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Florida Kayaking: Honeymoon Island to Caladesi Island

Updated on March 07, 2017
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Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures, experiences, and makes the world a better, more tolerant place.

Caladesi Island
Caladesi Island | Source

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 | Source

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 paddle boards, 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 | Source

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.

Hurricane Pass

A markerHurricane Pass, Dunedin, FL -
Hurricane Pass, Dunedin, FL 34698, USA
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Caladesi Island - Honeymoon Island

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A markerHoneymoon Island, Dunedin, FL -
Honeymoon Island, Dunedin, FL 34698, USA
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B markerCaladesi Island, Dunedin, FL -
Caladesi Island, Dunedin, FL 33767, USA
get directions

Caladesi Island
Caladesi Island | Source

Caladesi Island is only accessible by boat. You can take a ferry from Honeymoon Island should kayaking not be your thing and the ferry fare includes the state park entry fee. In addition to being one of the most beautiful beaches in the country there are hiking trails, boat docks, a ranger station, a concession stand and of course abundant wildlife viewing.

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.

Caladesi Island
Caladesi Island | Source
Caladesi Island
Caladesi Island | Source

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 and this is a fairly common site in the area.

Osprey - Caladesi Island
Osprey - Caladesi Island | Source
Black Skimmer - Caladesi Island
Black Skimmer - Caladesi Island | Source

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 $30 for two hours, $40 for four hours and $55 for the entire day. They also rent stand up paddle boards and small sail boats.

It is always a good idea to call ahead to check on availability and 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.

Source
Caladesi Island
Caladesi Island | Source

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 literally are 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.

A markerCaladesi Island, Dunedin, FL -
Caladesi Island, Dunedin, FL 33767, USA
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© 2016 Bill De Giulio

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    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 8 months ago from Massachusetts

      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.

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 8 months ago from Massachusetts

      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.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 8 months ago from Western NC

      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 profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 8 months ago from Essex, UK

      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

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 8 months ago from Massachusetts

      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.

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      teaches12345 8 months ago

      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.

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 8 months ago from Massachusetts

      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 profile image

      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

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

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 8 months ago from Massachusetts

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 8 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 8 months ago from Massachusetts

      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 profile image

      Karen Hellier 8 months ago from Georgia

      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."

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 8 months ago from Massachusetts

      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.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      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.

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 8 months ago from Massachusetts

      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 profile image

      Don Bobbitt 8 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      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.

      DON

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