Dinkin’ Around Boca Grande, SW Florida

Spent the day hanging out in the rich folks playground, President Bush’s favorite fishing hole, Boca Grande.  Boca Grande is really the “town” located at the tip of Gasparilla Island, not the entire island, although most people just refer to the island as Boca Grande.  Boca Grande is also the deep, wide-open pass between Gasparilla and Cayo Costa islands.

The historic Boca Grande Lighthouse, now a small museum, but the light still works.

The historic Boca Grande Lighthouse, now a small museum, but the light still works.

In order to get from our anchorage at Cayo Costa, we had to traverse that deep and wide pass in our little insignificant 9′ AB dinghy, with our Tohatsu 8 hp almost vintage 2001 2 stroke outboard and our dinghy anchor with 6 feet of chain and 25 feet of line.  Wait … that channel can be over 30 feet deep with wicked current going in & out.

Looking across the beach to the channel beyond ... and even further beyond is Cayo Costa.

Looking across the beach to the channel beyond … and even further beyond is Cayo Costa.

Which is why we chose a very calm, almost flat day at slack tide to make the crossing.  We routinely do major trips in our dinghy, but usually if something happens, we can throw the anchor out and keep ourselves from drifting anywhere … like out to sea.  Can you tell adventuring Boca Grande on the other side of that major pass made me just a bit nervous?  For a post on Personal Dinghy Safety, please click here, especially if you want to undertake longer adventures. 

As we rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous (not that we recognized anyone), we explored the Boca Grande Lighthouse (the original one on the southern tip of the island), wandered the beach looking for sharks teeth (not many here, Venice to Don Pedro State Park are best for sharks teeth), thought about having lunch at this cute little beach bar, but our shoes and shirts were a LONG beach walk away, so we settled for our planned picnic on the beach.  Here are a few photos …

The lighthouse from the water, showing a few of the huge ship bollards from days gone by when Boca Grande was a major deep water port.

The lighthouse in the distance with the huge ships dock ruins.

The lighthouse in the distance with the huge ships dock ruins.

A closer look at the historic lighthouse and its fabled beach.

Boca Grande's Lighthouse Point Beach stretches in front of the lighthouse.

Boca Grande’s Lighthouse Point Beach stretches in front of the lighthouse.

The beach … of course.

Boca Grande Beach

Boca Grande Beach

The cute little beach bar that we didn’t get to visit since we didn’t have our shirts & shoes.

Anyone know the name of this place for future reference?  Be sure to have your shirt & shoes, even if you're walking the beach!

South Beach Bar & Grill (thx Carleen!)   Be sure to have your shirt & shoes, even if you’re walking the beach!

Fun day, although it was a bit bumpier on the dinghy ride back across the pass.  We decided to cut our day short just a bit because the wind was building and surfing the waves in a 9′ dinghy returning was as much excitement as we could stand.

Anyone have more recommendations for a day in Boca Grande?  Please leave a comment and share!  Cheers!  Jan

Comments

  1. Envious (that’s about all the comment I can stand)

  2. Hey Jan…the beach restaurant was probably The South Beach Bar and Grill near the state park’s southern entrance.
    Our guys sailed their Lasers off Gasparilla’s south beach with some dolphins (!) over to Cayo Costa last year. Love it there!

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