Get to Know Florida's Quiet Beach Oasis
On the Southwest coast of Florida, there lies a sleepy little beach town on the island of Gasparilla. Far away from the action and overcrowding of Fort Lauderdale and Key West, Boca Grande offers an off the beaten path vacation. There are no spring breakers, just beautiful scenery and complete serenity.
The Town’s USP
The beautiful beaches of Boca Grande are covered in white sand. The quiet streets are lined with Banyan trees and free of chain stores, traffic lights, and, in many cases, cars (residents the main mode of transportation is the golf cart and all but two streets are designated solely for golf cart use). The shops and restaurants are local, independent operations.
Things to Do Here
Here, you don’t mistake the town’s tranquility for boring. There is still plenty to do and see in Boca Grande. The area is home to a picturesque, 104-year-old lighthouse in the Gasparilla Island State Park, and a stop at the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum is a must. Go hiking in the Cayo Costa State Park, accessible only by boat, with 9 miles of beaches and large pine forests. The town is home to beautiful art galleries and is a prime spot for tarpon fishing. The nearby Charlotte Harbor is one of the top sailing destinations in the US. Take a guided boat tour to Calusa Indian Mound and spot some dolphins and manatees.
Where to Stay
The Gasparilla Inn & Club, operating since 1913, is a member of the Historic Hotels of America. Equipped with a golf course, bike and golf cart rentals, a fitness center, and table games, such as billiards, the hotel also offers rooms and cottages all fitted with Tempurpedic beds and individual temperature control. The standard room starts at $255 a night and rates vary by season. The hotel offers poolside drinks, a drinking lounge, a casual bakery, the main dining room, and operates the nearby restaurant, The Pink Elephant, open to both guests and the public.