Florida Kayaking: Honeymoon Island to Caladesi Island

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.

Caladesi Island

Caladesi Island

Our travels along the west coast of Florida have yielded some incredibly beautiful and diverse locations for enjoying a day of kayaking. Our latest search has resulted in yet another wonderful setting just to the north of Tampa.

We recently spent a morning traversing the gulf waters from Honeymoon Island over to nearby Caladesi Island. This is a particularly scenic area of the gulf coast and offers great opportunities for island exploring, beachcombing, and spotting wildlife. The water is a beautiful shade of turquoise and makes for great photo opportunities.

Caladesi Island

Caladesi Island

Access and Parking

Honeymoon Island is located in Dunedin and is sandwiched between the communities of Tarpon Springs to the north and Clearwater to the south. Access to the island is by Causeway Boulevard and can be reached via Route 19, Route 1, or Alternate 19.

A good portion of the mile-long causeway is bordered on both sides by beach with plenty of parking. If you plan on heading out to Caladesi Island you will want to park on the left side of the causeway. We parked when we came to Sail Honeymoon, an outfitter that rents kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and small sailboats.

If you are coming with your own kayaks you can still park here and it makes for very easy access to the gulf. There is no fee to park along the causeway. The other great thing about this particular location is that there are bathroom facilities here, which always come in handy.

Honeymoon Island

Honeymoon Island

Hurricane Pass

Once in the water, you have about a half-mile of gulf to cross before reaching the sandy tip of Caladesi Island. You are crossing Hurricane Pass here, appropriately named after the great hurricane of 1921 split the once single island (Hog Island) into two entities (Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands).

Mother Nature has a way of playing give and take, and today the pass is gradually narrowing. Perhaps one day the two islands will once again become one?

As you cross Hurricane Pass, beware of boaters coming through the strait. For the most part, the water depth is quite shallow here but there is a channel for boaters so the depth will vary as you make your way to Caladesi Island.

Caladesi Island

Caladesi Island

Caladesi Island

Once you reach Caladesi Island, you have two choices for which way to explore. The Gulf side of Caladesi Island is a beautiful, white sandy beach while the bay side is dotted with inlets of mangrove forest.

There is a marked kayak trail you can follow through the mangrove forest, which sounds interesting (next trip), or you can do as we did and head to the sandy beach side of the island. If you have sufficient time you can even choose to explore both sides of the island.

As Caladesi Island Beach was recently voted one of the top ten beaches in America, and in 2008 was voted America’s best beach we decided to explore the beach side. In addition to its fine white sand, the beach is teeming with shells of all sizes and shapes.

Once we arrived at the island, we simply pulled the kayaks up onto the beach and walked the shoreline looking for shells, taking pictures, and just enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery.

Shells on Caladesi Island

Shells on Caladesi Island

Shells on Caladesi Island

Shells on Caladesi Island

Local Wildlife

Of particular interest to visitors may also be the wide variety of wildlife found in this area. It is not uncommon to spot manatee, eagles, osprey, great blue heron, snowy egret, and numerous other species of birds and fish along with the occasional dolphin.

In addition to Caladesi Island, you can also choose to explore Honeymoon Island or any of the other dozen or so islands in the immediate area. There is an active Bald Eagle nest on Honeymoon Island and also a Great Horned Owl nest, which we have seen on past visits. Seeing these two majestic birds in one location is quite an amazing sight. The large Osprey in the photo below graced us with its presence, a fairly common sight in the area.

Osprey on Caladesi Island

Osprey on Caladesi Island

Black Skimmer on Caladesi Island

Black Skimmer on Caladesi Island

Should you wish to explore this area by kayak and need to rent one, you can check out Sail Honeymoon, which is located right on the causeway on the left before you reach Honeymoon Island. They are open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Their rates are reasonable and in line with other outfitters in the area. A single kayak rental will run you $35 for two hours, $45 for four hours, and $60 for the entire day. They also rent stand-up paddleboards and small sailboats.

It is always a good idea to call ahead to check on availability; they can be reached at 727-734-0392. If you are bringing your own kayak(s) and have a trailer, it is no problem to drive right onto the beach and back the trailer to the water for easy unloading and loading.

Getting ready to kayak to Caladesi Island.

Getting ready to kayak to Caladesi Island.

Pulling the kayaks up on Caladesi Island.

Pulling the kayaks up on Caladesi Island.

We travel to the west coast of Florida quite often, and on each visit, we try to find a new kayaking location to explore and report on. There are literally countless opportunities to get out on the water, and the coastal scenery and diverse wildlife make this an ideal area to explore both on foot and by kayak.

© 2016 Bill De Giulio


Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on June 29, 2020:

Yep, I would think you could definitely do this with a paddleboard. As far as how long it took us to kayak across, it wasn't too bad. It will depend on where you depart from on Honeymoon Island. If you leave from the causeway maybe 30 minutes. From the tip of Honeymoon Island it's shorter.

Alexis on June 29, 2020:

Hi, is this possible to do on a paddleboard? How long did it take you to kayak? Thank you for this great post!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 18, 2020:

We visit this area often as we have family there. The beaches are wonderful and we try to go kayaking whenever we are visiting.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 17, 2020:

I love the west coast beaches of Florida, and shelling is excellent on many of those beaches. Those islands you featured look lovely. Thanks for showcasing them here. I have never kayaked and doubt that I will start at this point in my life. It sounds like fun.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 23, 2016:

Hi Cynthia. Thank you. With family in the Tampa area we get to visit often so we are somewhat spoiled. We did get to the Keys years ago and it's certainly another beautiful area. Right now with the heat we are having here a "ski trip" sounds very refreshing :). Thanks again, have a great weekend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 23, 2016:

Hi Alun. Thank you. What a great experience as a kid to explore the coast of Florida. I must say Honeymoon Island is one of my favorite places. Last time we were there an armadillo crossed the path right in front of us and we saw a Bald Eagle nest with eaglets. We also saw a great Horned Owl and its nest.

I think perhaps you just had bad luck at Caladesi Island. We have been there a few times now and never had a bad experience. Overall it's a great place to be outside no matter what the activity. Thanks for stopping by, hope you're enjoying retirement.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on July 23, 2016:

What a fun-looking place! We honeymooned in the Keys (14 years ago....) but we'd like to go explore other parts of Florida. :)

Now for our 15th anniversary in January, we're talking about a "ski road trip" so we might have to hold off on Florida for awhile longer. But well...that'll work. :)

It looks like you had a lot of fun there - especially seeing all the wildlife. Wow! I will definitely have to check that place out sometime.

Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on July 23, 2016:

This brings back memories Bill! Not so much the kayaking, though that sounds like a great way to visit any coastal island.

But when I visited Florida several times in the 1990s with my parents, I went to Honeymoon Island a few times and wandered along the pathways and the shoreline taking photos. I took lots of photos of waterbirds, insects and other creatures. On one occasion we saw a couple of racoons emerge from scrubby vegetation on the side of a carpark, literally just a couple of yards away from me. A beautiful place - one of the best on the Gulf Coast.

My memories of Caladesi aren't so fond. We wandered through a wooded area and the further we ventured the more we got bitten by biting flies. I remember we jokingly wandered if 'Caladesi' was Spanish for 'mosquito' :) I suspect we were just unlucky on that occasion; we'd probably just passed by a swampy area.

Nonetheless, a great area, and as you say, perfect for anyone with an interest in wildlife, and particularly birds. Alun

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 08, 2016:

Thank you teaches12345. We have enjoyed numerous visits to the west coast of Florida and always find someplace new and interesting to explore. Thanks for stopping by to comment, have a great weekend.

teaches12345 on July 08, 2016:

We have ventured over to the west side of Florida and found it beautiful. Your post makes me want to take another trip there soon. Glad you had such a wonderful adventure.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 04, 2016:

Thank you Flourish. It certainly is. A little exercise, the beach, wildlife, a little something for everyone. We are looking forward to our next adventure on the gulf coast perhaps in the fall. Have a great fourth.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 04, 2016:

How beautiful! This looks like the perfect family adventure -- activity, nature, the beach.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 03, 2016:

Hi Linda. Thank you. We enjoy visiting this area of Florida often. Between the beaches, parks and numerous coastal islands there is always some place new to explore. Have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 02, 2016:

I'd love to visit Florida to study its natural history. Your article makes the area that you describe sound very enticing! I enjoyed looking at the photos.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 01, 2016:

Thanks Karen. We find it very relaxing to be out on the water kayaking. Give it a try sometime. It is a great name for an island :)

Karen Hellier from Georgia on July 01, 2016:

Beautiful pictures in this hub. I have always wanted to Kayak but never have made the effort to actually do it. Thanks for sharing. Love the name,"Honeymoon Island."

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 01, 2016:

Thanks Bill. I know I would love exploring Puget Sound in a kayak. Maybe someday soon. I actually prefer the mountains to the coast but both are great for getting out on the water. I've had a very busy couple of months but hope to start writing again consistently. Have a great 4th weekend.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 01, 2016:

I've done a lot of kayaking in the Puget Sound. I think Florida would be spectacular for kayaking. Thanks for the virtual tour....good to see you writing again, Bill.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 01, 2016:

Thank you Don. We visit this area often and love exploring whether on foot or by kayak. You live in a beautiful area. Thanks so much for stopping by, have a great holiday weekend.

Don Bobbitt from Ruskin Florida on July 01, 2016:

I live about 20 miles south of Tampa in Ruskin. I'm not a 'Yaker" (bad shoulder), but a lot of my friends and neighbors are. These little islands (or Keys) are everywhere along the Gulf coast and I love walking the different beaches. You did an exceptional job of reporting on your experience and the pictures are great.

Keep up the great reports.


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