Honeymoon Island Every Thing You Need To Know


Honeymoon Island

Honeymoon Island

You’ll fall in love with Honeymoon Island. A quick drive over the Dunedin Causeway, north of Clearwater, brings visitors to the beautiful beaches and Gulf of Mexico waters of this Florida state park. On the Osprey Trail you can get a rare look at a Florida virgin slash pine stand. Honeymoon Island is friendly to critters, offering a dog beach that is a half-mile hike off the main road. A ferry shuttles beachgoers to nearby Caladesi Island, recently voted America's Best Beach. Honeymoon Island – it isn't just for lovers.

Lay of the Land: A natural barrier island, this state park boasts four miles of sandy beaches, nature trails, and abundant wildlife. Don't be surprised to see an endangered gopher tortoise walking across your path or hear the call of an osprey---or the bark of Fido, who may explore the dog beach. The Pinellas Trail has a spur that runs the length of the Dunedin Causeway right to the park entrance. All pets are required to be on a six-foot handheld leash.

Little Known Facts: Honeymoon Island got its name from a Life Magazine contest for newlyweds in 1939; couples won a two-week honeymoon stay on the island. Photos of these love birds can be viewed at The Rotary Club Centennial Nature Center. In 2007 Honeymoon Island was Florida's most visited state park.

Why You Should Go: Beaches, nature and accessibility. In addition to being a great destination, it's also the launching point to Caladesi Island State Park America's #1 Beach for 2008. * Please note there is an admission fee. 

A short drive from Tampa, beautiful Honeymoon Island offers visitors an escape from the bustle of city life.

One of Florida’s best-loved state parks, Honeymoon Island has more than four miles of beach to explore along with a three-mile trail through one of the last remaining virgin slash pine forests.

When looking skyward, eagles, osprey and great horned owls can be seen, while ground animals include gopher tortoises, raccoons and armadillos.

A trip to the Rotary Centennial Nature Center helps visitors learn about the park’s history and natural resources. Find out how Honeymoon Island received its name!

Swimming, fishing, shelling, hiking and bicycling are all popular activities that make Honeymoon Island State Park an ideal getaway.

The park is also the ferry terminal for access to another unspoiled state park, Caladesi Island.


There are approximately four miles of beaches to be enjoyed at Honeymoon Island State Park. A favorite spot for pet owners is the southern portion of beach which contains the park’s Pet Beach. Here your pet can enjoy a dip in the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Your pet must stay on a six- foot hand-held leash at all times while in the park and we do ask that you clean-up after your pet.

Honeymoon Island Every Thing You Need To Know

The beach also offers excellent fishing. Anglers regularly catch spotted sea trout, mackerel, snook and many other species of saltwater game fish. The shelling at Honeymoon Island is exceptional and many visitors spend their day at the beach hunched over looking for that elusive treasure. 

Although frequented by over one million visitors each year, the more energetic can find some peace and solitude by walking the two-and-a-half-mile sand spit. Park at the northern most parking lot, hit the beach and head north. The sand spit has grown during the past forty years from a few sand bars to over two miles of the most pristine beach you can find anywhere in Florida.

Honeymoon Island Weather
Honeymoon Island Weather

Weather November to March

Probably the best and most pleasant time to visit the Island is from November through to March when the temperature and humidity are a lot lower and more certainly a you’ll enjoy your trip to the island far more than other times of the year.

Weather April

April is by far the driest month. Not too many people on holidays during this time but good to know for weekend trippers.

Weather June to September

These are the wettest months of the year. Incredibly the island has an average of 7 inches of rainfall per month during these few months. Be sure to have an umbrella and raincoat but also bring your sunscreen! 

Worst time to visit to Honeymoon Island

Besides the obvious considerations over the weather on Honeymoon island, try to avoid coming to the island in late summer/fall. The mosquitoes are at their max numbers and nearly unbearable. The last thing you want is for your sweet blood or that of your young kids to be sampled by gazillions of mozzies.

What to pack for your trip to Honeymoon Island

·        Sunscreen (even in the winter months)

·        Rain gear or an umbrella just because it almost always rains!

·        Always bring plenty of drinking water and a picnic lunch as you cannot purchase food on the island

·        Bring binoculars if you are bird watching

·        Insect repellent or long sleeves

A Super Quick History of Honeymoon Island

Prior to The Tampa Bay hurricane of 1921, (also known as the 1921 Tarpon Springs hurricane) Honeymoon Island and nearby Caladesi Island were one large island known as Hog Island. The hurricane split the island in half and the waterway between the two has since been called Hurricane Pass.

A business-man by the name of Clinton Washburn purchased the island in the 1930s and had the vision to turn it into a getaway destination for Newlyweds and so Honeymoon Island was born. He built in the region of 50 holiday cottages and publicized to the American public in the early 1940s through the newsreels and magazines. The advertisements promised undiscovered pleasures for newlyweds. Once WWII began for the Americans, and so too it marked the end of the beginning of the decline of the thatched cottages. They fell into disuse and slowly the elements took their tole on the structures. 

In the 1960s a developer planned to build a residential area on the island but this plan went no further when his permit to construct was not renewed by the state of Florida.

Thankfully for all, birds included, the state purchased all the land over time and on December 7th 1981, Honeymoon Island State Park was created.

Honeymoon island Hotels

Honeymoon Island State Park is a gorgeous spot to visit, but couples cannot stay there. They'll have to book a room at a hotel in a nearby location, like Clearwater Beach, and plan on paying a daily entrance fee of $8.

Is there a bathroom in Honeymoon Island?

There is a Limitless playground located in the picnic area on the north end of the island. Restroom facilities may be periodically closed for cleaning and availability may be limited. Several are ADA accessible. Showers for rinsing off are located near the boardwalks leading out to the main beach areas.

Honeymoon island Dog beach

Have a fun filled day with your dog in the water at the Honeymoon Island State Park dog beach. It's located on the southern side of the park, and is a wide-open doggie playground. The water is shallow, so dogs can walk in the water, and really cool off on a hot day. 

Dogs are not permitted on the beach. There is a dedicated dog beach at Honeymoon Island State Park. Dogs (on a maximum 6-foot leash) are only permitted on the Pinellas Trail. The Dunedin Causeway is also a popular place for fishing.



Honeymoon Island came to be in 1921 when a hurricane created a channel between what is now Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands. The barrier island was originally intended for commercial development but was later designated as a Florida state park. The landscape of the island differs greatly between the north and south shores. The northern shore has remained relatively undisturbed, while the south was significantly altered in 1969.  The southern shore was filled with 1.5 million cubic yards of limestone pebbles, rocks and quartz sand which was dredged from about 2000 feet offshore. The filled area of the beach actually put the shoreline at about seven feet above sea level, but since then the waters on the shore have carried away much of the fill, leaving a shoreline of hardened limestone rocks. These rocks, while not considered aesthetically appealing or good for recreation it created a unique landscape that is unlike any other beach in the area. It also serves as a testament of how human influence can affect natural areas. The fascinating geology of the island extends beyond its limestone shore. Underneath Honeymoon Island is the Hawthorn formation. This consists of clay, marl, sand and limestone and dates back to a time when the earth was undergoing dramatic climate transitions. The island itself is between 4,800 to 7,000 years old, with much of the surface area being influenced by rising sea levels. Because it is a barrier island, the land is easily shaped by the forces around it. Humans will mostly likely see this area continue to change over hundreds of years.


The dunes both help preserve the beach as well as provide habitat for a variety of different plant species. Many plants rely on beach dunes for survival. These plants face the harsh reality of living so close to the ocean – exposed to wind and sea spray, they find little nutrients in the sandy soil. Yet a variety of plants, including sea oats, sea rockets, and beach elder, grow and spread their roots in the dunes. These roots in turn help keep the dune stable, holding the sand in place and allowing the dunes to accumulate more. 

The dunes are also important for the preservation of the beach. Storms can cause large waves to crash into the shore, causing tons of sand to wash back out to sea. Beach dunes can play a vital role in keeping the beach from being totally washed away: Because they store so much sand, some of it eventually makes its way back to the beach, replenishing the sand and keeping the beach intact.

Though they can look large and imposing, beach dunes are very fragile: Walking or driving on them can harm the dune plants that keep them stable, eventually leading to the dune crumbling away. Always follow posted signs and remember to steer clear of the dunes, so that they and the beaches can continue to wow visitors for years to come!

Honeymoon Island Experiences


Spend the day exploring beautiful Honeymoon Island with Wheel Fun Rentals. We have pedal-powered fun for all ages with our multi-passenger Surreys and beach cruisers. Ride to your heart’s content on paved trails throughout the island. 

Helmets are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under.


Surf and pass fishing can yield catches of flounder, snook, trout, redfish, snapper, whiting, sheepshead, pompano, Spanish mackerel, cobia, ladyfish and tarpon. 

All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season. 

A fishing license may be required. More information is available at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website, Fishing in Florida.


Observe one of the few remaining South Florida virgin slash pine stands along the Osprey Trail, which provides visitors with 2.5 miles of walking.


Kayaks can be rented through the concession or, if you have your own, explore Pelican Cove, which lies between the sand spit and nature trail. 


A picnic area is located on the northern end of the island. There are picnic tables, two covered pavilions, restrooms and barbecue grills.

Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited, except at the restaurant in the park where alcohol is sold. Alcohol is allowed during park-sanctioned events, within designated areas only.


Surfing is allowed in the park, and it's usually pretty good on the north end by bathhouse 3.


With approximately four miles of shoreline, beach lovers will find a variety of activities with areas designated for swimming on the main beach, a pet beach on the south end, and great shelling and walking on the north end, which turns into a sand spit. Showers are located near the boardwalks leading out to the main beach areas.

Beach flags.

Visitors to coastal parks are reminded to pay close attention to the Warning Flag Signs posted at welcome stations and on the beaches. These flags indicate the swimming conditions at the beach:

·        Double red flags mean absolutely no swimming because of high winds and undertow currents

·        Yellow flag means swim with caution and stay close to shore

·        Green flag means that the waters are safe

·        Purple flag means that marine pests are present.

·        Please use caution! Lifeguards are not provided.

Walking and Running

Walkers and runners enjoy the park drive, the Osprey Trail and four miles of beach.


Honeymoon Island used to be a good honeymoon spot, and it's still perfect for a wedding.

Wildlife Viewing

Honeymoon Island is home to many actively nesting birds, including osprey, oyster catchers, snowy plovers and least terns. Roseate spoonbills, snowy egrets, great blue herons and many other species are often observed feeding in the bay, beaches and estuaries surrounding the park.

Gopher tortoises and armadillos can be found in the picnic area and along the nature trail. 

Accessible Amenities

Honeymoon Island State Park is committed to providing a variety of amenities accessible to all of our visitors.

These amenities include:

·        Rotary Centennial Nature Center

·        Elevated boardwalks to the beach.

·        Beach wheelchairs are available for free. Inquire at the ranger station.

·        Concession with food and gift store.

·        Picnic facilities with tables and grills.

·        Limitless playground at picnic area.

·        Parking.

·        Restrooms.

·        Service animals are welcome in all areas of Florida State Parks.


With approximately four miles of shoreline, beach lovers will find a variety of activities with areas designated for swimming on the main beach, a pet beach on the south end, and great shelling and walking on the north end, which turns into a sand spit. Showers are located near the boardwalks leading out to the main beach areas.

Nature Trail

Observe one of the few remaining South Florida virgin slash pine stands along the Osprey Trail, which provides visitors with 2.5 miles of walking.


Parking is available for the beach, at the picnic area and at the Rotary Centennial Nature Center.


Dogs are allowed in designated areas such as the pet beach on the southern tip of the island and on the nature trail. Pets must be on a 6-foot hand-held leash at all times in these areas.

Pet owners must pick up after their pets and properly dispose of all pet droppings in trash receptacles.

Service animals are allowed in all areas of the park.

Picnic Pavilion

There are two covered picnic pavilions and grills located next to the nature trail. These non-reservable pavilions are available on a first-come, first-served basis.


There is a Limitless playground located in the picnic area on the north end of the island.

Restroom Facilities

Restroom facilities may be periodically closed for cleaning and availability may be limited. Several are ADA accessible.

Shower Station

Showers for rinsing off are located near the boardwalks leading out to the main beach areas.

Have you visited Honeymoon Island? Do share some photos or tips for travel there in our comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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