Get ready, folks, because I'm about to spill the beans on a hidden gem you won't want to miss – Honeymoon Island!
Yup, you heard that right. This magical slice of paradise isn't just for lovebirds – it's a family-friendly haven too.
And guess what? I've been there myself!
Before our epic adventure, I spent countless hours scouring the depths of the internet, gathering every nugget of information I could find.
And now, I'm serving up this treasure trove of Honeymoon Island wisdom in a snazzy, bite-sized guide – just for you.
But this isn't just another run-of-the-mill travel blog post. Oh no, my friends. I've actually set foot on this glorious island, and let me tell you, it was ah-mazing!
The best part? It wasn't swarming with tourists. That's right. Plenty of parking space and peace and quiet on the beach.
Of course, that was a weekday in October, and it was cloudy. Still extremely beautiful! and the water was warm enough to swim in!
I'm going to share more about the best times to visit this State Park and a lot more.
So, buckle up and hold onto your hats because we're diving headfirst into the ins and outs of Honeymoon Island.
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, Honeymoon Island 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 all about the island beach.
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 we were there in October, we found a huge congregation of two types of pelicans and other birds too. If you're into birding, definitely bring your binoculars and cameras!
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.
The water temperature was nice even in October. During the coldest months of the year, water temperature goes only as low as 68. And it's as warm as 86 degrees in the summertime!
I waded in the water, but other family members went in for a swim, and had a good time!
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.
Visiting Honeymoon Island During Wintertime
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 may also be able to spot manatees close to shore in the wintertime thanks to the area's temperate climate. While it can vary during wintertime, you usually won't run into overwhelming crowds.
Visiting Honeymoon Island In The Spring
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.
Summertime Visit To 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.
Visiting Honeymoon Island In The Fall
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.
We visited during the fall and had no problem finding ample parking near the water.
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?
Honeymoon Island State Park is not immune to the occasional occurrence of red tide events.
Red tide, caused by a bloom of the microscopic algae Karenia brevis, can lead to the discoloration of seawater, often giving it a reddish-brown hue. This natural phenomenon can impact marine life and cause respiratory irritation in humans and animals.
While red tide events do occur at Honeymoon Island, they are not constant or guaranteed, and their frequency and intensity can vary from year to year.
When Is The Red Tide At Honeymoon Island?
The occurrence of red tide at Honeymoon Island State Park is typically unpredictable and can vary from year to year.
However, red tide events are more likely to occur during the late summer and early fall months (August to October) when water temperatures are warmer and nutrient levels are higher.
This is not a strict rule. Red tide can happen at any time of the year.
Before heading out to the park, check local news and updates from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to stay informed.
Can You Swim In The Red Tide?
Swimming during a red tide event is generally not recommended due to the potential health risks associated with exposure to the algae.
The toxins released by Karenia brevis can cause skin irritation, burning eyes, and respiratory issues, particularly in individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD.
But what many locals consider to be even worse is the stench... Red tide can lead to significant fish kills, resulting in an unpleasant odor and an increased risk of bacterial contamination in the water.
In short, if you know there's red tide coming to this park, avoid visiting.
Where To Stay When Visiting Honeymoon Island State Park
It's not all that easy to find a place to stay on Honeymoon Island itself. You can, however, stay nearby.
If we've 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 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 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.
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 may even catch 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!
Last but not least, if you'd like to pin this post and save it for your next visit to Florida, here are a couple of Pinterest images -