Florida State Parks 75th Anniversary Logo
The soft white sand and sparkling turquoise waters of Caladesi Island. This close-up features the sea oats that grow on the dunes of Caladesi Island. The building foundations and crumbling fireplace that make up the remains of Henry Scharrer's homestead on Caladesi Island. Pink flowers on railroad vine stretch along the beach of Caladesi Island.
Caladesi Island State Park
The snow-white dunes roll along the shore at Caladesi Island State Park.

History and Culture

In the 1880s homesteader Henry Scharrer and his daughter Myrtle lived on this island. Later in life, at the age of 87, Myrtle Scharrer Betz penned the book Yesteryear I Lived in Paradise, telling her story of life on a barrier island.

A black and white photo of the old lookout tower at Caladesi Island State Park.

Lookout Tower

This 60-foot lookout tower once gave visitors a panoramic view of the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joseph Sound. The steel structure was donated to the park by the Florida Board of Forestry and erected by park staff in 1969. The tower gradually deteriorated in the harsh conditions of the island environment and was dismantled in the early 1980s.

Homesteader Henry Scharrer sitting at a desk in his house on Caladesi Island.

Interior of House

Caladesi homesteader Henry Scharrer shown adjusting his battery-operated radio. The clock on the wall shows the time to be 4 p.m. and the calendar shows the date as September 1927.

Myrtle and Henry Scharrer look out at the camera in this historic black and white photo.

Myrtle and Henry

Myrtle Scharrer Betz poses with her father, Henry Scharrer, for a picture outside their home on Caladesi Island. The picture was taken in 1902, shortly after Myrtle's mother, Catherine, passed away. Seven-year-old Myrtle and her father were the lone homesteaders on the island.

A park visitor heads down the old wooden boardwalk near a picnic pavilion and flagpole in this 1980s photo.

Old Boardwalk

This photo taken from the top of the Ranger Station show the old wooden boardwalks that once added character to Caladesi Island. The two pavilions in the picture are still in use today, but the wooden boardwalks were so weathered and splintered that they were eventually replaced with concrete sidewalks.

Several boats moored at the old Caladesi Island marina dock.

Dock in Marina

This dock was originally used for large vessels that came into the marina. When more visitors began coming to the marina, this dock was expanded to accommodate the increase in visitation.