Explore Tampa Bay

Dunedin: Boaters' Best-Kept Secret in Tampa Bay

Live the boating lifestyle with these first-class amenities

With serene waters, an annual average temperature of 75 degrees and tranquil intracoastal and Gulf Coast waterways, Dunedin is a funky beach town on Florida’s West Coast (just north of St. Petersburg/Clearwater) that is making waves.

Nestled on the shores of St. Joseph sound and offering one of the few underdeveloped barrier islands left in the state, waterfront dining near the city’s quaint Marina district, breathtaking sunsets and splendid waterfront accommodations, the City of Dunedin is the best-kept secret for boaters in the state. Whether new to the boating lifestyle or a seasoned pro, these first-rate services and amenities will make your next water adventure top-notch.

Caladesi Beach, Tampa Bay
Caladesi Beach (Courtesy Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater)

Dunedin Municipal Marina

Located on the intracoastal waterway, just blocks from downtown Dunedin lies the public Dunedin Municipal Marina, with boat slips, sailing, fishing and sightseeing charters. Thanks to Harbormaster William Frantz and his staff’s hard work, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently designated the marina as a Clean Marina, with 194 wet slips—12 commercial, nine transient and 173 recreational—ranging from 8’ x 18’ to 20’ x 60’.

Marker 1 Marina

Tucked away in a natural alcove just east of Holiday Island, Marker 1 Marina is a world-class option for boaters. Here, guests enjoy pristine facilities, a fuel dock that is open 24 hours, on-site repair and maintenance, a fully stocked ships store and round-the-clock security. Only five minutes from open water, Marker 1 Marina is one of the best gateways to the Gulf.

Aerial view of Marker 1 Marina, Dunedin
The 10.54-acre marina includes 407 boat slips and features a boat barn, clubhouse/restaurant and a swimming pool. (Courtesy Marker 1 Marina)

Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island

Dunedin is home to Honeymoon Island (Florida’s most visited state park), which offers roughly 4 miles of shoreline. From there, visitors can access Caladesi Island. Accessible by boat and ferry only, it is one of the few completely natural islands along Florida’s Gulf Coast. 

Once on Caladesi, beach lovers can enjoy swimming, sunbathing and beachcombing, while saltwater anglers can cast a line from their boats or surf fish. A self-guided nature trail wound through the interior (and flagged by virgin pine flatwood and live oak hammocks) lets visitors stretch their sea legs and explore.

Honeymoon Island
Honeymoon Island (Ricardo Mangual/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Caladesi State Park offers a 3-mile kayak trail where oak hammock and pine flatwoods are a familiar home to common nighthawk and migratory songbirds, including scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak and magnolia warbler. In the bayside marina, boaters can enjoy overnight docking with 30-amp electric, water hookups, a snack bar and gift shop.

Caladesi State Park, Dunedin
Caladesi State Park (©Pinellas County)

On the way back to the mainland, boaters often frequent the Dunedin Causeway, a 2.5-mile route with vistas of St. Joseph Sound and plenty of room for fishing, watercraft activities and more.

Beso Del Sol Resort

Located within 1 mile of the Dunedin Marina and overlooking Honeymoon Island (another top Dunedin Beach) and Caladesi, the Beso Del Sol Resort—along with partner ParrotDise Express II, a power catamaran that is Coast Guard certified for up to 20 passengers—offers excursions from its Beso Del Sol pier. It’s a perfect place to stay for sea lovers planning to island hop, picnic on the beach, snorkel, shell and cruise during sunset.

Dolphin watching aboard a cruise from ParrotDise Express, Tampa Bay
ParrotDise Express offers both dolphin and sunset cruises. (Courtesy ParrotDise Express)

Bon Appétit and Marina Café

Indulge and unwind at one of Tampa Bay’s top waterfront restaurants, Bon Appétit, where exceptional cuisine is matched only by the gorgeous ambience of panoramic views of St. Joseph sound. Offering the same menu as the restaurant, Marina Café provides a casual, airy outdoor dining experience. Enjoy American cuisine with European flair at either of the waterfront restaurants with docking for diners. Those who arrive by boat can dock for free at Dunedin Marina.

Bon Appetit Restaurant, Tampa Bay
Enjoy European and American cuisine at one of the finest waterfront dining options in Dunedin. (Courtesy Bon Appétit Restaurant)