Honeymoon Island State Park: Local’s Guide

Your guide to Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin, FL

Honeymoon Island is perhaps one of the best beaches in Pinellas County. Honeymoon island is known for its beautiful and easily accessible beaches, and its Caladesi Island Ferry.

There’s so much to do at Honeymoon Island and we’re here to help you make the most out of your visit to Honeymoon Island. We’re two local moms that have been Honeymoon Island regulars our whole lives.

We love going to this beach with our kids because it has some unique things, like finding seahorses during the right seasons and little beach toy libraries.

General Information

  • ADDRESS: 1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin, FL 34698
  • HOURS: 8am to sunset
  • COST: Entrance fees vary based on vehicle:
  • Car: $8
  • Single-occupant car: $4
  • Walkers or bikes: $2
  • Sunset-only entrance: $4 (an hour before park closure)
  • PARKING: Included with park entrance fee
  • Website

Honeymoon Island is a Florida State Park. As a State Park, you can use a state park annual pass if you have one.

Honeymoon Island Amenities

Here are some things that Honeymoon Island offers so you can better plan your trip:

  • Concessions
  • Picnic areas with grills (limited amount on first come, first serve basis)
  • Bathrooms and showers
  • Kayak, umbrella and beach chair rentals
  • Ferry to Caladesi Island
  • Pet-friendly beach
  • Playground
  • Nature center
  • Free beach wheelchairs

There are concession stands in the pavilions and also food trucks and carts scattered throughout the park. Note that the food trucks aren’t always open, especially if you visit during less busy times.

Local’s Tips for Honeymoon Island

Here are some of our tips for visiting Honeymoon Island:

  • GO EARLY: Honeymoon Island gets busy on weekends. Getting there when it opens at 8am helps you beat the rush
  • GO FOR SUNSET: Going in the evening is also a good way to get a more relaxed and less busy beach experience
  • LOOK FOR SEAHORSES: Finding seahorses wrapped around the seagrass is one of the coolest Honeymoon Island experiences
  • USE THE BEACH TOY LIBRARY: Some beach access points have little beach toy libraries where kids can borrow beach toys for their visit. We absolutely love this feature.
  • CONSIDER TIDES: Honeymoon Island gets nice tide pools during low tide, which are always a hit with our kids
toddler in hat in honeymoon island tide pool
Toddler in tide pool at Honeymoon Island

Honeymoon Island Beaches

There are multiple beach accesses along Honeymoon Island. Here is a breakdown of the main access points, starting north to south. We’ve highlighted them on the map below:

North Beach

North Beach is most local’s favorite. It has parking right by the beach. It has decent shelling, but the highlight is during most tides you can walk the “North Beach Trek” as you would like and enjoy beautiful views, drift wood trees and wild life.

APRIL 2024 DISCLAIMER: Florida State Parks have issued the following warning regarding the northernmost stretch of Honeymoon Island: Erosion and sand migration have separated the northernmost mile of the Honeymoon Island State Park sandspit from the main island, forming a temporary cut. A high level of caution should be exercised in this area as deep water, rapidly changing water depth, unseen underwater hazards and strong currents may be encountered. For your safety, do not venture into or through the water.”

Eli’s BBQ food truck is parked in the parking lot. It is not always open, but when it is the food is a Dunedin treasure. There is also a pavilion with bathrooms and showers in the south side of the parking lot.

Oasis Beach

Oasis beach is in the middle of North and South Beach. On busy weekends, it’s often the last parking lot to fill up which is a plus. Generally, we consider this beach to be fine. Not our first choice but it’ll get the job done.

This beach shares their bathroom with North Beach, so bathroom and pavilion access can be a little more of a hike.

South Beach or the old “Main Beach”

South Beach has good parking with easy access to the beach, pavilions, bathrooms and showers. This includes the beach around South Pavilion 1 and Pavilion 2. However, this is the rockiest of the beaches. This beach is the most eroded by storms as of summer 2024 (oasis and north beach have been refreshed and recent stormed have moved sand from this beach to the pet beach.)

South Beach is a good place to put in if you want to kayak or canoe to Caladesi Island. It also has two pavilions with bathroom access as well as the Honeymoon Island Cafe.

Check out the cafe pavilion menu for both Pavilion 1 and 2. The main different between Pavilion 1 and Pavilion 2 is:

  • Pavilion 1 – Cafe, small store, great covered dining area with beautiful view!
  • Pavilion 2 – Cafe, larger store, not much dining space and sunny and less with a view.
  • Pavilion 3 – Bathroom only and outdoor shows (Between Oasis Beach and North Beach).

Pavilion 1 (South Beach Pavilion)

Pavilion 2

These beaches though are the most handicap accessible with handicap spots and mats leading to the beach and ramps up to both the pavilions, cafes and bathrooms.

Pet Beach

Honeymoon Island is unique because it is one of the few dog-friendly beaches in our area. This is a real highlight of the beach for many families. It is a little bit of a walk from the parking lot, but this beach is less rocky that south beach.

Need more dog-friendly fun? Here’s our list of local dog beaches & dog parks

The beach has a rinse off area for dogs after their beach visit too.

pet beach rule sign at honeymoon island

The dog beach has a longer walks from the parking lot to the beach than the other beaches on the island. It can be almost 1/2 mile depending on the entrance you use.

Things to Do at Honeymoon Island

There is more than just the beach at Honeymoon Island. Here are some experiences you can enjoy on your visit:

Nature Center

The nature center is small, but packed with information and very kid friendly. Additionally, there is a little gift shop there and has air conditioning. It is also where you can buy your annual passes for State Parks.

Hiking Trails

There are miles of trails for many different hiking levels. My favorite is the one on the beach north of North Beach. Some others give your good views of pelican cove were the Dunedin flamingo used to be found. There are also paved trails that are good places for kiddos to ride bikes and strollers.

All in all some of the more wilderness trails are great for bird watching, but can be buggy and not so shaded and I would recommend closed toed shoes and bug stray.

The three main trails are Osprey Trail, Nature Center Trail and the trail around the southern point.

OSPREY TRAIL

Check out this picture of the sign at the trail head. Most of this trail is doable with a jogging stroller. The part that is over sand is the west most route, but it optional. For this trail you park at the far end of the parking lot by the playground.

NATURE CENTER TRAIL

Check out this picture of the sign at the trail head. As the name implies parking for this is at the Nature Center. This is also jogger stroller friendly.

SOUTH POINT TRAIL

Below is a zoomed in image of the information center map. It will take you to pet beach.

Surfing

Surprisingly, people surf at Honeymoon Island in the right conditions. According to the State Park website, the best surfing is north by bathhouse 3.

Swimming and snorkeling

Honeymoon Island beaches are great for swimming as long as you’re mindful of the condition warning flags. They’ll put up warnings for strong currents or stinging animals.

REMINDER: Don’t forget to do the “stingray shuffle” when in the water. Gulf beaches are known for stingrays and shuffling your feet will scare them off so you won’t get stung.

We’ve snorkeled out by the rocks on North Beach. There are lots of fish but the water can get a little murky for snorkeling as you go farther out.

Playground

There is a play ground in the State Park. It is a nice playground if you kids want that break, but it is not a break from the sun unfortunately. There are bathrooms right there though and pavilions next to it that you can rent. It is not an easy walk from the beach and has its own parking lot.

Kayaking

You can bring your own kayaks, paddle boards or canoes to the park. You are also able to rent kayaks from the concession stands.

If you’re feeling ambitious (or too cheap for the ferry!) you can kayak all the way to Caladesi Island, which is only accessible by boat.

TIP: you can also kayak to Caladesi from the Dunedin Causeway without having to pay the Honeymoon Island entrance fee, though it’s a little bit farther.

kayaks next to a kayak rental hut on dunedin causeway
Kayak rentals on Dunedin Causeway

Ferry to Caladesi Island

Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island used to be connected till a hurricane in the 1920’s when the island formally called Hog Island was split (source). Caladesi Island is the northern most point of Clearwater Beach. It has beautiful, pristine island that is only accessible by boat (technically you could walk from Clearwater Beach but its 8.5 miles roundtrip).

If you can’t kayak to it, there is a ferry that runs throughout the day. The boat its self is a cool part of the experience and makes for a fun trip!

As of summer 2024, the prices for round trips are $18 for adult and $9 for kids 6-12 (plus your Honeymoon Island entrance fee). Ferries leave every hour in the off season and run every half an hour from February thru Labor Day.

sign of ticket prices for caladesi island ferry

TIPS FOR VISITING CALADESI ISLAND

  • DISCOUNT: There is normally a coupon at the following link. Ideally you want to print it ahead of time, but often they will respect just showing it on your phone.
  • NO BEACH WAGONS: Though Strollers are allowed
  • PACK WELL: You’ll be stuck on the island until the next ferry so pack accordingly

WHAT MAKES CALADESI ISLAND SO SPECIAL?

  • Amazing sugar sand beach
  • Isolated from roads, buildings and hustle and bustle
  • Even when its “crowded” people are headed over in groups of 30 people every 30 minutes so it always has the feeling of not being overly crowded
  • In most tides its shallow very far out which is great with little kids and the water is so clear you can see to the bottom easily.

Where to eat nearby

If you don’t want to eat on Honeymoon Island, there are a few places to check out near the Dunedin Causeway.

  • FRENCHY’S: Frenchy’s is a local institution with locations throughout Pinellas. They’re famous for their grouper sandwich for a reason.
  • M&W EUROPEAN DELI: A great little market, perfect for picking up picnic items before you head to the beach. It has really good Polish food.
  • HURRICANE EDDIE’S: Like the original Eddie’s in Dunedin on Bayshore the food is great and the atmosphere is similar to a beachy sports bar.

Read more:

While you’re in Dunedin, check out our list of things to do with kids in Dunedin.

Similar Posts