The pioneers called it Hog Island, but it became Honeymoon Isle in 1939 when a New York developer built 50 palm-thatched bungalows for honeymooners. Romantically inclined North Americans were introduced to Honeymoon Island in the early 1940s when magazine ads declared it to be an “undiscovered paradise for newlyweds”.
Today, visitors can drive across Dunedin Causeway to enjoy the sun-drenched Gulf beaches, mangrove swamps, and tidal flats. Nature lovers will find osprey nests, a wide variety of shorebirds, and one of the few remaining virgin slash pine forests in South Florida. The park boasts several nature trails and bird observation areas. Visitors can swim, fish, and snorkel in the warm waters of the Gulf or picnic while they enjoy the beautiful scenery. Shelling is particularly good here, as the Gulf currents deposit an incredible variety of seashells on the shore. Honeymoon Island’s subtropical climate and balmy breeze welcome visitors to relish the native mangrove swamps, salt marshes and sand dunes. With more than 200 species of rare plants, resident osprey and various other endangered shorebirds, this is an ideal eco-tourist escape.
I just got back from a week trip down in Key West with the family. We spent a lot of time diving, snorkeling, site seeing, and diving. I had my first encounter with underwater with both a nurse shark and reef shark. Scary, but very fun.
The whole week we were down there, we noticed that the locals were not the most hospitable. In talking with them, it seems as if tourism is down considerably, and they are feeling the pain from less dollars being injected into their local economy. Interestingly, it seemed as if there were large numbers of European tourists, probably due to the falling dollar. Certainly the increase in fuel costs are hurting all the local boaters who have seen their costs driven up while the amount they can charge tourists has not been able to increase proportionally.
For example, we went out with Capt Sheri at Wild About Dolphins and she told us her cost per trip in terms of fuel has increased from ~$30 to ~$75. Basically that is $90 a day out of her pocket and into Exxon’s. Just shows how the fuel costs are hurting everyone…