Walk to Caladesi Island State Park
One of the reasons I love staying on the North Beach side of Clearwater Beach, Florida is that it makes it easier to walk to Caladesi Island State Park. Caladesi Island State Park is one of the completely natural islands along Florida’s Gulf Coast. The pristine Gulf Coast island is filled with mangroves, peaceful hiking trails and quiet, soft, white beaches with palm trees even touching the calm waves of the ocean.
There are only two ways to get to Caladesi Island. You can take a 20-minute ferry ride from Honeymoon Island or you can walk to Caladesi Island from Clearwater Beach, Florida!
Yes, you can walk from Clearwater Beach to Caladesi Island. The two islands weren’t always connected, but they are now. The islands used to be separated by Dunedin Pass. In the 1980’s sand began to accumulate, narrowing the pass. Then in 1985, Hurricane Elena rolled up the Gulf Coast of Florida, sealing the pass completely. With Dunedin Pass sealed, Clearwater Beach and Caladesi Island became connected, making it possible to walk from Clearwater Beach to Caladesi Island.
The walk to Caladesi Island State Park from Clearwater Beach is beautiful, but it isn’t a short walk. Before setting out to walk from Clearwater to Caladesi Island, you should pack a small bag with water and a snack. If you’re staying on the North Side of Clearwater Beach (at or near Surfside Condominiums or the Villas of Clearwater Beach) the walk to Caladesi Island State Park is ~2.2 miles. That’s just the “entrance” of Caladesi Island State Park. I say “entrance” because it is only marked with a sign on the beach.
Caladesi Island State Park has public bathrooms and a small snack bar available towards the middle of the island. That area of Caladesi Island is just over a 3-mile walk. While the public bathrooms are always open, the snack bar may not be, so be sure to pack some water.
One of my favorite things about Caladesi Island is to walk to the end of the beach on the north side of the island. It is an incredibly beautiful and peaceful area. With all of Caladesi and Clearwater Beach behind you, you can sit in the soft sand and watch boats travel in and out of Hurricane Pass, the pass separating Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island. With Caladesi Island being so narrow, you can easily tell you’re sitting on the furthest north part of the island. The beautiful view will leave you with a strong sense of accomplishment since it’s a far walk, and you can’t walk any further. From the North Beach area of Clearwater Beach, it’s a ~4.5-mile walk to get there.
Tips for the walk to Caladesi Island State Park
- Pack some water and a snack.
- Bring some sunscreen so you can reapply while you’re on the beach hike.
- Check the weather before you go and avoid any pop-up rain showers.
- Start the walk as it is transitioning from high tide to low tide. That way you’ll be able to make it there and back before it’s high tide. (I made this mistake once. One part of the walk to Caladesi Island involves walking past a small line of trees that touch the ocean waves even during low tide. Hit this area during high tide and instead of a cool wave washing across your toes, you may be knee-deep. This short part can be avoided by following a trail that leaves the beach, but the trail can hold water after rains as well.)
How much does it cost to visit Caladesi Island State Park?
- $2 per person. Please pay at ranger station.
- $6 per boat (up to eight people); $2 each additional person
- $2 per kayaker
By Ferry from Honeymoon Island…
- Entrance to Honeymoon Island: $8 per vehicle (2 to 8 people)
- Entrance to Honeymoon Island: $4 single-occupant vehicle
- Entrance to Honeymoon Island: $2 pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass
- Caladesi Connection Ferry fees: $16 per adult
- Caladesi Connection Ferry fees: $8 for children ages 6 to 12
- Caladesi Connection Ferry fees: Children 5 and under are free
- No pets are allowed on the ferry
For updated costs visit: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/caladesi-island-state-park
This has been my vacation spot for 5 years. I stay at Clearwater and walk to the Island. It’s a beautiful walk. You wouldn’t want to do it with small children
Agreed. While both Clearwater Beach and Caladesi Island are very family-friendly beaches, the walk to Caladesi would be tough with small kids. It’s a beautiful, but long, walk. 🙂
Hi, my sisters , mother and I are staying at the Hyatt in Clearwater beach for thanksgiving week. Is it possible for us to walk to the island from that hotel? It looks amazing
Thank you ,
Hi Michele! Yes, it’s possible to walk from the Hyatt to Caladesi Island. It is pretty far though. From the Hyatt area of Clearwater Beach, it looks like it’s a little over 3 miles to where Caladesi Island starts, 4 to 4.5 miles to where the bathrooms are and a little over 5 miles to the northern edge of Caladesi Island. If you want to shorten the walk, you can grab a ride (Uber/Lyft) to the corner of Eldorado Ave. & Juniper Street. There’s a small public access point to the beach located there. From that beach entrance, head north for just over a mile and you’ll reach the start of Caladesi Island. (~2 miles to the bathrooms and ~3.5 miles to the northern edge of Caladesi Island.) It’s a long, but beautiful walk – and you’re reaching the perfect time of year for a long beach walk!
I was following this comment. Thanks for your response Brad. Very helpful. I’ll be there early Dec and will def visit this quaint island
I’m glad I was able to help. I hope you have a great trip! If you have any other questions about the Clearwater Beach area, feel free to leave a quick comment here and I’ll respond as soon as I can. 🙂
Yes thanks Brad! I’m also going to be in Clearwater the beginning of December and was planning the walk as well I wasn’t sure how far it was since I’ve never been here before. Definitely going to do it your way! Thanks again Fran
Thank you so much for the extremely informative blog! I am now going to set out from the Hilton tomorrow. I did not know I could walk there and have always wanted to visit the Island. I went south today to Sand Key and had a very nice ten mile walk. Looking forward to Caladesi and thank you again for the welcomed information.
Thank you, Paul! Have a great walk to Caladesi, it’s a perfect day for it!
I have always wanted to do this walk. Do you know of any organized group walks that are offered in the area?
There is a group in the Clearwater area. I’ve never been to any of the group walks so I’m not sure how well attended they are, but you can find more info here: https://www.meetup.com/gowalkers/
Thanks for the blog. A good read. Do you know if the public access you mentioned at Eldorado Ave. & Juniper Street has a spot for a bike lockup? We’d like to bike as far north as possible and then walk the rest. Thanks again,
Hi Kyle, yes there is a small bike lockup area at the Eldorado Ave. & Juniper Street public access point. Biking to that area is a great idea. Have a wonderful time!
Hi There.. planning to visit USA (coming over from South Africa) in August 2020- will be Motorbiking- doing Route 66- Sturgis Rally etc in bout a month and a half – so there is no rush for sightseeing etc. Would it be possible to sleep over in a tent for one night on the Island? – Just thought that might be a “different” experience
Unfortunately, tent camping is not allowed on Caladesi Island. They only allow Boat Camping. It sounds like an amazing trip through! If you’d like a beachfront view while you’re in the Clearwater Beach area, we’d love to have you stay with us!
Hello! Is there any public parking nearby. I would like to walk to the island but not sure if there is a place to park without getting tickets.
There is not any public parking at the public beach entrance at Eldorado Ave. & Juniper Street. Your best bet may be to use the North Beach Parking Plaza which is $3/hour and a daily maximum rate of $30.
We’re coming at the end of October and are planning to walk to Caladesi island. How can we find out when is low and high tide?
Daily and future tide information: https://www.usharbors.com/harbor/florida/clearwater-beach-fl/tides/
Are there any seashells to be found on Caladesi Island like they used to be on Sanibel & Captiva Islands?
I’m 71 years old. When I was 10 to 12 years old, my parents took me to Captiva Island to dig through the shell mounds piled high on the beach. Buried inside the shell mounds were the most beautiful shells I had ever laid eyes on and mostly shells that that had never been exposed to the sunlight !!! The diversification of all the different species of shells was truly amazing. I was captivated by all the beautiful colors and patterns embedded in the shell mounds and pristine condition of each of the shells. I still vividly remember finding 2 Junonia Volutes, numerous Paper Fig shells ( delicate, with no chips or cracks or animal remains still inside any of the shells and too many more different species of shells too numerous to mention and still in excellent condition. Sadly, when my wife and I went back to Captiva four years ago to look for more shells, there were none to be found anywhere on the beach !!!
Crazy question – Should u were gym shoes?
Not a crazy question at all! I never have worn gym shoes and they really aren’t needed. I have seen many people wearing them though, especially if they’re running some of it. Shoes may help in one stretch of a small trail on Caladesi. The trail is all sand, but there are usually some small sticks from the trees nearby in the sand. You can also avoid this small trail just by walking in the ocean during low tide – the deepest it gets is knee-high during low tide. (This area is shown in the photo at the top of this post).
I hope this helps!
Hi, Can you walk to the island and then take the ferry back to clearwater? Thanks.
Unfortunately no. The Caladesi Island Ferry actually connects Caladesi Island to Honeymoon Island. More information about the Ferry can be found here.
could we ride bikes between Clearwater beach and Caladesi island? if so, do we need special “sand bikes”?
While it’s possible to ride bikes on the beach, I wouldn’t recommend it. The beach is very soft sand that is difficult to ride on. The only area to really ride on the beach is right at the edge of the water where the most people are walking as well. Once you get further north, the beach isn’t as crowded and it could be easier to ride but once you get in the Caladesi area you either have to walk in the water which can be up to knee-deep or follow a trail that’s very soft sand and pretty harrow and not at all bike-friendly.
There are bike rental locations on Clearwater Beach though that will rent all types of bikes including breach cruises that have much wider tires to make riding on the beach much easier.
If you’re going to attempt riding a bike to Caladesi, I’d recommend renting a beach cruiser and ideally going when the beach isn’t too busy. Ideally during the week during the off-season (Fall/Winter – and October is actually one of the best months in terms of weather and some great local events!)
Thanks for this amazing thorough information. I was planning to go to Caladesi Island tomorrow, using the ferry- Now I will be following these instruction for walk from clearwater to the island.
Glad to help, hope it was a great time!
I usually park at the Hilton , how far is it from there or would you suggest parking somewhere else . Today we went to how eymoon island did the osprey trail and went out all the way to the end where rhe water is, walked back and sat at north beach and swam. Then walked the beach for miles came back and swam. We were hoping to do sowmthing similar at caladesi. But not sure if parki g at Clearwater, walking, coming back to swim would be too long. What are your suggestions of where to park, shortest walk in, can you swim on the island? And also I see comments about shoes, do people go barefoot?
This is a rough guess in distance… from the Pier 60 / Hilton area to Shell Tree (near the start of Caladesi Island) is ~2.75 miles away, to the first Caladesi Island bathroom: ~3.8 miles away, and to Hurricane Pass / North End of Caladesi Island: ~5.25 miles away.
Parking can be difficult to find but the further north you can find parking, the shorter the walk is. I think the further north public parking street is Idlewild and there are only a few public spots there.
You can swim in the Caladesi Island area. Shoes aren’t needed. Sometimes shoes are nice to have, but not needed. I’ve never actually worn shoes when walking to Caladesi Island but I usually have a pair of flip flops tossed into a backpack in case I need them.
Great hint with riding bikes to Juniper/Eldorado street as starting point for the walk to Caladesi Island Park. We enjoyed it today and cannot recommend more this to anybody. Started at low tide and returned half tide, works great!
I’m happy to hear it worked out well and that you had a great time! Did you see any changes in your recent walk or do you have any tips that I should include to keep this info as helpful as possible?
We’ve been coming to the Clearwater / Dunedin area since decades and I never realised it is now possible to reach Caladesi by walking. it will be our next trip, tomorrow. Looking at the map, I see that Mandalay Point Road is the northest road to Caladesi.Is parking there allowed? Many thanks
There isn’t any public parking in that location. The only parking spots in that area are for Carlouel Yacht Club. The furthest public parking spots I believe are on Mandalay just before the circle that goes into the residential area of the island.