Clearwater Lions Club

and Honeymoon Island

In the 1500’s Spanish explorers visited the island and met the island’s first inhabitants. These Native Americans were a local Safety Harbor tribe called Tocobagos. Artifacts such as skeletal remains, Sixteenth Century pottery and chain have been found on the island. These finds indicate the area was not only used by the Native American tribes but also by early Europeans as a “stop-over” point. 

Through the years some attempts were made to homestead the island but all faltered. In October 1921 a hurricane hit the island and split it into north and south Hog Islands with Hurricane Pass cutting between them. The island was sold many times. 

Then in 1939 a businessman from New York by the name of Clinton Washburn purchased the island. He, together with Life Magazine, Newsreel, and the Clearwater Lions Club, began a contest for newlywed couples where the winners would spend their Honeymoon on the island. The Clearwater Lions built the first honeymoon hut and were given the honor of selecting the first winning couple! One hundred sixty-seven couples won a stay and came down to Honeymoon Isle. They stayed in one of the fifty thatched huts built on what was then the main beach area. 

World War II ended the honeymoons and the island was then used for a rest and recuperative retreat for factory workers. 

The island was sold again and a developer by the name of Hyman Green bought the island, in the late 1960s, and began dredging the waters surrounding the island. He wanted to develop the island into a condominium resort. 

The state began purchasing the island in 50-acre parcels December 23, 1974. 

The acquisition was complete when the City of Dunedin donated the final 22.2 acres of beach to the state on January 14,1982. 

Honeymoon Island State Park was opened in October of 1982.

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