4 Suggestions for an Exciting Weekend in Boca Grande

Boca Grande is a beautiful residential community in the state of Florida. It is located within Gasparilla Island and is well-known for its natural beauty and hospitality. Among its other fabulous offerings are white-sand beaches and world-class fishing facilities. The rich and famous have always been charmed by the enchanting natural surroundings of Gasparilla Island. 

Its largest town, Boca Grande, attracted some affluent winter residents over the years. Some of them made a fortune by mining phosphate, which was discovered 20 miles east of the island. There are many things you can do for enjoying an exciting weekend in Boca Grande. Here are a few suggestions:  

1. Take a kayaking trip

You can rent a kayak and launch your kayaking trip from a cove surrounded by shallow and calm waters. The trip would take you to the Boca Grande sandbar and the islands located nearby. The clear waters are perfect for glass-bottom boats. You’ll be able to watch all the marine creatures swimming underneath. It would also be a pleasure to watch the mackerel jumping out of the water and dolphins swimming nearby. 

In some seasons, you can also watch the manatees and turtles in action. You can meet the other boaters at the sandbar. It is a popular spot for tourists to hang out. They usually spend the afternoon, swimming and listening to music under the warm Florida sunshine.

2. Indulge in tarpon fishing

Boca Grande is famous for its world-class tarpon fishing. You can hire an experienced guide and book charter fishing trips. The Boca Grande area has some of the finest local guides. They can make your day truly memorable at the Boca Grande Pass. 

Some of them have been guiding tourists since the 1980s. You’ll also find captains among them who’ve participated in the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament. The event is held in this part of Florida every year.

3. Play golf at The Gasparilla Inn and Club

Since 1913, The Gasparilla Inn and Club has hosted some famous people of the United States. Members and guests staying at the inn can play with no tee times on the golf course. The golf players have often found the Gasparilla Golf Club quite challenging. The championship course of this golf club was designed by Pete Dye. He was a renowned American golf course designer. 

The championship course of this golf club is sometimes referred to as an ‘island within an island. It features eco-friendly native grasses and measures 72,6837 yards. Each of its holes has five different tees to suit various levels of play.

4. Explore the historic lighthouses

Gasparilla Island has two lighthouses. One of them was established in 1890 at the Boca Grande Pass, which is Florida’s deepest natural port. It lit the way into Charlotte Harbor. The lighthouse has played an important role in the history of the island, especially during the Second World War. 

It is a part of the Gasparilla State Park today and houses a museum, which was opened in 1999. It has also won the award for the ‘best-looking lighthouse’ from Florida Monthly Magazine. The second lighthouse was transported from Delaware to the island in 1927. 

It had a 4th order Fresnel lens installed and was lit in 1932. The ships sailing through the Boca Grande Navigational Channel were helped by this lighthouse. It is located at Gasparilla Island State Park in the middle of the island.

Have Fun on the Beautiful Beaches of Boca Grande

Some of the beautiful sceneries of Florida can be found on the beaches of Boca Grande. Your time spent on these beaches would make your visit to Gasparilla Island truly unforgettable. You’ll find all types of beaches in this part of the world. There are small beaches, which take you off the beaten path. There are public beaches as well, which have parking and restroom facilities.

Beaches with excellent facilities

There are four significant beach access points on the island. They’re operated by the Barrier Island Parks Society and Gasparilla State Park. The access points start at the Range Lighthouse, located south of Fifth Street. It includes additional points that terminate at the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse. 

The lighthouse park offers beach access with facilities like restrooms, ample parking space, and freshwater showers. You’ll also find ADA access, picnic tables, grills, and shade canopies. Make sure you explore each of the historic lighthouses on the island. 

The additional beach access points of the Gasparilla State Park have walk-over ramps and parking. A new beach access point has been constructed at Fifth Street. It includes parking and limited temporary restroom facilities.

Off the beaten path

From 19th Street south to First Street, you’ll find several additional beach access points. This area would have limited parking and there are no great facilities offered. The beaches located at these places can be explored early in the day or late in the afternoon. As these access points are mostly within the residential neighbourhood, make sure you’re not blocking the residential drives.

Go kayaking

On the bayside of 19th Street, there’s an additional public access point. Although parking is limited, you’ll have easy access to the water for launching your kayak or paddleboard. Additionally, you’ll come across a small fishing pier on the Boca Grande Bayou. 

You’ll find many ways to enjoy the Boca Grande beaches. You’ll surely have plenty of fun, whether you’re visiting for a day or staying for the week. Wind and weather can greatly influence your kayaking tours. You’ll need to plan your trip by choosing a particular time or day when the wind is minimal. 

There are certain places that are less windy. You can also consider such places while planning your tour. Booking your tour with one of the local operators would be a great idea. They can recommend you the ideal spots based on the weather, tides, and wind.

Beaches accessible only by boat

If you’re looking forward to spending some quality time on a secluded beach, get to Cayo Costa. This beach can be reached only by boat. Cayo Costa is one of the best beaches in Florida and is well-known for its undisturbed natural habitat and seclusion. 

You’ll also find many shoals and sandbars. It offers ideal surroundings to enjoy a picnic. You can bring your beach chair and umbrella to unwind amid serene surroundings. There are custom charters available to Cayo Costa, North Captiva, Cabbage Key, secret mangrove tunnels, and deserted sandbars. 

Guided tours are also available around Boca Grande. They give you the opportunity to enjoy wildlife sightings and to know more about the island’s history. You’ll also get to save more on such trips if you have a larger group.

The Boca Grande Boating and Fishing Guide

Boca Grande is a small residential community located on Gasparilla Island in the state of Florida, United States. Fishing and boating are some of the exciting activities you can enjoy in this part of the country. The charter captain of your boat also acts as a guide who would help you explore the waters. You can also enjoy fishing in these waters with the help of your guide. 

You may not be sure about the species of fish to target and the style of boat to hire. For expert guidance in these matters, you can get in touch with the Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association. The type of fish to target would depend largely on the season and weather. These two factors are crucial when targeting species such as tarpon, redfish, and snapper.

Hiring a boat

The cost of hiring a boat with a captain varies according to the amount of time spent on the water. It also depends on the number of people on the boat. Most of the captains prefer a maximum of 4 guests onboard. The number may also be less, depending on the type of fishing and the boat. You are given the option of cash or check for making the payment. 

Don’t forget to take a hat, sunscreen, and a rain jacket with you for the trip. The captain would provide all the necessary information about weather conditions. However, make sure you ask the captain about it in advance. If you don’t want to go fishing, you can opt for sightseeing instead. The captain can take you on a quarter, half, or full-day trip on the waters.

Options in dining

Your trip to Boca Grande won’t be complete without a visit to one of its fabulous restaurants. Some among them are located amid beautiful surroundings and have the best options in food and drinks. You can also rent a room or cabin in some of them. It would be a good idea to plan an early morning visit to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast. You can also choose to make an evening reservation for dinner.

Explore the islands

There are several other islands, mooring areas, and sandbars that can be explored during the trip. You can make a stop on one of them and enjoy your picnic lunch. This would give you some respite from the tourist crowds. You can also bring a beach chair and umbrella to relax and dine according to your convenience.

About bringing your own boat

You can bring your own boat for exploring the waters of Boca Grande. There are only two places on the island to launch your boat. One is Uncle Henry’s Marina and the other is ‘Inlet on the Waterfront’ hotel. You’ll also have to pay a small fee to launch your boat for a round trip. 

Boats are also available for rent at some of the marinas. It is important to have some knowledge about the local areas. GPS can be used if you’re unfamiliar with the place. In such cases, it is advisable to stick to the areas that are clearly marked. You can also ask the locals for advice and they’ll be happy to help.