Outside of Tampa, just east of the city of Dunedin, you'll find 1 Causeway Blvd., also known as Honeymoon Island State Park. While you don't have to get married to visit this beloved Pinellas County destination, you do have to pay a small entrance fee for admission. But believe us, you'll think nothing of it once you see this stunning state park's white sands and brilliant blue waters.
Reportedly Florida's most popular state park, this barrier island haven is known for more than its beautiful beaches. From tame hiking trails, to wonderful birding and shelling opportunities, the park has a lot to offer those looking to take it easy. Pet parents will be happy to know its south beach is open to frolicking fur babies.
Although the park is a great place for day trips given its picnic areas, abundance of parking lots, and dedicated pet beach, please note that camping is not allowed on the island. Below is some general info to help you plan your trip to this tropical paradise.
Hiking at Honeymoon Island State Park
In addition to lying around on the beaches of this balmy Gulf of Mexico haunt, you'll definitely want to get up and walk around a bit. You can choose from either the short Nature Trail near the park's Rotary Centennial Nature Center, or the Osprey Trail that runs along its Pelican Cove. At about 2.5 miles in length, the Osprey Trail passes through some of Florida's only untouched slash pine patches.
As you maneuver through mangroves, keep an eye out for gopher tortoises and armadillos, not to mention flying friends like bald eagles and great horned owls. Similarly, you'll want to avoid rattlesnakes, as they are also known to slither around the park.
If you're lucky, you might even get a glimpse of manatees or dolphins breaching along the park's north beach.
Hog Wild History
Once known as Hog Island, Honeymoon Island used to be connected with neighboring Caladesi Island, which is now also a state park. In the early 1920's, a hurricane split the two in half, giving birth to the Hurricane Pass waterway that now separates them.
During the 1940's, investors tried to rebrand this gulf gem to drum up tourism. They renamed the island and covered it with romantic shanties, hoping to attract young couples. When the U.S. entered World War II, the island and facilities fell into disuse.
The state bought the island in the 70's, and turned it into a Florida State Park in the early 80's.
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