Hotel at a Glance: Best Western Plus Yacht Harbor Inn
In 2008, Dr. Beach named Caladesi Island State Park the best beach in America for its soft white sands and “sparkling clear water.” Located on Caladesi Island, one of a string of barrier islands off Florida’s west coast, it’s accessible only by boat or ferry, which helps maintain the beach’s pristine wildlife setting. You can see these islands from the Best Western Plus Yacht Harbor Inn, a boutique hotel overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Boat charters are available at the marina next door, putting Caladesi Island State Park and other award-winning beaches within reach.
- Onsite dining: At the hotel’s onsite Bon Appetit Restaurant, diners can enjoy award-winning seafood and spectacular water views. Marina Cafe’s waterfront terrace is a great place for predinner cocktails.
- Interesting dishes: Roasted red snapper on a bed of lobster hash and maine lobster linguine flambéed in sherry
- Go swimming: In the hotel’s heated outdoor pool and jacuzzi, or head to Clearwater’s famous white-sand beaches 5 miles south
- Must-see attraction: Busch Gardens is home to more than 2,000 exotic animals including bengal tigers, chimpanzees, giraffes, and white rhinos, all of which live in re-creations of their natural habitats.
- Recommended biking trail: The 47-mile-long Pinellas Trail runs through downtown Dunedin, with beautiful coastal views along the way.
- Nifty in-room amenities: Renovated in 2012, all guest rooms feature refrigerators, microwaves, and balconies or patios.
Dunedin, Florida: Barrier Islands with Sandy Beaches and Native Wildlife
Located 30 miles west of Tampa and just north of Clearwater Beach, the town of Dunedin overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. Running parallel to the coast of Dunedin is a string of lush barrier islands; drive across the Dunedin Causeway to reach the popular Honeymoon Island and its eponymous state park. Here, you can snorkel in the warm waters of the gulf and comb the beaches for seashells. Keep an eye out for osprey nests and other native shorebirds.
From Honeymoon Island, you can take the Caladesi Island Ferry to the more secluded Caladesi Island State Park, famous for its unspoiled white-sand beaches. Hop on a kayak and paddle a 3-mile waterway past mangroves or hike a 3-mile nature trail on the island’s interior.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.