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Honeymoon Island State Park: Dunedin, Florida

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

Honeymoon Island State Park

Honeymoon Island State Park

Honeymoon Island State Park

On the west coast of Florida, just north of Tampa, is a nature lover’s paradise called Honeymoon Island State Park. Named back in 1939 when developers built palm-thatched bungalows on the island to attract honeymooners, the island has become quite the haven for local wildlife. The bungalows are long gone, but with four miles of pristine beach and a wonderful network of nature trails, the island is a great spot to unwind and enjoy all that Florida has to offer.

For visitors to the park, the island has two very special surprises in store for you. The first is the presence of a Great Horned Owl nest that is currently home to two young owlets. The nest is visible from the osprey trail and if you are lucky you may be able to catch a glimpse of the owls. Be sure to bring your binoculars and your camera.

Update: On our last visit to Honeymoon State Park the Great Horned Owl nest, which had been destroyed in a storm, had been rebuilt in a new location. Ask at the visitor center for the best location to catch a glimpse of the owls.

Great Horned Owl in its nest.

Great Horned Owl in its nest.

Further down the trail is yet another surprise waiting for you. A pair of southern Bald Eagles have made their home here on the island. The latest information I have, as of January 30th, 2019 is that there are eggs in the nest so hopefully we'll have eaglets soon.

The next six to twelve months should be an exciting time on Honeymoon Island as the owl and eagle chicks grow and learn to fly. These are just a few of the many surprises waiting for you on your visit.

The new additions aside, there are many other reasons to visit Honeymoon Island State Park. The beaches here are beautiful, and this area just happens to be a great shelling area due to the Gulf currents depositing a wide variety of shells onto the beaches. There is also a pet beach on the island for our four-legged friends, and the boardwalk leading to the main beach area does have shower facilities.

The miles of pristine beach makes for a great spot to walk the beach, especially on the north end of the island, which is pretty remote. If you prefer to explore the island in a canoe or kayak, rentals are available. The Park Concession rents bikes, kayaks, umbrellas, beach chairs, and also has food and beverages available. For those of you interested in fishing, the warm Gulf waters can yield up flounder, tarpon, redfish, snapper, trout, and pompano to name a few. Florida does require a fishing license so be sure to get your license before heading out to fish.

Honeymoon Island State Park beach.

Honeymoon Island State Park beach.

The main hiking trail on the island is the appropriately named Osprey trail. The two and a half miles of walking will take you through one of the few remaining Florida slash pine stands that is home to numerous Osprey and other birds native to Florida. Along the trail, you may also encounter armadillos, gopher tortoises, raccoons, egrets, Great Blue Herons, and many other local bird species. And don’t forget about the Great Horned Owl and the Bald Eagle nest! This is an opportunity you won’t want to miss.

Before heading out onto the nature trails you may want to stop into the Rotary Centennial Nature Center. The center has a great viewing deck that looks out over Saint Joseph Sound and is a wonderful observation spot to watch the birds at low tide as they come in to feed. The staff on hand at the center are very knowledgeable and can give you whatever information you are looking for on the animal and plant species that are found on the island. Ranger-led walks are also available, and you can inquire in the nature center for availability and schedules.

Centennial Nature Center

Centennial Nature Center

Honeymoon Island State Park also has two picnic pavilions that are covered and can be reserved for a fee. They are located near the nature trails, and make for a great location for that family gathering or other special function.

There are also a number of picnic tables, grills, and restrooms available for those who just want a secluded spot to take a lunch break or relax while taking in the scenery in a beautiful location.

The Trail.

The Trail.

If you are looking for some further adventure on your holiday here in Florida, consider taking the Caladesi Island ferry to nearby Caladesi Island. Accessible only by boat, Caladesi Island is another great spot for nature lovers as the island has three miles of nature trails in addition to some beautiful beaches. The ferry departs from Honeymoon Island, and it’s a short ride to nearby Caladesi Island. The beaches here are superb and were selected as America’s Best Beach in 2008.

Park Hours and Fees:

Open daily from 8 a.m. - sundown, 365 days/year

  • $8 per vehicle, 2-8 people.
  • $4 per vehicle with single occupant.
  • $2 for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • $4 per vehicle starting 1 hour before sunset.
  • Pavillion Rental - $30 per day.

Getting to Honeymoon Island State Park is very easy, and does not require a boat trip as the island is connected to the mainland by a causeway. The island can be reached by taking SR 586 from Dunedin across the causeway out to the island. Dunedin is located about twenty-five minutes north of Clearwater Beach in the Tampa Bay area on Florida’s west coast.

If you love nature and are looking for a pristine beach area with options for plenty of other activities to keep everyone happy, consider spending a day at Honeymoon Island State Park.

Honeymoon Island State Park Beach

Honeymoon Island State Park Beach

Questions & Answers

Question: How much do you need to pay for parking at Honeymoon Island State Park?

Answer: There is an entrance fee of $8 per vehicle with up to 8 passengers. The fee covers entry to the park, parking, use of facilities, trails, etc. The fee drops to $4 per vehicle starting one hour prior to sunset.

Question: Are the facilities handicap (walker) accessible at Honeymoon Island State Park?

Answer: For the most part, yes. In these nature parks, there will always be areas that are difficult to get to. But, at Honeymoon Island State Park the Nature Center is handicap accessible and most of the trails are wide, flat, and have benches placed periodically. I believe there is an area of the beach that is also handicap accessible.

© 2013 Bill De Giulio


Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on November 17, 2019:

Thank you Gela. Honeymoon Island is one of our favorite places to visit in the Tampa area. Glad you enjoyed it.

Gela on November 17, 2019:

This island is amazing, comfortable, clean and worth your visit. Everything you read about is true. Hands down BEAUTIFUL.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on October 03, 2019:

You are very welcome, Laura.

LauraJata on October 03, 2019:

Thank you for a great blog post. I really appreciate all the information and pictures!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on January 21, 2019:

It's a dirt trail, very flat, so I don't see why not. After heavy rains you do get some standing water, which can be an issue. The trail is well maintained.

Pam on January 21, 2019:

Is the osprey trail handicapped accessible? My husband has a scooter.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 08, 2014:

Hi Lenzy, Sorry for the late reply, I've been away for the last week. So glad you enjoyed Honeymoon Island. Happy to see you here. I have a lot of catching up to do. Have a great weekend.

Lenzy from Arlington, Texas on February 05, 2014:

Hi Bill, I just read your hub on Honeymoon Island State Park and it sounds like a great place to visit. Your descriptions of a destination always lure me to want to go there. Thanks for another great hub.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 27, 2013:

Hi Margaret. You will not de disappointed. And yes, you can take your dog, we saw many while we were there. The Hillsborough River is great for kayaking, lots of wildlife. If not there the Weeki Wachee River a little farther north is another great spot to kayak, lots of manatee.

Thanks for the visit. Let us know how your trip goes.

Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on May 27, 2013:

We're going to be camping in Hillsborough State Park next winter, and will be fairly close to this park. I'll have to check it out - sounds like a great place to spend the day, and a great place to take my dog. Voted up, useful and interesting.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 27, 2013:

Hi there peepingtomb. Check it out if you get an opportunity, it's an interesting place with a little something for everyone. Seeing the bald eagle and great horned owl certainly made my day.

Thanks for the visit, have a great day.

peepingtomb on May 27, 2013:

I am about 90 minutes South of here. I definitely wouldn't mind including this in one of our quarterly road trips.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 27, 2013:

Hi Sheila. You would love this park and you would have a field day with your camera here. It really is a great place to spend a day walking the trails, looking for the various birds and spending some time at the beach. Thanks so much for the vote, share, pin, etc.... have a wonderful Memorial Day.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on May 27, 2013:

This looks like a beautiful place to visit. I would love walking the beach and finding various sea shells. I would really be excited to see the great horned owl, eagles and osprey! Your descriptions are so wonderful and your pictures are beautiful. This will be another Florida place on my bucket list. Voting this up, useful, beautiful, interesting, sharing and pinning!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 28, 2013:

Hi beingwell. Thanks for the visit and comment. Honeymoon Island is a great place if you ever find yourself in Florida. Thanks for the vote and share. Have a great day.

beingwell from Bangkok on March 28, 2013:

The place looks nice! I love going to islands. Voting up and shared.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 25, 2013:

Hi Wayne. Lucky you to live so close to a beautiful state park. I know what you mean, too many visitors can spoil a good thing. I must say the few times we have been there it was virtually empty, which is a good thing if you live nearby :) Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 25, 2013:

Hi Susan. If you are down there check it out, it's a beautiful spot with great beaches and the wonderful wildlife. My in-laws live just up the coast in Newport Richey so we get to visit every so often. Thanks for the read and comment.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 25, 2013:

Hi Glimmer Twin. To be honest it was the wildlife that drew me to Honeymoon State Park. I like the beach but really like looking at eagles and osprey and owls. If you're ever in the area check it out. Thanks and have a great day.

Wayne Barrett from Clearwater Florida on March 25, 2013:

My neighborhood! My house is on the map you provided. It is a very nice, secluded beach. Shh, don't tell anyone else. ;-)

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on March 25, 2013:

I stay in Dunedin when I visit Florida but yet I've never been to Honeymoon Island State Park. I may be going in a couple of months for a visit and will have to visit Honeymoon then. Great article!

Claudia Mitchell on March 25, 2013:

Awesome photos! This looks like a wonderful place to visit. Florida has such beautiful parks and the birds at this one really interest me.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 17, 2013:

Hi Alicia. Thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed the hub. It is a beautiful place for a visit if you ever make it there. Have a great day.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 16, 2013:

This looks like a great park to visit, Bill. I've never been to Florida but I hope to make it there one day. Thanks for sharing the information and the lovely photographs.

rebekahELLE from Tampa Bay on March 16, 2013:

Well, if you're anywhere near Boston, you're in one of my favorite parts of the country -- although, only to visit! I couldn't live with the cold winters and snow, even though very pretty. Today is beautiful here. I live about a half hour away from Honeymoon Island. I would love to visit the island within the next week, maybe tomorrow since I will be near Dunedin. Take care, and thanks for making such great hubs about your travels.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 16, 2013:

Hi rebekahELLE. I'm jealous. I'm back up here in New England and you're down in the nice weather of Florida. If you get a chance take a drive up and check out the new owl chicks and maybe the eagles have hatched by now. Wish I were there to go see them. We did go to Caladesi Island years ago and it is also beautiful. I would write a hub about it but I have no digital pictures and it was years ago. Maybe on our next trip down there we'll go back. Many thanks for stopping by, enjoy the weekend.

rebekahELLE from Tampa Bay on March 16, 2013:

Wonderful hub. Now you are in my neck of the woods. Honeymoon Island is a beautiful, tranquil piece of paradise. I have been here many times and it is just as you have described. I love the photographs of the eagle and the owls. You have inspired me to take a drive this weekend to see if I can spot the beautiful eagle. When we first moved to Florida years ago, after we unpacked the moving van, we drove through the back roads to a park near the Gulf, and we spotted an eagle and huge nest. It is such an amazing site to see one in its natural environment. Caladesi Island is also beautiful and is the island south of Honeymoon. Well done, I love reading your travel hubs.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 16, 2013:

Thanks rajan. It is a beautiful place. Great place to collect shells and just go to the beach for a day. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend,

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 15, 2013:

Lovely pictures and a wonderful read, Bill. What attracts me to this Honeymoon Island State Park is the beach which looks glorious; I love beaches and the fact that I could collect shells. I just love shells.

Voted up and useful and beautiful, of course.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 15, 2013:

Hi Gail. I think the locals are trying to keep there little gem to themselves. I'm not sure we would have found it either if my in-laws didn't live in the area. Next time you're in the area check it out, it's beautiful. Thanks for the visit, vote, pin. Have a great weekend.

Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on March 15, 2013:

We have been up and down that coast many times over the years, but I have never heard of Honeymoon Island. It would be great to see and photograph a bald eagle, not to mention the other attractions. Thanks for sharing this information! Voted up and pinning.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 15, 2013:

Hi torrilynn. It certainly is. If you ever find yourself on the west coast of Florida check it out. Thank you for stopping by and the vote. Have a nice weekend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 15, 2013:

Hi Mary. You would enjoy this area. There are some great beaches and parks and lots to do outside. It was wonderful to be able to see the owls and eagles. Thank you for the support, votes, etc. always very much appreciated. Have a great weekend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 15, 2013:

Hi Suzie. It is a beautiful spot and seeing the owl and bald eagle was a great treat. Fortunately my in-laws live nearby so we have the opportunity to visit these beautiful places when we're down there. I'm certainly looking forward to the next trip. Thanks for the votes, shares, pins, etc., much appreciated.

torrilynn on March 15, 2013:

looks like a gorgeous and incredible place to visit

due to your description and your pictures

thanks for the read

Voted up

Mary Craig from New York on March 15, 2013:

Oh I'm jealous! What a beautiful spot. I love the beach but my husband loves the mountains. So we live near the mountains and vacation at the beach ;)

As always Bill your pictures are beautiful. What lovely birds and to be able to watch and wait for the babies!

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on March 15, 2013:

Hi Bill,

This looks a gorgeous spot to definitely put on the radar when visiting Florida. Your pictures are stunning, how cool to get one of the Great Horned Owl and the Bald Eagle so clear and vivid. There seems to be much to see and do here, great inclusion on your Florida series!

All the votes, shares, tweet and pinning on travel!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 14, 2013:

Hi Liz. Lucky you. You have a gem right in your backyard. I'm sure you know how lucky you are. We have also been out to Caladesi Island which is also beautiful. We love the Osprey also and seeing the owl and the Bald Eagle was a real treat. Thanks for the visit.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 14, 2013:

Hi Peggy. Check it out next time you are in the area. I think you will love it. It's one of our favorite spots down there, great beaches and the wildlife is amazing.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 14, 2013:

Hi Joe. It really is a great park. The honeymooner may be gone but the wildlife has moved in. It was a real treat to see the Great Horned Owl and the Eagle. Would love to go back to see how the new arrivals are doing. Many thanks for the visit.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 14, 2013:

Hi Bill. Lucky her. I see a comment from Liz in Dunedin, perhaps that is her. Thanks as always for the great support.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 14, 2013:

Hi Carol. The Naples area is beautiful also. It's south of where my in-laws are located. Thanks so much for the nice comments, the vote,and the pin.

Liz Davis from Hudson, FL on March 14, 2013:

I'm the lucky Dunedin resident! I love Honeymoon Island. And ospreys. Thanks for sharing!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 14, 2013:

We have certainly been near this Honeymoon Island State Park on several occasions when visiting my aunt and uncle who used to live on the west coast of Florida, but we were always busy seeing other sites. This looks like it would be well worth spending some time there. Thanks for the information and wonderful photos. UUB votes.

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on March 14, 2013:

Voted Up and UBI, Bill!

It's great that one can actually observe the new arrivals--owl, eagle, and osprey chicks--and their progress over the next few months.

Honeymooners' loss meant a safe refuge for these beautiful birds and animals. I like the fact, too, that the State of Florida allows visitors to comb the beaches for shells as well as provide ample access for fishing enthusiasts.

All in all, this island retreat has a lot to offer to vacationers. Thanks for sharing, Bill!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 14, 2013:

A good friend of mine on HP lives in Dunedin...how cool that you wrote about it. I'll share this with her. Nice job my traveling friend.

carol stanley from Arizona on March 14, 2013:

We lived in Florida for four years..Naples area....I never heard of this park..which I am most sorry as we love exploring and hiking. Great hub with so many good details. Great job as always Bill....Voting Up+++ and pinning in my travel section...

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