While many of Pinellas County’s communities are, indeed, islands, sometimes you just want to get away to another kind of island. Fortunately, you don’t have to go far: several island experiences are available to you without having to leave the county.
Egmont Key, at the mouth of Tampa Bay, is a wildlife refuge that also happens to be on the National Register of Historic Places thanks to its 150-year old lighthouse and remains of Fort Dade, a relic of the Spanish-American War. A visit there is a step back in time.
Caladesi Island State Park, designated as the 2008 #1 Beach in the U.S., is only accessible by boat – your own, or by taking the ferry with hourly departure. It is one of the few remaining all-natural islands on the west coast of Florida where you can swim, hike, fish, study or just loll on a pristine beach. Explore the mangrove-covered kayak trail. Spot a gopher tortoise. This is the way Florida looked a century ago.
Honeymoon Island is an island, but you can walk or drive there via a causeway from Dunedin. The natural preserve is known for its bird watching – it’s a rookery for eagles and ospreys. Gulf currents deposit a huge variety of seashells on the island’s newly re-nourished beaches, making the island a paradise for shell collectors.
Getting away for a little island time doesn’t require a plane ticket. For the lucky ones who live here, island time is only minutes away.