With work and school dominating my life I haven't had much of a chance to even glance up and look around. Typically I get all of my summer living done in late spring. I'll paddle down rivers, spend every weekend snorkeling around a different spring, and refuse to wear anything but flip flops. This year I have had a delayed start, but two weeks ago I decided enough was enough and I headed down to one of my favorite beaches, Honeymoon Island State Park.
Honeymoon island is just north of Tampa and is two islands north of Clearwater (thats if you consider Caladesi and Clearwater to be separate islands....the gap between them was washed out by a hurricane a while back, leaving a shallow sandy passage separating the land). Honeymoon did not always go by such a romantic name. Originally it was called Hog island, named after the wildlife, but was renamed to sound more inviting to visitors. Truthfully, I think it was a smart move....I mean, does this place look more like a Honeymoon Island or a Hog Island to you?
Being a state park there is an entry fee of somewhere around $4 per individual or $6 for a carload (I believe). Once inside you can choose to go by ferry (at extra cost) over to Caladesi island, or you can stay on Honeymoon and take in all it has to offer. Honeymoon is great for locals because there is a paved bike/walk way all the way from the mainland over to the island. There is a dog beach (which is not very common in Florida), and then the main beaches with a couple of cafe food stand places that you can get a hot dog or drinks at.
If the main beaches feel too crowded, I recommend driving further down the island to the deserted parking lots of the North Beaches. The North beaches are far more rock and narrow, but there are far less people on them and are often used by fishermen wanting a little piece and quiet. If you are with a family or group, and especially if you have children, the regular main beaches are probably more ideal, because the slope to the water is gentler and the area is fairly shallow.
Honeymoon island is a fantastic beach and one that I recommend to visitors from out of state, so if you are in the are be sure to check it out!