Among Nation’s Best State Parks
Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin has been ranked third in the entire country by editors of Home To Go on their list of the country’s 18 “Most Extraordinary Parks.” First place went to Island Beach State Park in New Jersey, while Red Mountain State Park in North Carolina placed second.
Of the 18 listed, four are in Florida, with three ranking in the top ten. Cavo Costa State Mark near Fort Myers ranked fifth, followed by Blue Spring Blue Spring State Park near Orange City at seventh and Rainbow Springs State Park near Dunnellon at twelfth. Florida was represented by more state parks than any other state. New York and Utah each had three parks on the list. There are 8,565 state parks in operation nationwide.
Honeymoon Island is a barrier island across St. Joseph’s Sound from Palm Harbor and located at the western end of the Dunedin Causeway. The park also includes the 3-mile Osprey Trail, where visitors can spot eagles and osprey. There also are two restaurants in the park. The park service charges $8 per vehicle and $2 for pedestrians and bicyclists to enter the park. The park also has a dog beach.
An additional feature for visitors to Honeymoon Island is an opportunity to ride the ferry to Caladesi Island State Park, just offshore from the larger Honeymoon Island State Park. Caladesi Island is one of the truly untouched island strands along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
To make its selection, Home To Go first identified the top 100 most popular state parks across the country for 2018, and then researched five categories — average visitor rating, affordability, number of activities, diversity of bird species and availability of accommodations — to come up with the top 18.