Honeymoon Island sits in the Gulf of Mexico about 2 miles off the mainland Florida cities of Dunedin and Palm Harbor. It’s about 5 miles north of Clearwater Beach. The shape of Honeymoon Island somewhat resembles that of Sanibel Island, although it is much smaller in size. Instead of extending north and south like Caladesi Island, its neighbor to the south, Honeymoon is a large arc, curving out into the Gulf like a reverse comma. This gives the southern portion of the island a southwest exposure. Like Sanibel–though not to the same degree–Honeymoon Island is an excellent place to collect shells and other flotsam. It’s one of the best shelling and beachcombing locations in the area. Sponges, corals and sea fans regularly wash up on the beaches.
There are no hotels or other accommodations on Honeymoon Island, and camping is not allowed, so you’ll have to stay in Dunedin, Clearwater, or Clearwater Beach or surrounding communities. Honeymoon Island is a great day trip from Clearwater Beach, or from anywhere in the Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater area.
Honeymoon Island is a state park and is almost completely undeveloped. It is connected to the city of Dunedin on the mainland by a 1.5 mile-long man made causeway, traversed by County Road 586 (Curlew Road). The causeway itself provides two miles of beaches (if you count both sides of the causeway) which are popular with sunbathers who perhaps prefer not to pay the state park entrance fee.
The causeway is also home to Sail Honeymoon, a kayak rental vendor on the south side of the causeway just outside the entrance to the park. It’s a popular place to rent a kayak for a couple of hours to make the 3,000 foot paddle to the south end of Caladesi Island, which can only be reached by boat (or by a three mile walk on the beach from Clearwater Beach).
Just outside the entrance to the state park, on the southern tip of Honeymoon Island, there are several condominium buildings that were constructed before the state of Florida took over the island for preservation. Other than those buildings, the island is undeveloped except for a small nature center, two beach concession buildings and a building with restrooms.
Honeymoon Island has a section of beach set aside for people to bring their dogs to play and swim. The main beach has two concession buildings with food and drink sales and beach equipment and bike rentals. It’s a popular location for beach weddings. The South Beach Pavilion can handle a good sized wedding reception. Lifeguards may be on duty during posted hours.
From the main beach you can look across Hurricane pass and see Caladesi Island and Clearwater Beach. Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island were connected until the great hurricane of 1921 came through and split the island in half.
Further north on the island the beach turns to rubble then curves north and becomes a white sand beach again. The island has nearly 3 miles of beaches. The furthest northern beach access is where all the rubble is–left over from a failed attempt to enlarge the island back in the 1950′s. The material that was dredged up and dumped on the shoreline contained large amounts of limestone rubble. They cover up the rubble with sand every now and then, but it soon washes away.
This is a great beach to take a long walk, but don’t forget the interior and bay side of the island. There are plenty of nature trails to explore. Birding is a popular activity, as is fishing. The bay side of the island is a motor-free zone, so bring your kayak and enjoy the shallow protected waters of Saint Joseph Sound. *Hint: Hurricane Pass near dog beach is a good fishing spot, and the nature center’s elevated deck is great for birding.
Things to do on Honeymoon Island:
- Take a trip to Caladesi Island on the ferry.
- Rent a bike and explore the island.
- Walk north on the beach and collect shells and flotsam.
- Sit on the deck at Cafe Honeymoon and sip a drink while watching the sunset.
- Go for a hike on the nature trails. Do some birdwatching.
- Go fishing.
- Visit the nature center.
- Rent a kayak and explore the island by boat.
- Bring your dog to the doggy beach.
- Relax on the beach.
More photos of Honeymoon Island State Park: