About Caladesi Island
Your imagination can get a vigorous work-out at Caladesi Island. While walking the three miles of undeveloped beaches, it's easy to imagine yourself as a 16th century Spanish explorer looking at the "new world" for the first time. Or, you can enjoy a Robinson Crusoe fantasy of having a tropical island to yourself. The island's unspoiled beauty offers a glimpse of Florida the way it looked centuries ago.
Caladesi Island State Park is located three miles offshore from Dunedin, just north of Clearwater Beach.
It is one of the few undeveloped barrier islands left in the state and the 600-acre park is accessible only by boat. The beaches front the Gulf of Mexico and the bay side of Caladesi is a mangrove swamp, offering refuge for numerous wading birds and shorebirds. Much of the island's interior is a ridge of virgin pine flatwood and live oak hammocks. A self-guided nature trail winds through the island's interior. Park rangers are available to answer questions.
Construction on the island is limited and confined to one small area, preserving the remainder of the island in its natural state. Construction includes boardwalks, picnic shelters, bath houses, a ranger station and concession stand. The boardwalks provide access from the beaches to the bath houses and picnic areas while protecting the fragile dunes and sea oats.
Transportation to the island is easily arranged through the Caladesi connection, a ferry service that operates from Honeymoon Island, Clearwater and connecting to Clearwater Beach.
Once the boat returns to the mainland, the island's silence is penetrated only by the periodic scream of ospreys soaring overhead. Several of these birds of prey nest on the island.
Except for a homestead established by University of Zurich biologist Henry Scharrer in the late 1800s, the island has remained unchanged except by nature. After Scharrer's death, the island returned to its primitive state. Florida purchased Caladesi Island for a state park at a cost of $2.9 million in 1968.
In addition to discovering Florida in its natural state, Caladesi offers excellent opportunities for swimming, fishing, shelling, boating and nature study. However, the island is open only during the day, from 8:00 a.m. until sunset.
Once the sun sets, the island is inhabited only by a few boaters allowed to overnight at the small marina and sea turtles who nest on the beaches during summer nights.
Café Caladesi located inside Caladesi Island State Park features casual style beach fare.
Our menu includes: Fish and Chips, Best Island Burger, and Fruit Smoothies. Relax and enjoy the Ferry ride from Honeymoon Island aboard the Caladesi Island Connection. Upon Arrival step inside the Café Caladesi for an array of gifts, souvenirs, and beach accessories!
Caladesi Island was "Voted Best Beach 2008 " so if you are looking to relax Café Caladesi offers Beach Chairs and Umbrellas for rental. For the adventurous, a Kayak trail takes you through Caladesi Mangrove Tunnels into the Gulf of Mexico. Ocean Kayaks are available for rental at the park.
CAFE CALADESI ON CALADESI ISLAND STATE PARK
For information on Cafe Caladesi (727) 443-4369, Park Rangers (727) 469-5943