Caladesi Island State Park
Lay of the Land: One of the few pristine barrier islands along Florida's Gulf Coast, this---the #1 Beach in the U.S.---is accessible only by boat. While on the ferry from Honeymoon Island you can spot dolphins and osprey while learning about the history of the area. The island features abundant wildlife, a ranger station, boat docks, beach and kayak rentals, mangrove kayak trails and even a concession stand offering beer and wine. Little Known Facts: Caladesi was once part of one large island called Hog Island after the hogs that a pioneer family raised there. A book about the key, "Yesteryear, I lived in Paradise," by Myrtle Scharrer Betz, daughter of the first homesteader, is available on Amazon.com. Why You Should Go: Caladesi Island was named America's #1 Beach in 2008, #2 Beach in 2006 and 2007 and #9 in 2016 by Dr. Beach. Do you need any other reason? *Please note there is an entry fee to the park which is included in the price of the ferry boat ticket. See the park's website for more details.