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Your guide to Little Gasparilla Island
All About Little Gasparilla Island
Located off the coast of southwest Florida, halfway between Fort Myers and Sarasota, Little Gasparilla Island is a peaceful oasis accessible only by boat or water taxi. Just a quarter-mile wide at its widest point, the island is easily walkable, with sandy pathways meandering from one end of the seven-mile-long island to the other. With no bridges or roads, you won’t find cars on the island, which amplifies native birdsong and the gentle gulf breeze through the Australian pines and tropical palms.
On the west side of the island, white-sand beaches run alongside the Gulf of Mexico with diverse shell varieties and a plethora of shark teeth that draw treasure hunters. A sandbar in the gulf helps keep the surrounding water calm for kayaking and paddleboarding. Head to the opposite shoreline to cast a line for snook and grouper off one of the several fishing piers extending from the mangrove-lined coast into calm Placida Harbor.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Little Gasparilla Island
The hot summer temperatures on Little Gasparilla Island make this an excellent time to visit if you plan to cool off with a dip in the Gulf of Mexico or do some kayaking. Summer also tends to experience the most rainfall, but showers are typically short. Early spring and late fall tend to have pleasant weather for scenic walks and bike rides around the island. This is also a popular time for festivals and events like the Punta Gorda Wine & Jazz Festival in the fall, with a lineup of live musical performances spread across several days. Punta Gorda is about an hour’s drive from Little Gasparilla. A visit from May through October will coincide with sea turtle nesting season, while winter is a popular time for visitors from colder climes.
Top things to do in Little Gasparilla Island
Don Pedro Island State Park
Located just north of Little Gasparilla Island, Don Pedro Island can be accessed by ferry, kayak, paddleboard, or a thin stretch of beach when the tide is low enough. Several nature trails meander along the coastal dunes and through the mangrove forests of this 100-acre state park. A large shaded pavilion with picnic tables and grills makes an excellent place to rest while birdwatching or cooking up some freshly caught trout.
Port Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum
Perched at the southern tip of Gasparilla Island, Port Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum, built in 1890, is the oldest structure on the island and one of Florida’s few remaining lighthouses open to the public. The museum showcases a wide variety of bones, fossils, and ancient artifacts from the local area.
Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve
The Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve on the mainland covers 80 acres and is home to thousands of native trees and plants. Four loop trails showcase different areas of the preserve, while guided nature walks provide an insight into the plants and animals that live here, including red-bellied woodpeckers. The butterfly habitat and wildflower meadow are prime places to spot zebra longwing and white peacock butterflies.