buy a ticket.
- Wait for the next ferry (it runs roughly every half-hour). The schedule varies according to season and weather.
- Take the 20 minute ride across the shallow bay to the Caladesi Island Marina docks.
- Disembark the ferry.
- Buy something to eat and drink at the Marina concession if you like. They have hot food. The gift shop has basic beach supplies.
- It’s roughly a 1,000 foot walk to the beach over sidewalks and boardwalks.
- You’ll pass the restrooms and changing rooms on the way to the beach.
The ferry captain generally gives a humorous and informative narrative for part of the ride and they are happy to answer questions. You may see dolphins (all year) or manatees (summer) during the trip. Although Caladesi Island is very close to Honeymoon Island, the water is very shallow, so the ferry has to make a longer trip to stay in the deeper channel.
Visit the Caladesi Island Ferry web site for up-to-date ticket prices and the current ferry schedule. I highly recommend that you call the ferry ticket office the morning of your trip to confirm the ferry schedule. This is especially important during windy or very rainy weather.