I can honestly say this Florida vacation truly was almost paradise. What an absolutely beautiful place! I can’t even begin to describe it with only words. They just seemed inadequate so I decided to add several pictures and videos. That way you can see for yourself just how amazing our Florida vacation was.
I shared the beginning of our vacation with you in my last post, Dunedin, Florida ~ A Different Kind of Vacation. Now that I am back to reality I would like to share with you all the wonderful places we visited.
There are several beaches in and around Dunedin such as Dunedin Causeway, Honeymoon Island, and Caladesi Island which are some of my favorites. All of these beaches have been rated among the best beaches in the world. This little piece of paradise has not been commercialized like most tourist areas have. Instead, you will find small condos and houses looking out over the gulf. The beaches, islands, and sunsets are what people who go to Dunedin consider entertainment.
The sunsets were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Even when the skies were overcast the sun found a way to paint the sky and the water the most brilliant colors. We visited several areas just to see the sunset and it was worth every second. Here are a few of the pictures we took.
The Captain’s Quarters
We stayed with Captain Alex and his wife Janet at The Captain’s Quarters several years ago when our son was 11. We had so much fun that we wanted to go back and see how it would be as empty nesters. It was a completely different vacation! I wouldn’t say better but I will say more romantic and relaxing.
The Captain’s Quarters is like a home away from home. I highly recommend them if you are thinking about taking a Florida vacation in this area. The condos are so cute and very well stocked with all the little things that make it like home. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures inside but I got plenty from the patio where we spent most of our time when we weren’t out and about.
This is an awesome video Phillip put together from footage he took with his drone!
One of the perks of staying at The Captain’s Quarters is that you get the use of a boat while you are there. This gives you access to all the islands since a lot of them are only accessible by boat. We took the boat out every day and explored all the islands we could. Captain Alex will take you out for a tour and show you all the best places to go and also to familiarize you with the boat.
The Islands of Dunedin
I loved the condo and the boat but the islands, for me, are what made this Florida vacation a true paradise. As I mentioned before, during the weekend the people of Dunedin boat out to the islands and spend their day basking in the sun, fishing, and swimming in the ocean. During the week the islands are pretty empty. Because of this, we were able to spend a lot of our time just enjoying each other with hardly anyone else around.
Three Rooker Island
This was my favorite island or rather islands. Three Rooker Island is a group of three barrier islands that are also part of the Anclote Key Preserve State Park. The islands were formed sometime in the 1980’s by the ocean’s current. It is pretty amazing what mother nature can do! These islands are beautiful and only accessible by boat. Shout out to Captain Alex and his boat!
We ended up here more often than not because it was such a beautiful place. We put up our CampValley instant sunshade to stake our claim to a small portion of the beach and then completely lost ourselves in the beauty around us.
Here’s some more great drone footage courtesy of Phillip!
The Birds of Three Rooker
From April through the end of August, thousands of birds go to Three Rooker Island to nest. There are about nine different species laying eggs and waiting for them to hatch. Some of them are considered “threatened” because they are disappearing from the Florida coastline so they have roped off about eight acres in the middle of one of the islands to protect the nests. Because of this, there are no pets allowed.
Anclote Key Preserve
Anclote Key Island is one of four islands that make up the Anclote Key Preserve State Park that also consists of North Anclote Bar, South Anclote Bar, and Three Rooker Island. It is about 8 miles from the Captain’s Quarters so if you decide to visit make sure you fill up both gas tanks! Again, this island is only accessible by boat.
It is home to at least 43 species of birds, including the bald eagle. We actually got to see an eagle perched on a navigation marker! I wish we had taken a picture but our cameras were put up because it was starting to rain.
There is a lighthouse on the island that has a very interesting history. Go here to read about it… Anclote Key Lighthouse.
Even though the island is completely primitive there is so much you can do. You can go Swimming, sunbathing, even camping overnight if you want to sleep under the stars but remember there are no facilities on the island.
And here is another great video!
Here is an interesting little tidbit. In 1921 a major hurricane cut a path in the middle of an island called Hog Island. Because of this we now have the islands that are known as Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands. The passage between the two islands is known as Hurricane Pass.
Honeymoon Island is the only island that we went to that you can reach by car. Since it is just a few minutes from the Captain’s Quarters right over the Dunedin Causeway it was no problem to get there.
This is an amazing video showing The Dunedin Causeway and the surrounding area.
There is a fee to get onto the island since it is a state park, but it is per vehicle and very minimal. Also, you are able to leave and come back the same day without paying again. The beach is divided into different areas and the further you go the fewer people there are.
We spent an entire day there even though we had originally only planned on staying for the morning. After we decided to stay we put up our sunshade so that when we needed to get out of the sun for awhile we had somewhere to go. We ate lunch, took pictures, flew the drone and of course floated in the ocean.
This is another beautiful island that is only accessible by boat, however, you can catch a ferry from Honeymoon Island that will take you there. There are some amenities on this island such as the marina. There is also a snack bar and gift shop. They have pavilions with grills that you can rent so you can cook your own lunch.
There is plenty to do while visiting Caladesi Island. You can do like we did, set up your sunshade and hang out at the beach all day but they also have a three-mile nature trail that runs through the islands interior area. They even have a kayak trail that is supposed to be pretty awesome!
The Rest of our Florida Vacation
Island hopping isn’t the only thing we did during this Florida vacation even although that is how we spent most of our time. We went out to eat most nights. Our original plan was to only eat out a couple of nights but we found out that there was a Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. Since we had no plans for the evening we decided to pay them a little visit. They seemed to really like Phillip! Me, not so much but we ate out a couple of extra nights courtesy of the casino!
We enjoyed a nice steak at Cody’s Original Roadhouse, some excellent Mexican seafood at Casa Tina’s, more great seafood at Frenchy’s Outpost and a huge seafood platter at Crabby Bills! We also ate lunch at a little place on Honeymoon Island called the High & Dry Grill because it looked so inviting. As you can see we also sampled some of what Phillip calls “boat drinks”!
This is one Florida vacation that I wish could have lasted longer because we had such a great time. The people of Dunedin are friendly and welcoming and there was so much to see and do. We will look back on this vacation for years to come and remember it fondly.
I am glad I was able to take lots of pictures with my Nikon D5500. I am also thrilled that Phillip took the time to fly his DJI Phantom 4 drone to get plenty of videos. Because of this, we will be able to actually see our memories for years to come.
I hope you enjoyed my rundown of our Florida vacation. If you are considering going to Florida I can absolutely recommend Dunedin. I know you won’t be disappointed.