History of Honeymoon Island
First mapped none-too-imaginatively as Sand Island and later given the less-elegant moniker Hog Island (for a farm that came and went), Honeymoon Island got its current name in 1939.
To raise awareness of the area a developer had purchased for $30,000 and attract newlyweds to the 50 thatched-roof bungalows he erected, he convinced Life magazine and other media to publicize a contest with the winners overnighting there — and thus the sandy stretch picked up its new name.
Perhaps the most famous Honeymoon Island vacationers were cast members from the Wizard of Oz, including the little people who performed as the "Lollipop Guild."
Alas, they and the cottages — torn down after the island became a state park — are long gone. Visitors now are only permitted to stay till sunset, but Honeymoon Island remains a pristine place to swim, snorkel, stroll along the fine-sand beach together, and picnic. You can also bring your dog, as long as he stays leashed.
Honeymoon Café, the snack bar in the park, serves burgers, beer, soft drinks, fish-and-chips, and ice cream along with the swoon-worthy views. Arrive early, and the breakfast menu featuring muffins, donuts, and a bacon-egg-cheese biscuit can sustain you.
Gifts of Nature on Honeymoon Island
Like many Gulf of Mexico beaches, Honeymoon Island is a wonderful spot for shell collectors. Tiny homes that once housed scallops, snails, and more exotic creatures from the deep that have been tumbled by storms and washed by warm waters are now yours for the picking. They make great trip mementoes, and creative types decorate their home with shell art.
Honeymoon Island State Park is also popular with bird watchers who are likely to encounter sandpipers, terns, egrets, plovers, and other shore birds. Feathery visitors include several threatened and endangered species.
Past mangrove stands and along the island's northern loop trail couples can hike through one of South Florida's remaining virgin slash pine forests; the trees provide nesting spots for osprey.
There is a ferry that runs year-round to neighboring Caladesi Island, rated one of the best beaches in the country. It was physically connected to Honeymoon Island up until a hurricane in 1921. Now it takes one half hour to sail to Caladesi on the ferry. After you arrive you can do anything from having a cook-out to renting a kayak.
Weddings at Honeymoon Island State Park
An imaginative and affordable place for an outdoor wedding, Honeymoon Island State Park venues include the beach itself with a flower-bedecked archway or the open-air pavilion that faces the water on two sides.
The pavilion can fit 80 guests and has a dance floor. Larger parties can be accommodated in a tent. The facility handles catering and provides table linens. Other party supplies, including flowers, must be provided by the couple.
Although the park officially closes at sunset, that is the optimal time for weddings. The pavilion is no longer open to the public at that time, and by paying an hourly ranger fee to monitor the area, a wedding party can celebrate at Honeymoon Island State Park until 11 pm.
Honeymoon Island Info
Honeymoon Island State Park
#1 Causeway Boulevard
Dunedin, Florida 34698
Florida State Parks Web Site
Note: There is a small admission fee to enter the park.
Planning a Honeymoon Island Visit
Take a Sightseeing Cruise around Honeymoon Island > - embarks in Clearwater
Flying to Honeymoon Island
The closest airports to Honeymoon Island are Tampa and St. Pete.