Caladesi Island Boating Guide: Everything You Need to Know
Nestled just off the coast of Clearwater Beach in Florida, you’ll find Caladesi Island, a picturesque barrier island perfect for boaters and water travelers. Check out our Caladesi Island Boating Guide for everything you need to know before your trip.
What to Expect from Caladesi Island
Caladesi Island is a vibrant natural space that is perfect for outdoorsmen and women. You can expect to see hammocks, coastal dunes, and inviting Gulf waters.
Take a stroll along the mangroves, relax on the soft sandy beaches, or get active in the clear waters with some kayaking or fishing. The island is also known for stunning sunsets, so don’t forget your camera.
Getting to Caladesi Island from Clearwater Beach
Caladesi Island is a short boat ride away from Clearwater Beach. Located off the Gulf of Mexico west of Clearwater, the island can be reached by a private (or rented) vessel. It’s a mere ten-minute boat ride (depending on your speed) and approximately three miles away from its popular neighbor.
If you start closer to Clearwater Beach (and Pier 60 Fishing Pier), you’ll boat north for a few minutes. This is closer to a three-mile trip. On your three-mile expedition, you’ll experience the majestic coastal beauty of Florida’s natural barrier islands with the lovely city of Clearwater in your rearview.
Caladesi Island stretches from Dunedin Causeway (at its northern top) to approximately Main Street (at its southern point) on the mainland. If you head west from in between either of these pinpoints, you’ll end up on the east side of Caladesi Island State Park. This trip is only a mile to a mile and a half long.
Boaters wanting to pass through the 1-mile-long natural mangrove tunnel must watch out for fallen tree limbs that act as a crossing barrier, so going slow and steady is key here!
Pro Tip: Dock at Caladesi Island State Park Marina! There are 108 slips on the bayside marina at Caladesi Island. You can stay overnight, but you have to register before sundown. And, of course, there is an amazing gift shop and snack bar on-site, too.
Getting to Caladesi Island from Honeymoon Island Park
If you’re coming from stunning Honeymoon Island, you’ll want to point your boat south and follow Honeymoon Island to its southernmost point. Look for the South Beach Pavilion Cafe and Honeymoon Island State Park Pet Beach to know you’ve arrived at the right place.
Activities at Caladesi Island State Park
The park provides fantastic beachcombing possibilities for those looking for a more laid-back adventure– miles of pristine white sand beaches and an abundance of exotic shells waiting to be discovered.
For an even more intimate experience, visit some of the wonderful nature trails (Caladesi Island Wildlife Trail is gorgeous) throughout the park as they weave through acres of tropical landscape.
Depending on your boat’s length, you may be able to explore the mangroves. This wetland area on the island’s east side feels like a whole different world; it’s transformative and magical. It’s definitely somewhere special that we believe everyone should witness at least once in their lifetime.
History buffs should visit the southeastern side of the island, where they will find the Henry Scharrer Homestead (156-acre; est. 1880s) between Scharrer Cut and Dunedin Pass. This homestead site is mostly ruined now, but you can still see the foundation, a fireplace, and a chimney, plus some partially buried artifacts that have been left behind for visitors to view carefully.
Pro Tip: Make sure to pack well for your trip to Caladesi Island State Park! You’ll want to bring sunscreen, hats, and fresh drinking water. The island is relatively limited in shops and supplies. There is a snack bar and gift shop at the Caladesi Island State Park Marina; however, it has run low on stock before, especially during the busy season (weekends, holidays, and sunny summer days).
If you do find yourself in need of a more extensive shop or a delicious bite to eat, head south to the connected Clearwater Beach Island. It’s only two miles from the center of Clearwater Beach Island. At its heart, you’ll find delicious eateries like Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, Alba Pizza and Cafe, Badfins Food and Brew, Bait House, and Cabana’s Coastal Grill.
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