Cayo Costa

Located between Gasparilla Island and North Captiva, this Lee Island Coast destination boasts nine miles of beautiful beaches along with more than two thousand acres of pine forests, oak-palm hammocks and mangrove swamps for the naturalist adventures. The only way to get to this barrier island park is by private boat or ferry and makes this undeveloped shoreline a Gulf Coast paradise.

Wildlife viewing opportunities abound in this natural park environment. Along the Intracoastal Waterway visitors will often see manatees and pods of dolphins foraging in the quiet waters. Throughout the 2,426 acre park, birds and other local animal species make this coastal ecosystem their home including wild hogs descended from those brought by the Spanish Explorers. Along the sandy beaches bird watchers are treated to a spectacular assortment of shore birds.

In the gentle warm Gulf waters, visitors can swim or snorkel in the surf, while enjoying the sun and sand. Beachcombers will find an assortment of shells and other collectibles as they stroll along the beach. Winter is a popular time for shelling activities as the change of the season washes these natural treasures ashore.

This completely undeveloped island provides few amenities or other creature comforts aside from the basic park administrative buildings, dockage, a few camping cabins and restrooms. The coastal palms and pine forests along this island do not provide the shady respite many may be accustomed to, so along with plenty of ice cold water, bug repellant and sun protection, a beach umbrella is recommended for your visit.

The extensive nature trails that meander through the island cabbage palms and native flora provide ample opportunities for both hiking and off-road bicycling enthusiasts. Saltwater anglers can fish from their boats or throw a line out into the surf from the shore.

For overnight stays, the park offers a few primitive cabins and tent camping (both options are without electricity or other amenities). Reservations in advance are recommended for those seeking to stay in one of the cabins.

The Tropic Star of Pine Island is the official ferry service to the island and departs from Jug Creek Marina in Bokeelia. The ferry requires reservations and can also provide transportation for beach or camping equipment (often including kayak or other bulky items). Cayo Costa Island State Park is a full day trip from Pine Island on the Tropic Star. You’ll need to bring cold water and drinks, food, shade, a change of clothes, insect repellent and a good pair of walking shoes.

There are other businesses which operate ferry or tour boat service to Cayo Costa State Park and other islands in the area including Cabbage Key, North Captiva, and Useppa Island. Some of these services include shelling trips to Cayo Costa that are less than a full day for those not planning a full day adventure.

Links are provided below for additional assistance in planning your outdoor adventure in this Lee Island coastal destination.

cayo-costa Cayo Costa State Park

880 Belcher Road, Boca Grande, FL

(941) 964-0375

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