Frequently Asked Questions:
1. How do we get to the island?
There is one water taxi that services the island; he runs every day during daylight hours but will run later with a reservation. It is best to contact him a day in advance, especially if you need to travel very early, after dark or on a holiday. Average cost for the water taxi is $15.00 per person but be sure to verify this as prices sometimes change depending on the time of day you need to cross the bay…after dark costs extra. There is also a minimum trip charge. PLEASE try to arrive before dark! Phone number for Pirate's Water Taxi is 941-697-5777.
2. How far is the house from the beach? What is the beach like? Is it Private?
Coconut Hideaway Beachhouse is located RIGHT ON THE BEACH! Many homes on the island are inland, surrounded by foliage with no views of the water. Coconut Hideaway is a true waterfront home, with the dunes and beach right in your front yard.
The beach is perfect for swimming. There are no steep drop-offs when you enter the water from the shore. The bottom is pure white sand and there is usually a sand bar 10-20 yards offshore which keeps the waves to a minimum. The water is usually quite clear.
The beach itself is not private, but the difficulty of reaching the island without a boat or water taxi means that there are often few -- or no -- people on the beach. Beach access for our inland neighbors is just to the south of our house, so you may see other families or couples on the beach depending on the time of the year.
3. Does the beach ever become unsafe for swimming? What about hurricanes?
The beach on Little Gasparilla Island is generally considered to be a calm, family-friendly beach year-round. There are very rare periods of larger waves or higher winds but even during storms, the surf is generally quite mild.
Hurricanes simply cannot be predicted. However, the island has NEVER had a direct hit and even during the severe storms of 2004 and 2005, we had minimal damage. In the event of a mandatory evacuation, you may be asked by authorities to leave the island. Keep in mind that the house sits 20 feet above the dune so storm surge is a minimal threat. Coconut Hideaway Beachhouse has been engineered to withstand 200 knot winds and is quite safe in all but the worst storms.
4. Can we buy groceries on the island?
No. There are no commercial establishments on the island. All groceries need to be purchased on your way to the marina and brought over with you on the water taxi. We offer access to our fully stocked pantry and the Coconut Hideaway is usually well supplied with staples, condiments, spices, popcorn, powdered drink mixes, etc. which you are welcome to use. The closest grocery store on the mainland is approximately 3 miles from the marina where you park. We suggest that our guests buy the majority of their groceries just prior to arrival at the marina, to limit the necessity of making additional water taxi trips.
5. Where do we park?
You will park your vehicle at Eldred's Marina. Their address is 6301 Boca Grande Causeway, Placida, FL 33946. Parking is $5 a day. Please pay for your parking and place your parking pass in your vehicle's windshield before catching the water taxi to the island. If you arrive after dark and the marina is closed, please contact them the next day at 941-697-1431 and make arrangements to pay for your parking.
6. Where can we rent a boat?
There are three nearby boat rental agencies which will rent hourly, daily or for a week. Names and phone numbers are provided in the information package.
7. How do we get in the house?
Coconut Hideaway Beachhouse will be left unlocked for you...our housekeeper will come to the house immediately prior to your arrival and will leave the house open. Generally, it is not necessary to lock the house. The island is very safe.
8. How private is the island?
There are other houses on the island so you do not have complete privacy. We are fortunate to live on a part of the island that is lower in density than the south end of the island…there are no condos near our house, and any crowds on the beach are generally on the south end of the island OR at the Don Pedro State Park which is approximately 1-1/2 miles north of our house. Depending on the time of year you visit, we can sometimes walk for hours on the beach without seeing another person; holiday weekends are generally quite busy, since many of the island homes are owned by Florida residents who visit on the weekends.
And, because there is no bridge to the island, traffic and tourists are virtually nonexistent.
9. Where's the closest airport?
Sarasota Airport is just over an hour to the north; Ft. Myers (SW Florida Regional Airport) is about 1-1/2 hours to the south. There are also small airports in Venice(45 minutes) and Punta Gorda (50 minutes) and a grass strip in Englewood.
10. Do you allow dogs?
YES, the island is very dog friendly, and since there are rarely-enforced leash laws, there are often many dogs on the beach swimming, chasing birds, digging in the sand and chasing frisbees. Because of this freedom, aggressive dogs are generally not tolerated unless they are restrained.
We also request that any pets staying at Coconut Hideaway Beachhouse are on preventative flea control, and that you properly dispose of pet waste around the outside of the house.
11. Is the kitchen fully stocked/what will be provided during our stay?
The kitchen is complete with toaster oven, refrigerator, electric range, microwave, coffee maker, blender, water cooler, dishwasher, crock pot, coffee grinder, bread maker, two BBQ grills and a smoker. You will also find all necessary cookware, bakeware, utensils and all dishes including melamine for children. The house also has a full-size washer and dryer. There is an outdoor, after-swim shower for rinsing off salt water and sand.
12. Are linens provided?
Yes, all linens are provided, including beach towels. Our sheets are 100% cotton and we offer a selection of down or foam pillows.
13. How many people does the beachhouse accommodate?
Well....that depends! We have two king-size beds (one in each bedroom) plus a sofa bed in the living room and two daybeds suitable for small children. Bedrooms are configured with one king and one daybed in each; the living room has the sofa bed (queen size) and the sleeping porch has two twins. (a trundle bed that can be converted into a king.) The sofa bed in the living room offers limited privacy and the sleeping porch is quite small. As a general rule, we prefer to limit the number of guests to 6 but depending on the number of children in your party, we may be able to accommodate up to 8.
14. If this is a barrier island, with no roads and bridges, what is there to do? Will my kids get bored?
There are numerous outdoor activities to satisfy the most energetic guest. There is excellent fishing from the dock or the beach; nearby Placida and Boca Grande offer numerous charters for deep-sea fishing, tarpon fishing or flats fishing. There are kayak rentals nearby, and sunset cruises, eco-excursions, shelling trips or luncheon trips to Cabbage Key. There is golf on the mainland with several courses to choose from. There is snorkeling and swimming right in front of the house, plus wind-surfing, boogie boarding or tubing. (We have boogie boards and some snorkeling gear you may use.) The island is also known for its many shell varieties, and many people walk the beach every day to add to their shell collections. Many people bring bicycles and ride the length of the island. You can also explore the island on a golf cart (rentals available on the island), watch eagles and osprey nest, swim with the dolphins and watch massive sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand on balmy summer evenings.
For the rare rainy day, Coconut Hideaway Beachhouse provides a library of movies, books and many board games, card games and puzzles for children and adults. The house has a piano with a small collection of music books and two hammocks for relaxing or reading a good book. We have satellite TV, a VHS and DVD player, SurroundSound stereo system with CD player and you may use our computer (MAC) with free wi-fi access if requested in advance.
You can also check us out on Coconut Hideaway Beachhouse's Facebook Page for seasonal events and activities.
15. Is there a perfect guest for Coconut Hideaway Beachhouse? Who might be unhappy on the island?
The perfect guests are those looking for a relaxed vacation, in a well-appointed beachfront home with beautiful surroundings and peace and privacy. Visitors looking for lots of nightlife or those who prefer to eat every meal in a restaurant and don't want to cook on vacation would probably be happier on the mainland.
16. What happens if something breaks or there are other problems that need attention during our stay?
Our housekeeper lives nearby and can usually be reached via cell phone. We live just 15 minutes from the marina, but we do need to get our boat out of storage to come to the island. We will do our best to get problems taken care of as quickly as possible. But, due to the nature of island living, instant repairs are not always possible. We do provide phone numbers for relevant repair services (AC, appliances, water system, etc.) and you are authorized to contact them directly if you are unable to reach us immediately.
17. Do we need a fishing license?
As a rule, if you are fishing from the dock or the beach Florida residents do not need a license, but out-of-state guests do. For more specific details on requirements and fees, visit the Fish and Wildlife website at http://www.takemefishing.org/state/FL/FL-fishing-license-and-regulations/
18. Is the Coconut Hideaway Beachhouse handicap accessible?
Unfortunately, due to building restrictions on the island, all newer homes are built on pilings, with at least one flight of steps up to the house, and we do not have an elevator.
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19. What else should we know about Coconut Hideaway Beachhouse?
With the exception of the aerial photography, we personally took every house photo on this website....what you view in the photos is what you can expect to find when you arrive. We do not want you to be disappointed or unhappy with any aspect of your vacation at Coconut Hideaway and we welcome any additional questions you might have. When you visit Coconut Hideaway Beachhouse, we are welcoming you into our home. As long-time island residents, we are trusting that you will respect and care for our home, our possessions and our environment, follow the guest policies that have been agreed to and be responsible guests. We have participated in numerous rentals and home exchanges over the past years and we want all of our guests to enjoy the island as much as we do! We want you to have a wonderful vacation!
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