I’m not sure what I was expecting the first time it was suggested that we visit Honeymoon Island while staying with relatives in Florida. Maybe Niagara Falls by the beach? Tons of neon and beach shops and fringed cover-ups? Nothing could be further from the truth.
On our first visit, my daughter was just 20mos. and we brought our gaggle of nephews, ranging in age at the time from 5-12. As the boys and my husband headed out to roughouse with a ball, my mermaid/toddler headed straight for the water, and it wasn’t until she’d waded in shoulder-high that she allowed me to take her hand. The water was calm and warm, and the sand was soft and white.
A little over 2 years later we returned – with her little sandcrab brother in tow. There are lots of shells, so a vigilant eye is necessary for those orally fixated (I’m looking at you, Bub!), and water shoes may help you to relax about the possiblilty of cut feet. This being November, the water was a little less warm, but it still felt great to have a splash. And, as was our experience with other Gulf Coast beaches (Madeira & Clearwater), we saw dolphins splashing and playing.
Honeymoon Island is actually a state park. You pay a per small, per vehicle fee to enter, and there are lots of trails to explore in addition to the great beach. Chair and umbrella rental is available, there’s a decent snack bar with clean, baby-friendly washrooms, and public showers. There’s a picnic area and playground towards the North end of the Island. In Florida, it’s the closest I’ve come to a private beach, and the fact that it’s part of a state park means it’s clean, accessible, and well-maintained. There are even recycling bins, something of a rarity in Florida.
One thing to note: our first visit was in August, and they had posted a mosquito warning at the entry. We didn’t notice a single one while we were on the beach, but were fairly swarmed at the end of our day when we were showering and getting ready to go. Our last visit was in November, and there was no such warning posted. The beach was fine but some of the trails were quite mosquito-y. Definitely bring repellant if you plan on doing some serious hiking.