Little Gasparilla Island
One of the last Bridgeless Barrier islands
Little Gasparilla Island is halfway between Sarasota and Ft. Myers. It has no bridges and is reachable only by private boat or the area's water taxi. There are no paved roads, just sandy pathways that meander through the sea grapes and Australian pines. Golf carts or walking are the usual mode of transportation. At its widest part, the island is only about 1/4 mile wide, so it is a very easy walk from the dock to your home and/or the beach. While the boat ride from the mainland is only 10 minutes, Little Gasparilla is a world apart. From the moment you arrive, you'll feel your stresses slip away with the tide as you truly unplug and reconnect with your family or friends.
BEACH + WILDLIFE
The beach is wide and sandy and the waters are mostly calm on the Gulf of Mexico though occasionally there are periods of bigger waves during storms. The beach is often nearly deserted since you can only access the island by boat. Many days you can walk the beach for hours and not see another soul. Instead, you may spot shorebirds and ghost crabs and giant sea turtles which come here every year to lay their eggs. Porpoises can be spotted offshore cruising up and down the beachfront. Fat manatees drift beneath the docks and float offshore near the sandbar. Osprey circle above looking for fish. Eagles and hawks, herons and egret abound.
RESTAURANTS + Stores
There are no stores on Little Gasparilla Island. The only commercial establishment is the golf cart rental shop and a tiny gift shop near the north end of the island. All groceries must be brought to the island with you on the water taxi, or you can use a local grocery delivery service. There is one restaurant, Rum Bay, on the far north end of the island, about 6 miles north of most of our rental homes. It is best accessed by boat or walking, since you cannot drive golf carts on the beach.
What Is There To Do On The Island?
Snorkel on the sandbar and look for sand dollars
Collect coconuts and paint them
Rent a stand up paddle board and explore the mangroves on the bay or look for manatees out by the sandbar
Try out skim boarding
Look for ghost crabs on the beach after dark
Count up how many species of shorebirds you spot during your stay
Rent a wave runner or jet ski for the day
Walk up the beach to Rum Bay Restaurant for lunch and then walk off your lunch calories on the way back down!
Float on a raft in the gentle waves
Reconnect with your family by unplugging from technology for a week!
Cook delicious family meals together after a day at the beach
Take pictures of shorebirds and our spectacular island sunsets
Drink tropical cocktails in the sun or under an umbrella
Collect driftwood and shells and create a mobile with fishing line
Collect shells or shark's teeth
Search for gopher tortoise burrows
Take an afternoon nap under the beach umbrella
Read a good book..... or two or three!
Kayak in the bay or up the beach
Grab a boogie board and ride the waves
Build sand castles on the beach
Make shell mirrors and shell picture frames (just bring your glue gun and glue sticks!)
Fish off the dock or the beach
Jog to the south end of the island to the see the pass and views of Boca Grande
Look for osprey nests on the island
View a Bird's Eye Tour of Little Gasparilla Island
Is Little Gasparilla Island For You?
Little Gasparilla Island has no bridge, stores, or paved roads, which keeps the beaches private and uncrowded. But island living is a bit rustic and isolated and may not be for everyone. We have prepared the following check-list to help you determine if a barrier island vacation is for you — and to help you test your island compatibility. Ask yourself how many of the circumstances below would absolutely ruin your vacation:
WiFi speed slower than at home - no streaming or gaming or downloading movies
Rain blocking the satellite TV signal temporarily
Thunderstorms every afternoon during the summer months
Temporary power outages (doesn't happen often, but when it does, it can take longer to fix due to being a bridge-less barrier island)
You can't run to the store for that last minute item you forgot or more beer ( grocery delivery service might be able to help in this case!)
Water taxi doesn't run in thunderstorms to take you back to the mainland
No bars, restaurants, shopping malls, miniature golf or video arcades…just the sound of the waves
Itchy bites from sand gnats or midges,( "noseeums" as the locals call them —invisible mosquito-like insects that can actually come right through screens and bite you while you sleep!)
If any of the above are deal breakers for you,
island living may not be the best fit for your vacation.
The perfect guests are those looking for a unique, relaxed, un-plugged vacation away from the mainland stress, in a well-appointed, comfortable island home with beautiful surroundings and lots of peace and privacy. Visitors looking for lots of nightlife, high-speed WiFi, 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.