Often voted as one of the best beaches in the United States, Caladesi Island State Park is a reprieve from the crowds. Located in Dunedin, FL, near Clearwater and St. Petersburg, Caladesi Island beach is an undeveloped barrier island that harkens back to another time in Florida’s history. With fine white sands, clear water from the Gulf of Mexico that is between 75 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit, excellent shelling opportunities and lots of peace & quiet, Caladesi Island beach is the perfect place to get away to enjoy some of the beautiful nature of the area that doesn’t exist in many other places.
The ferry runs 363 days a year (closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). An additional fee includes the entrance fee to get on the island. Yes, it seems like paying twice to get there, but it is well worth the cost once you arrive – promise!
If you own your boat, it is $6 for up to eight people to enter the park. If you decide to kayak from the mainland (approximately 2.5 miles each way), it will cost $2 per kayaker.
Things To Do
There is a variety of outdoor activities to do at the park. Boating, jet skiing, paddle boarding and kayaking are the perfect way to explore the island and the 3-mile mangrove trail (motorized vehicles aren’t allowed in the mangroves, which are protected). Fishing is permitted – a Florida fishing license may be required.
There iThere is a small hiking trail at the park. Wear closed-toe shoes and use caution, as rattlesnakes are on the island.
A playground and picnic tables are available for groups to enjoy. There are also grills available to use. Visitors aren’t permitted to bring alcohol onto the island.
Caladesi Island Beach
And, of course, there’s the beach! Nearly 4 miles long, the beaches are the main reasons people visit the island. One of the few undeveloped areas of Pinellas County, Caledesi Island beach is peaceful and relaxing. There are cabanas and chairs for rent, or you can bring your own. Beach wheelchairs are available.
If you’re interested in more than just sitting on the beach, you can also bird watch. Part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, you might see birds such as the American Oystercatcher, the Rose-breasted Grosbeak and pelicans catching their dinner.
Or try your hand at shelling. The island is close to some of the iconic shelling beaches of Florida. And Caladesi Island beach has some fantastic shells available. With the lack of development, you’ll find a variety of shells that are still whole and rarer than in other spots around the state.
Is Caladesi Island Beach Pet-Friendly?
Pets are allowed on Caladesi Island with a 6-foot leash and must stay on the trails. However, no pets are allowed on the beaches of Caladesi Island or the Caladesi Ferry.
Food & Restrooms
There is an onsite restaurant and shop where you can purchase postcards, beach amenities, cooked food, chips, beer, and wine. Beer and wine can only be consumed if purchased in the restaurant and on the balcony of the restaurant; no alcohol is allowed in the park or consumed on the beach.
Restrooms are located on the boardwalk to the beach and are handicap accessible.
Visit the concession stand to rent kayaks, canoes and beach cabanas.
While traditional tent camping isn’t allowed, and there are no accommodations for sleeping on the island, boat camping is allowed. For $24 per night (and $7 for electrical hookup), boaters can stay in one of the 108 boat slips at the marina.na.
There is a grill next to the marina for cooking. Reservations for boat camping on Caladesi Island can be made on the Florida State Parks website.
Caladesi Island State Park is open from 8 am to sunset 365 days a year.
Located in Dunedin just north of Clearwater, and about 45 minutes from Tampa International Airport, Caladesi Island beach is accessible via Honeymoon Island State Park, which is located at the west end of the Dunedin Causeway via Curlew Road.