Explore every mile of Florida’s coastline, and you’ll come across lengthy sections of beachfront framed by protective barrier islands, some inhabited, some unoccupied.
Step aboard the Cala-desi Island Ferry and be transported to 2,450-acre Cala-desi Island State Park, where you’ll find one of America’s most beautiful natural beaches, if you enjoy the beauty of pristine shorelines, the peace and tranquilly of remote beaches, and the thrill of discovering a place known by few others.
The only way to get to the island is by boat, and the most convenient boat is the ferry, which departs from nearby Honeymoon Island, northwest of Clearwater.
1. Cost to take the ferry to Cala-desi Island:
Cala-desi can be reached in two ways: Private boat or the Honeymoon Island State Park’s Cala-desi Connection Ferry service are both options.
Take Curlew Road (Hwy 586) west out of Dunedin to catch the ferry. It will carry you across the Dunedin Causeway to Honeymoon Island, where you will be charged an admission fee. Then, after a few hundred yards, follow the instructions to the Cala-desi Ferry parking lot and buy tickets at the ferry booth.
The boat will take you to Cala-desi Island for a leisurely 15–20-minute journey across the tranquil waters of St. Joseph Sound, where you will disembark at the dock close to the cafe on the island’s bayside.
Then, after a 5-minute stroll across the island on concrete sidewalks and a wooden dune walkover, you’ll arrive at the beach (boardwalk). Beach wheelchairs are supplied on a first-come, first-served basis from park guards.
2. Is the ferry running to Cala-desi Island?
As long as the weather permits, the Cala-desi ferry runs every day. Starting at 10 a.m., the ferry leaves every hour. The latest boat voyage off the island is around 4 p.m., however, on days when there are a lot of visitors, the ferry may run much later. When you buy your ticket, they’ll inform you when you may expect to return.
If you arrive at 3 p.m., they may inform you that you must return at 4 p.m. or that you have until 7 p.m. It runs every half hour during the busy season (there are 2 ferry boats). Your stay on Caladesi is limited to four hours.
- This is to ensure that no one waits until the last ferry of the afternoon to return home, resulting in overcrowding.
- Pets are not permitted on the ferry.
- Coolers are allowed on the island, but alcohol is not. I highly recommend bringing your own drinks and snacks.
- Pets are not permitted on the beach but are permitted around the concession area if on a leash.
- The taking of live shells is prohibited.
For more info call Caladesi Island Adventure at 727-734-5263 or Visit the Caladesi Island Adventure website.
3. How long is the ferry ride from Honeymoon Island to Caladesi Island?
Caladesi Island can only be reached in one of two ways. You can stroll to Caladesi Island from Clearwater Beach, Florida, or take a 20-minute ferry journey from Honeymoon Island!
From the Dunedin Causeway, Sail Honeymoon leases catamarans and kayaks. Although it is cheaper to take the ferry to Cala-desi and rent a kayak on the island, you can make the very short paddle to Cala-desi Island.
Kayaking from the causeway has the advantage of allowing you to stay on the island longer because you are not subject to the 4-hour limit imposed on ferry passengers, and you can go earlier in the morning. It’ll take you around half an hour to paddle.
The first ferry to Cala-desi does not leave until ten o’clock in the morning. If you arrive on Cala-desi by kayak or other private boats, you will be charged a nominal per-person admission fee.
4. Cala-desi vs Honeymoon Island:
Cala-desi and her sister, Honeymoon Island, were separated by a hurricane in 1921, which resulted in the formation of Hurricane Pass. Honeymoon Island is located directly across the Dunedin Causeway from the mainland.
On the Osprey Trail, you can see a Florida virgin slash pine stand for the first time. The Park has a low number of sunbathers and is well-known among locals as a location to go when Clearwater Beach becomes too crowded.
Honeymoon Island State Park is pet-friendly, with a half-mile stroll off the main road to a dog beach. There are useful amenities, such as two bathhouses and one cafe, much as there are in Caladesi.
The honeymoon, on the other hand, can be a little rough at times. If you desire seclusion, keep moving away from the wood shelters and trust your Teva sandals to find a location. Cala-desi, in my opinion, is far superior to Honeymoon.
The honeymoon is a bit of a slog. There isn’t much to see here except for great views of the water, which you can obtain from Cala-desi, which also has the nicer of the two beaches.
You can take a ferry from Honeymoon to Cala-desi, but you’ll have to travel to Dunedin first. The beaches on Honeymoon Island are natural and gorgeous, as well as reasonably large.
Couples planning their own honeymoons frequently set the tone here by marrying on the beach. On Honeymoon Island, weddings are common; you’ll often see signs directing visitors to the appropriate ceremony or chairs being set up for the occasion.
You might even catch one in the act. The sunsets on Honeymoon Island are as spectacular as any on Florida’s Gulf coast, with pinks, purples, blues, and oranges swelling and fading like breathing watercolors as the sunsets.