Honeymoon Island

Honeymoon Island Beach
Honeymoon Island beach

Honeymoon Island State Park and theDunedin Causeway make up my second favorite Tampa Bay beach experience.

Kayak Rentals
Kayak Rentals on Dunedin Causeway

On the three-mile long causeway you can drive right off the road onto the beach to fish or rent/launch boats. Dunedin Causeway is also a branch of the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, an ever extending rail trail.

The causeway ends at an entry kiosk. The cost to enter is $8, somewhat more than St. Pete. Beach. The park has a nice visitor’s center, oodles of parking, and a short walk between parking and the wide, sandy beach. Two cafes provide food and awesome views of the beach.  They rent the usual equipment needed for the beach, plus bikes and kayaks.  A Ferry that launches near the Park gate will take you to Caladesi Island, a great place to snorkel and hunt for shells.

Frenchy's Outpost
Frenchy’s Oupost

 

Many people will pedal from the trail into the park, with perhaps a stop at one of the restaurants along the causeway. We sampled one of the newest restaurants, Frenchy’s Outpost...a part of a local chain.  Frenchy’s is a colorful, comfortable, mostly outdoor, sports bar offering a wide selection of beers plus reasonably priced bar food. They specialize in grouper, which they serve in a multitude of ways. On a rainy day, which it was when we visited the other day, it was a fine alternative to the beach.

Endless Beach

Honeymoon Island is at the north end of town so that it is possible to park in downtown Dunedin, hop on a bike or even rent a bike and pedal into the park and back into town to enjoy the eminently walkable downtown Dunedin all in one day.

Dunedin Sunset
Dunedin Sunset

St. Pete Beach: My Favorite!

 

Pass-a-Grille
St. Pete Beach

Yes, there is an actual place called St. Pete Beach. It isn’t St. Petersburg Beach and it isn’t even part of St. Petersburg. The Beach sits about as far south in Pinellas County as one can be and it is my favorite beach. Pinellas County has 130 miles of beach   fronting the Gulf of Mexico, with some islands thrown in for good measure. No one can say that we don’t have our pick of beaches. If you arrived here looking for a beach, there are many lists of best beaches published, but these are flawed because repetition of a beach will actually cause the beach to be retired from the list. Often the list will be limited to one beach per state and many of Florida’s beaches have long since been retired: You may just be seeing the runner-ups.  Arguably, I am talking about the strongly held opinion of one person here, but it seems to me that in talking with friends, many locals consider the section of St. Pete Beach called Pass-a-Grille  to be our best beach.  In our mind runner-up beaches include Honey Moon Island State Park  and Ft. De Soto.  St. Pete tends to get the nod from locals because of the reduced hassle factor.  It is one of the last remaining beaches on the Gulf where you can simply drive to the beach; open your car door; and walk across a short boardwalk out onto the beach.

Pass-a-Grille Beach
Another gorgeous sunset

This is great if you have a lot of stuff, need easy access to restrooms, have mobility challenges, or have small children. Though you will have to pay to park right at the beach, free two-hour parking is often available nearby.   It’s just up and out here to a wide sandy beach.  Not only is this beach easy to get to by car, you can also travel there via a charming trolley

Central Avenue Trolley
Trolley awaits passengers

or direct bus from Downtown St. Petersburg.  Still thinking about it, well consider that the beach still sits on a quiet, lightly-traveled road, easily crossed to choose from one of a number of restaurants with amazing views and good food.  One restaurant, Paradise Grill, even sits right on the beach. Rent beach equipment or buy what you need in the shop.

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Perhaps, that is what makes this our favorite…it combines the peace and quiet of the beach with a small town Main street. Combine all this with some of the best sunsets, and you have beach nirvana. Sunset photography is, well, it’s a Gulf thing that even most locals do on a fairly regular basis. St. Pete Beach guarantees locals and tourists, alike, great swimming, photos and food.

Sunset in St. Pete
Sunset in St. Pete