Gasparilla Island

Gasparilla Island

Gasparilla Lighthouse

Gasparilla Island is separated from the mainland by Charlotte Harbour and Pine Island Sound – it is part of the chain of Barrier Islands, on the southern tip of the Cape Haze peninsula. The island is known for its charming authentic downtown and seven miles of powdery white beaches, clear blue water and fishing. In the centre of the island is Boca Grande – Main Street exists without stop signs, billboards and no fast food chains. At the south of the island you will find the old light house build in 1890 and museum to explore.

In 1855 following the discovery of phosphate rock near to Punta Gorda, Gasparilla Island developed into a major deep harbour. The rail road terminus was built and in 1911 the Gasparilla Inn opened, shortly followed by the Boca Grande Hotel in 1929. The rail road continued to bring winter visitors until the causeway road opened in 1958. The rail passenger service ended in 1959 and the depot was restored in 1970 to become shops, offices and restaurants.

Getting around on the island is easy – most people use golf carts and there are specially designed cart only roads up and down the island. Hiring a small boat you can make a short trip to Cayo Costa which has mangrove swamps and beautiful beaches only accessible by boat. Gasparilla Island is one of the best places to shell in Florida. In the winter months storms wash up many treasures onto the beaches – you can find many species including Sharks Eye Snails, Lightning Whelks, Florida Horse conchs, Fighting Conchs, Alphabet Cones, Florida Cones, Lettered Olives, Star Fish and sometimes a Sea Horse.

The Loose Caboose is recommended for eating followed by one of their delicious homemade ice-creams as you stroll around the area.