Florida's Caladesi Island State Park was named America's most beautiful beach in 2008, but, as this new video illustrates, the island is much more than sun, surf, and red beach umbrellas. 
It's a gem among nature preserves, an entire barrier island with coastal dune, mangrove, maritime hammock, and pine flatwood habitats, all teeming with wildlife.

Hot off the University of Tampa Press! The new Caladesi Cookbook
  An appetite for regional cooking and a ta560ste for local history will both find satisfaction in this appealing new cookbook. From main courses like “Smoked Fish Pioneer Style” and “Hog Island BBQ Ribs” to sweet treats such as “Sea Foam,” the Caladesi Cookbook offers tempting recipes for seafood, salads, vegetables, breads, and desserts. Read more or order it now.
 
Welcome to the amazing history of America's best beach!
One of the few remaining natural islands along Florida's Gulf Coast, Caladesi Island has been rated first among America's best beaches.  (More...)

Now you can explore captivating Caladesi through the eyes of a born storyteller, the only child ever born on Caladesi Island, Myrtle Scharrer Betz.
Her account of growing up on Caladesi Island is one of the richest portraits available of life in Florida when it really was a natural tropical paradise. Myrtle's tale, Yesteryear I Lived in Paradise, vividly captures the natural wonders, discomforts, challenges, and joys of pioneer life on a barrier island in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With wisdom, insight, and poetry, Myrtle Scharrer Betz crafts a story that is a national treasure.

NEWS • Read the New York Times article about Caladesi • View Ranger Carl's photos 


Myrtle Scharrer Betz, the author, in her boat with her dog, Don, and her Caladesi
Island home in the background.

Please explore Caladesi, past and present, through this website, and treat yourself by purchasing Myrtle's marvelous book, published by the University of Tampa Press.

A portion of proceeds from sales of Yesteryear I Lived in Paradise support the
Henry Scharrer Memorial Fund to underwrite projects at Caladesi and Honeymoon Island State Parks.


We thank Christopher Still, the outstanding Florida artist, for allowing us to use a section of his painting, "Sunset Over Caladesi," in the website header, and for the use of his painting, "Caladesi Sunset," on the book cover. Both images © 2007 Christopher Still

Thanks everlasting to Gerald S. (Jerry) Rehm, the individual most essential to Caladesi Island becoming a state park. 

 



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