Honeymoon Island State Park
Honeymoon Island is one of the top Florida destinations for fun in the sun, and as the name implies, it's an ideal place to steal away to on a honeymoon. Honeymoon Island State Park encompasses much of the island, and it's where most visitors hang out for the day. Developments near the park haven't threatened its unspoiled appeal, which helps to make it such a good place to explore. It's just a short drive across the causeway from the Pinellas County mainland if you want to get to Honeymoon Island, which, coincidentally, is the main jump off point for nearby Caladesi Island.
Honeymoon Island is the northernmost barrier island found off the coast of Pinellas County, and just south of it is Caladesi Island. Not far south of Caladesi Island is Clearwater Beach, which offers a much livelier beach scene for those who are up for more in the way of activities and nightlife. Honeymoon Island State Park is more ideal for those who want to leave the relative bustle of the nearby cities behind for a while. During your visit to this 2,810-acre park, you're bound to make a break for the beach before anything else. The Honeymoon Island beaches are divine, much like the area beaches in general, which is part of the reason why a Clearwater area getaway is so inviting. Soft sand and warm water helps to make a day at a Honeymoon Island beach ideal, and there are just enough park amenities to make your visit a convenient one. The best Honeymoon Island beaches line the Gulf of Mexico coast, which is the western side of the island.
Honeymoon Island Beach Image: B A Bowen Photography (flickr)
Swimming and sunbathing are among the top things to do on the Honeymoon Island beaches, and you can also try some surfing or fishing. The surfing doesn't exactly rival the kind of surfing that you can enjoy in California or Hawaii, but it's often good enough for some fun turns and such. Beginning surfers should find the surfing conditions to perfect for them. As for anglers, fishing in the passes on the northern and southern side of the islands can see you catching flounder, redfish, trout, snapper, tarpon, and a few other species. When you're not hanging out at the beach or doing some fishing during your visit to Honeymoon Island State Park, some of the other activities that you can enjoy include hiking, biking, and kayaking. Hiking through the virgin slash pine forests is bound to please if you like nature, and you're encouraged to enjoy a picnic at some point during your visit while you take in the attractive scenery.
If you enjoy walks on the beach and hunting for shells, then the Honeymoon Island beaches should more than suit your fancy. The shelling opportunities here are good, thanks to the Gulf of Mexico currents, which deposit a healthy variety of shells on the west coast of Honeymoon Island. Between shelling, walking on the beach, sunning, swimming, surfing, hiking, and everything else that you can enjoy at Honeymoon Island State Park, you're bound to get hungry. The park offers concessions when you need something to eat or drink, so you won't have to travel to the mainland to satisfy your needs. The food and drink choices are somewhat limited, but they should meet your needs. Other amenities that you will find at the park include showers, modern restrooms, and a playground.
Honeymoon Island State Park is open daily from 8 a.m. until sundown. Perhaps you'll travel back to the mainland before sunrise to catch the nightly Sunsets at Pier 60 festivities. There are admission fees if you want to access Honeymoon Island State Park, and they are more than reasonable, especially when you consider the beautiful scenery and the lack of crowds that the park affords. You'll pay extra if you're driving in, so you might look to save some money by walking or biking in. As a side note, picnic pavilions can be rented for the day if you are interested.
Top image: santafeegret (flickr)