Honeymoon Island State Park
A casual ride on Alternate US 19 turned into a full day of smiles and nature’s abundance in Dunedin, Florida. I really hadn’t planned to end up in this location, I would have stopped at the causeway because the view from above the coast lined roads was enough to satisfy my craving for sand and sea. Yet, the beauty of not having shit to do is, you can keep riding, and I did, until the road ends and forced me into a state park entrance gate. Not really wanting to fight the bugs, I made a Uturn and left. But I noticed the crowd of cars and thought 🤔maybe I’m missing something and decided to go check it out. I figured this was nothing more than a great spot to park, change clothes, use the restroom, maybe a picnic, and at most a shower if you were fishing or swimming off the causeway shores. How pleased I am with my ignorance………
Entrance into the park is 4 dollars per person or 8 dollars per family vehicle, ask the ranger for a map of the park, this will give you an idea of all the amenities that miss the naked eye. As you drive in you are assaulted with palm trees and snippets of sea views on all sides. Just park, get out and walk around a bit before you make any quick decisions unless you came with a specific activity in mind. Plan to become mesmerized with the shades of the water, just grab a chair and enjoy a few moments on the sand in the sun listening to surf, jet skis and the laughter of children. Don’t feel like sitting, stroll the coastline, get your feet wet, and if the tide is low, walk out to the sandbar and do it for the “gram” but prepare to wait in line because apparently this is a favorite of young women sporting the latest thong bikini seeking a great scene for social media. Can’t say I blame them, the location is one I would choose as well.
I know we are avoiding public restrooms, but walk across the parking lot, climb the stairs and thank me! Yes the restrooms are clean, equipped with showers and an area to change, but most importantly, you have a direct view of sky and sea.
Tired of the crowd, it was small but there were a large number of clusters of people on the sand, they did well staying in their family bubbles. Take a short drive and check out what I coined the “quiet” side, the view is different, the water is more mangrove, the ducks hang out in isolation, small benches offer a spot to rest and palms provide much needed shade from the blaze of the sun. This is a great spot for a book, or an intimate moment between you and someone special.
If you are looking for a spot to teach a lesson or do some outdoor exploration with a group of inquisitive children (k-12) check out the discovery center and native plant garden. Learn about the plants native to the Florida soil and the animals that thrive on land and in the coastal waters. Please advise them not to touch or tamper with the plant or animals, they are critical to maintaining the natural ecosystems.
This park will require a return trip, they have a ferry that takes you to the additional barrier islands that can be seen in the distance. You can also find information on party planning, receptions and if I was organizing a wedding, this would be a magical location.
As with all parks in Florida, please avoid wearing perfume and any form of fragrance unless you are prepared to be assaulted by the sand flies or no see ums as they are commonly called, these will drive you to drink hard liquor because you don’t see them, they leave a small red welp and you assume it’s a flea that terrorized your eyes and ankles. Pack bug spray, mosquitoes are out of hibernation with the warm temperatures and lather up with sunscreen. If you own a hat, pack it , the sun shines bright regardless of the temperature and a sun burn is guaranteed if you aren’t protected. At many parks normal amenities and food services are in short supply even though they are open. I would suggest you stop at a local restaurant, bakery or shop, grab some sandwiches, snacks and drinks, you don’t want to get caught hot and hungry with a vending machine being your only option for nourishment.
Prior to reaching Dunedin, stop in Tarpon Springs also known as Greece in Florida, grab a gyro or two a large salad, a few pieces of baklava and spanakopita, you will be the envy of your beach neighbors, but you simply won’t want to share, social distance for the win! Most important, have fun, enjoy the time alone or with those you love and explore something new!!
Much love from the brown girl, traveling the world, trying to make something beautiful. Check me out on social media at Unnerved Traveler on Facebook and Instagram!
Honeymoon Island State Park 1 Causeway Boulevard, Dunedin, Fl 34698 (727)-241-6106 http://www.FloridaStateParks.org #FLStateParks