We've been exploring awesome Florida destinations in our blog lately, while preparing for our own adventure in The Sunshine State. Today, it's time to take a closer look at a magnificent site and state park that truly captures the imagination: Honeymoon Island. Sounds romantic? This is actually a great family destination as well. We've put together everything there is to know about Honeymoon Island into one thorough and detailed guide.
Where Is Honeymoon Island?
Honeymoon Island is located just off the Florida shoreline, nearly Palm Harbor, Ozona, and Crystal Beach. Once called Hog Island, the island was renamed Honeymoon Isle in 1939. Nowadays, it sees more than one million visitors a year. Some come to renew their vows or hold a wedding, while others come to explore Honeymoon Island State Park.
The park's address is #1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698. The park itself is 385 acres and is home to four miles of beach. You'll find the park on the west end of Honeymoon Island.
How to get to Honeymoon Island State Park
You can get to Honeymoon Island State Park using a number of different methods, including:
- Line bus
If you're staying near Honeymoon Island, you can also walk down to the park. Make sure to bring sturdy shoes if you take this route!
How far is Honeymoon Island from Tampa airport?
The Tampa airport is the closest airport to Honeymoon Island and Honeymoon Island State Park. It's 25 miles from the airport to the park, an average drive of 40 minutes. If you're looking to start exploring straight away, you can use the following methods to reach your destination:
- Taxi - $80
- Line 35 - $29 - $34
- Shuttle - $55 to $90
Note that each different mode of transportation will have a varying arrival time, and that driving from the Tampa Airport to the island is both your most timely and affordable option.
How far is Honeymoon Island from Orlando?
If you want to combine a Disney trip with a visit to this out-of-the-way spot, you can. It's 112.6 miles between Orlando and Honeymoon Island. Once again, you can take any of the following modes of transportation to reach your destination - for a price:
- Train - $103 to $129
- Taxi - $103 to $129
- Amtrak - $45 to $60
Once again, your cheapest transportation option is probably a rental car. The average drive from Orlando to Honeymoon Island takes two hours, but that time will vary based on the mode of transportation you choose to use.
What Is There To Do In Honeymoon Island State Park?
Honeymoon Island State Park is a versatile space. With four miles of beach to explore and a litany of hiking trails at your disposal, you can spend all day walking through Florida's varying ecosystems or soaking up the sun. This is also a fantastic park for bird watchers, who will be able to spot eagles, osprey, and great horned owls, depending on the time of year.
When you visit Honeymoon Island State Park, you'll be able to:
- Ferry over to Caladesi Island
No matter what you're interested in doing, you'll be able to find something exciting about Honeymoon Island State Park.
Can You Swim at Honeymoon Island State Park?
As mentioned, you are allowed and encouraged to swim at Honeymoon Island State Park.
Hiking In The Park
But what if you want to spend the day getting your boots dirty? There's plenty of opportunity at this park. The best trails include:
- Osprey Trail - if you want to see some of Florida's most iconic birds, then this is the trail for you. A veritable rookery, this one-mile trail will take you past some of the most populated nesting spots for ospreys, pelicans, eagles, and more. Enjoy your time in the mangroves and see if you can't spot some nesting feathered friends!
- The South Beach Trail System - for a hike that's less bird-oriented, you can take to the South Beach Trail System. Near the Caladesi Island Ferry, this 1.2-mile walk will take you down by the beach, where you can wet your feet in the waters of the Gulf.
- Nature Center Trail - for a more educational hike, why not walk the quarter-mile trail by the state park's Nature Center? This hike is an easy one for kids and will help you learn more about the Honeymoon Island area.
- North Beach - for a longer walk, you can kick off your shoes and walk the 2.5 miles of sand on North Beach.
When's The Best Time Of Year To Visit Honeymoon Island State Park?
Honeymoon Island State Park is beautiful all year round. If you're trying to plan a visit, though, you'll want to know what weather and time best suit your needs.
- A winter visit gives you the chance to spot the park's horned owls and osprey. These feathered friends use the winter months to bunker down in their nests. You'll also be able to spot manatees close to shore in the wintertime thanks to the area's temperate climate. Business varies in the wintertime, but you usually won't run into overwhelming crowds.
- A spring visit lets you see a litany of migrating birds at the state park, not to mention stingrays. If you're not keen on traffic, though, you'll want to avoid visiting during this time of year. Spring is the peak wedding season for Honeymoon Island.
- Summer brings blistering temperatures as well as additional birds, like the frigate bird, to the state park. Again, the weather may keep some families away, but wedding season will have died down some, making the crowds at the park a little more bearable.
- Fall sees another surge in weddings, but it also offers you a glimpse of the state park's bald eagles. Autumn in Florida marks the beginning of the bald eagle's mating season, which means you may get to spot eagles pairing off to make homes with one another for the winter.
What Time Does Honeymoon Island State Park Open?
Honeymoon Island State Park is open 365 days a year from 8 AM until sundown. If you're trying to plan out your day, you can choose to visit in the morning, when animals are more active on the trails, or in the afternoon, when more people are likely to be in the park. If you're interested in making a day of your park visit, you can plan an evening picnic at one of the state park's gazebos.
How Much Does It Cost To Get Into Honeymoon Island State Park?
State parks like the Honeymoon Island State Park do not charge entry fees at a per person rate. Instead, these parks charge by vehicle. That way, no matter how large or small your visiting party is, you'll all be able to enter the park for a reasonable price.
Honeymoon Island State Park charges $8 per vehicle.
Is There A Red Tide At Honeymoon Island?
Red tide is the colloquial name for an algal bloom or a HAB - harmful algae bloom. A red bloom forms when algae colonies begin to mix with toxic chemicals in the water. These blooms can harm the health of any nearby humans, aquatic mammals, birds, or other wildlife. These types of blooms can make it difficult to breathe the air around them and can readily kill fish, while also making local shellfish dangerous for humans and animals to consume. You can readily identify an algae bloom by looking for red-tinted water.
The good news is that Honeymoon Island and Honeymoon Island State Park have remained free of red blooms.
When Is The Red Tide At Honeymoon Island?
Once again, Honeymoon Island and Honeymoon Island State Park do not experience red tides or harmful algal blooms. This means that you'll be able to swim, hike, and fish while remaining at ease.
Can You Swim In The Red Tide?
If you don't know anything about red tide, you might be tempted to go swimming in the midst of one of these algae blooms. Red tides are generally safe for humans to swim in. However, the more severe ones will cause skin irritation and eye burn, if you open your eyes underwater. Red blooms can also wreck local fish populations, leaving the local waters full of still life. To avoid the aforementioned irritation or less-literal eyesore, you may want to stay out of the water if you spot it turning red.
Where To Stay When Visiting Honeymoon Island State Park
It's not all that easy to find a place to stay on Honeymoon Island. You can, however, stay nearby. If we're convinced you to visit the Honeymoon Island area, you can book a room at any of the following hotels for a quick and easy drive over to the island.
Are you looking for a luxurious stay? Then you'll want to make a reservation at the Innisbrook. This hotel comes equipped with a full-service space and sauna, not to mention four different golf courses. Both you and the kids will be able to enjoy 11 tennis courts, outdoor pools, and five on-site restaurants.
The rooms at the Innisbrook aren't anything to sneeze at either. You'll have access to a kitchenette regardless of your suite size, as well as a flat-screen TV and WiFi. More exclusive features, like access to a balcony or sofa bed, may come at an extra cost, but if you need them, they're worth it.
The Innisbrook is three miles away from Honeymoon Island. If you want to book a stay at this hotel, you can use its online portal.
Woodsprings Suites Clearwater
For a more laid-back stay near Honeymoon Island, you can book at a room at Woodspring Suites Clearwater. Here, you'll have access to free parking, laundry facilities, in-suite kitchenettes, and a flat-screen television alongside your standard hotel amenities. A mere four miles away from Honeymoon Island, you can set up camp at Woodsprings Suites Clearwater and comfortably set up an itinerary for the days to come.
Opal Sands also offers you a luxurious look on Honeymoon Island. Ideal for newly-weds and families alike, this hotel will let you really relax into your vacation. Here, you'll find a full-service spa, a Tiki bar with views of the Gulf, and an on-sight Italian restaurant. The rooms, too, come standard with a balcony, television, and refrigerator in addition to your requested amenities.
Opal Sands is the best hotel to stay at if you're looking to spend most of your Honeymoon Island vacation on the beach. While not on the island itself, Opal Sands gives you direct access to the beach, where you can watch dolphins play in the early morning shallows. With just a two-mile drive, you'll find yourself settled on Honeymoon Island, where you can look back across the Gulf for a view as grand as any in the Sunshine State.
Over to you
Have you ever visited Honeymoon Island, Florida? We'd love to hear what you think about this guide! If you have anything to add, please leave us a comment and let us know!