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Pete Krulder

Pete Krulder

Looking for a place to get away from it all? Caladesi Island State Park is the place for you. Whether you are coming over for four hours on the ferry or spending the night in the marina on your own boat, Caladesi Island is something for everyone in the family.

If you are a beach lover head over the boardwalks and when you hit the sand, walk in either direction a short distance and you can find your own little quiet piece of paradise. There you can spend time swimming in the beautiful blue green waters of the Gulf of Mexico or just lay back on your beach towel and let your batteries recharge.

I enjoy hiking the park’s three-mile nature trail. Spending time walking among the slash pine, some of them over 100 years old, is a relaxing experience. About a mile in to your hike you will come upon large live oak trees and if it has rained recently, the limbs will be draped with bright green resurrection fern. Take a minute, close your eyes and breath in. Smell the scent of this beautiful forest. It is hard to imagine that you are only one mile from one of the most densely populated areas in Florida.

A little further down the trail you will come to the Scharrer Homestead. All that remains now is a foundation and chimney. Think about what it must have been like as a small child growing up on an island.

As you retrace your steps back to the marina you may spot osprey nesting in the pines. You may also catch a glimpse of several species of hawks that call the island home. Along the way you might encounter gopher tortoise or even an eastern diamond back rattlesnake. Just make sure you observe it from a distance.

Back at the marina stop by Café Caladesi for a cold drink and something to eat.