Nestled about 30 minutes away from Tampa, Florida is the city of Dunedin. Honeymoon Island is located here at the end of the Dunedin Causeway, and is one of my favorite beaches. I’m a little biased, though, since this spot neighbors my hometown of Palm Harbor. Growing up, I visited this beach several times with family and friends. I even had my Sweet 16 birthday party here (ok, so my birthday is in December, but that year I celebrated my “Sweet 16-and-a-half” in June so I could experience having a beach birthday party!) I can’t forget to mention that this beach was one of the exclusive locations of my “Calm-a-Sutra” Tea video, written, filmed, and directed by yours truly the Summer before my sophomore year of college.
I really thought this poor quality, choppily edited video of me, some friends, and family drinking tea out of red solo cups (and clearly water in the above still) would win me a $50K scholarship. Oh well, I suppose being a filmmaker just wasn’t in the cards for me.
But I digress.
A couple of weeks ago, work brought me back to my hometown, so naturally, my bestie Crystal and I planned a beach day at Honeymoon Island. The weather was perfect and breezy for late March with the temperature hanging around 75 degrees. Before heading to the beach, we stopped for lunch and piña coladas at the new Frenchy’s Outpost Bar & Grill on the Dunedin Causeway.
For those who don’t know, there are several different Frenchy’s restaurants, and most of them are on Clearwater Beach. The Outpost is the first in Dunedin and the newest iteration of the chain, but the menu remains pretty much the same no matter which location you visit. Locals will tell you to order the grouper sandwich – it’s the best. Frenchy’s prepares several different styles of the sandwich, including fried, grilled, cajun, buffalo, and a grouper reuben. Take your pick, but my personal favorite is grilled with a nice piece of cheese slapped on top.
Crystal and I enjoyed our sandwiches, drinks, conversation, and the breeze, and then headed down to the beach. Honeymoon Island is located inside Honeymoon Island State Park, where a small fee is paid upon entry. This is worth it as there is parking galore, restrooms, outdoor showers, snack bars and even a dog beach. There is also the option of taking the Caladesi Island Ferry out of Honeymoon State Park over to Caladesi Island (also for a small fee). Caladesi Island is a gorgeous strip of beach and is great for swimming, kayaking, and hunting for shells. I can remember as a kid swimming through the turquoise water off of Caladesi to a sand bar in the middle of the ocean where there were giant sand dollars. We’d collect them in beach pails and bring them home to dry on the back porch. Once dry, we’d bleach them pure white and keep them as souvenirs.
On this day, however, Crystal and I stayed on Honeymoon Island Beach. After parking and walking onto the beach, we chose an empty spot on the sand not too far from the water and set up shop.
What are some things you can do while hanging out on this beach? Well, here are some options:
- Do the Stingray Shuffle. This means to shuffle your feet while walking in the ocean so that you don’t inadvertently step on a stingray, which would hurt. Ha.
- Boogie board
- Body surf
- Skim board
- Float on a floatie thing in the sea
- Bring some kind of ball (football, nerf ball, etc) and throw it around
- Hunt for shells and walk/hike all around the park
- Bring a picnic and eat (watch out for hungry Seagulls)
- Or, Eat at the snack bar. They have great, super cold smoothies and yummy, crispy fried shrimp along with other treats.
- Lay out on the beach
Since the water was a tad chilly, Crystal and I opted for the last option. We talked and put Pandora radio on to an awesome 90s-2000s throwback station (highly recommended for any 90’s kids!) The weather remained perfect with clear, sunny, periwinkle skies with a strong breeze coming off of the sea. It wasn’t too hot to stay out for a long period of time. Beware: this cool weather was dangerous! Though I had applied sunscreen, I didn’t realize how burned I was actually getting since the weather didn’t feel too hot. I definitely felt like a tourist when I went home a red lobster later. Learn from my mistake and remember to apply and reapply sunscreen no matter what the weather is like.
After staying for a few hours, we dragged ourselves off of the beach and in to the nearest Starbucks for refreshments. My recommendation for the perfect post beach Starbucks drink (or perfect anytime drink, really) is the Passion Tea Lemonade with a pump of Raspberry (a pump of Melon instead is also good).