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30 May 2008

Caladesi Island Is Best Beach in 2008

Just before Memorial Day weekend, Caladesi Island State Park was recognized as the number one beach in the nation by coastal geologist Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, also known as "Dr. Beach." It ranked second last year, edged out by Ocracoke Island on NC's Outer Banks.

Caladesi - in Dunedin, FL - is accessible only by boat or the ferry from Honeymoon Island. Dunedin Beach/Honeymoon Island - was one of my favourite hang-outs during my high school years. My friend Doris and I spent every possible moment in/on the water. If not at the beach, then in the bayou -about 10 paces from Doris' front door... I had to walk an extra half block - swimming, fishing, rowing... Talk about paradise on earth. Since then, Honeymoon Island has been 'improved' and parkified. Too bad, really. It was so wild and relatively unspoiled. Sure, quite a few people spent time there, but nothing like the crowds on Clearwater Beach, just a few miles south. We walked north on the beach, around a bend, and could well imagine being the only humans there.

Anyhow, if you're in the area, be sure to pay a visit. The ferry costs around $9 ($5.50 for kids) and you're only allowed to stay on the island 4 hours. This time of year, you'll find nesting ospreys. Maybe you'll meet a gopher tortoise on the nature trail. Or rent a kayak and paddle through the mangrove-covered trail to St Joseph Sound. Get just a whiff of what Florida once was.

Florida State Parks - Caladesi Island


SwampAngel65 said...

Sounds wonderful! But, can only stay 4 hours? How does anyone know how long you've been there?

SophieMae said...

SwampAngel, I wondered that myownself. Apparently, they ferry a bunch one way, then ferry them back 4 hours later. But how do they keep track of everybody? If you get there in your own boat, you can stay as long as you like. If you register before sundown, you can dock your boat there overnight.

Meems said...

sophie: I've heard some not so great things about the type of "crowd" the privacay of Caladesi attracts these days. But I haven't been there myself in years. My mom and I wander over to Honeymoon Island once in a while just for the afternoon/evening... even though it is parkified it is still fairly quiet and relatively natural.

I'll have to make the effort to check out Caladesi for myself to see if the rumors are true.

Hope you had a great weekend.
meems @Hoe&Shovel

SophieMae said...

Meems, I reckon it's inevitable that a spot like that will draw those 'crowds'. It's nice to see Honeymoon Island hasn't been completely touristified. I sure hope it stays that way.

I'm working on Duller to schedule a day or so for us to go back over that way. Wish it could have happened before summer, but I'll take what I can get. 8-}