Little Gasparilla Island is a bridgeless barrier island located between Sarasota and Ft. Myers in Southwest Florida.
Punta Gorda (PGA) - 28 Miles
Sarasota-Brandenton International airport (SRQ) - 52 miles
Southwest Florida international airport (RSW) - 68 miles
Tampa International airport (TPA) - 100 miles
Take I-75 to Exit 191 (River Road). Take River Road South, cross 41 and continue to Winchester. Turn left on Winchester and continue to 776 (McCall Road). Cross McCall and continue on Winchester to Placida Road (775.) Turn left on Placida Road and continue to the Boca Grande Causeway. Turn right on the causeway and Eldred's Marina (where you park and catch the water taxi) is about 1/4 mile on the right.
From Ft. Myers/South:
Take I-75 north to Exit 170 (King's Highway). Exit left to first light, then right on Veteran's Boulevard. Continue several miles on Veteran's to 41. CROSS 41, you are now on 776. Continue on 776, go through the village of El Jobean and cross the Myakka River Bridge, then turn left on 771(Gasparilla Road). Continue on 771 to the Boca Grande Causeway and turn left. Eldred's Marina (where you park and catch the water taxi) is a couple hundred yards on your right. If you come to the Boca Grande toll bridge, you have gone too far!
Where Do We Park?
You will park your vehicle at Eldred's Marina. The address is 6301 Boca Grande Causeway, Placida, FL 33946. Parking is $6/day. ($8 with a trailer.) 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. Eldred's Marina is where you catch the water taxi. Your vehicle should be safe while left in the parking lot.
How Do We Get From the Marina to the Island?
Phone number for Pirate's Water Taxi
There is one water taxi that services the island, Pirate's Water Taxi. The taxi is available every day during daylight hours but will run later with a reservation. It is best to contact them several days in advance, especially if you need to travel very early, after dark, or on a holiday. Average cost for the water taxi is $10.00 per person each way but be sure to verify this as prices sometimes change depending on the time of day you need to cross. There is also a minimum trip charge of $20.
PLEASE try to arrive before dark!
What Is the Beach Like?
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. During storms there may be a rip current, so supervision of small children is always recommended.
Is it Private?
The beach itself is not private, but the difficulty of reaching the island without a boat or water taxi means that there are often very few people on the beach. There are other houses on the island so you do not have complete privacy. Most of our vacation home rentals are centrally located in the island, far from the "crowds" that can occasionally gather on the south end of the island OR at the Don Pedro State Park. Depending on the time of year you visit, you 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. But, because there is no bridge to the island, traffic and large crowds of tourists are virtually nonexistent. Even during peak times the beach is still quiet by public beach standards.
How do we get to the beach?
Beach access for all homes is a sandy pathway. Even homes located on the Bay or inland have easy access to the beach. Since the island is only about 100 yards wide in many spots, it is usually not more than a 3-5 minute walk to the beach.
Can You 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 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. Be sure to ask for a "boat pack" (paper inside plastic) to make groceries easier to handle on the water taxi. We do have a grocery delivery service that may be able to purchase groceries for you during your stay OR to stock your cottage for you prior to your arrival.
Where Can We Rent a Boat?
There are several nearby boat rental agencies which will rent hourly, daily or for a week. Names and phone numbers are provided in the information package once you book. For quotes, check out their websites:
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 Florida Fish and Wildlife website. As you may know, Boca Grande is known as the Tarpon Capital of the World. During the warmer months, from April until almost August, the "silver king" offers fishermen one of the greatest thrills - and challenges - possible. If you are interested in tarpon fishing, contact the Boca Grande Fishing Guides and have them match you with a captain who can best meet your needs, skill level, etc. Their e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Can We Rent a Golf Cart on the Island?
Golf carts can be rented from Little Gasparilla Island Carts at 941-697-3820. It is best to make a reservation well in advance, especially if you will be on the island during a holiday. Most of our inland homes now include a $100 golf cart voucher when you book a week long stay! These vouchers are valid at LGI carts only and subject to availability. You MUST print and bring the voucher with you to redeem it.
Please note that a few of our owners provide golf carts with their rentals. But these golf carts are provided as a courtesy only and the owners will not provide a replacement cart if theirs is not working or if you break it during your stay. If the use of a golf cart is very important to you, we suggest you reserve a rental cart to ensure that one will be available for you.
Where Can We Get Fresh Fish?
There is an excellent fish market in Gulf Cove just a few minutes from Publix called Placida Fish Market. There are also several cute shops in Placida with cute, beachy souvenirs including the Margaret Allbritton Gallery and Hatch Gallery.
What Do We Need to Bring With Us?
Please try to pack light!
Guests ALWAYS bring too many clothes to the island! During the summer months, flip flops, a few T-shirts, a couple pairs of shorts, a couple swimsuits, a hat and a cover up should be sufficient. If you like to jog on the beach, bring your running shoes. And if you are coming in the winter, add some long pants or sweat pants and a sweat shirt or lightweight rain jacket. Almost all restaurants in the area (none on the island) are casual so you won't need "good" clothes unless you plan to dine in Boca Grande. (A couple places there actually require jackets!) Be sure to bring any prescription medications you might need as well as over-the-counter medications and sunscreen because there are no drug stores on the island. Bug spray is also helpful. It can also be helpful to bring allergy medication, children's Tylenol, fever reducer, etc. If you are sensitive to sand gnats (also known as midges or noseeums) Avon Skin-So-Soft is an excellent repellant.
What Is There To Do? Will My Kids Gets 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 and jet-ski rentals nearby, and shelling trips or luncheon trips to Cabbage Key. There is snorkeling and swimming, plus wind-surfing, boogie boarding or tubing. Currently there are no kayak rentals on the island itself. However, you can rent single or tandem kayaks or stand up paddle boards from the mainland and they will deliver them to your dock for you with a 2-day minimum rental.
There is golf on the mainland with several courses to choose from.
The island is also known for its many shell varieties and large number of shark's teeth, and many people walk the beach every day to add to their shell collections.
Some people bring bicycles over on the water taxi and ride the length of the island. (But, the sand pathways are very soft so riding is best on the beach, where the sand is packed harder.)
GOLF CART RIDES
You can also explore the island on a golf cart (rentals available on the island)
For rainy afternoons, there is an island library with books and tapes. Many of our homes also offer movies and books, puzzles and games.
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. There are no lifeguards on Little Gasparilla so little ones will always need supervision on the beach.
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 most houses sit 8-15 feet above the dunes so storm surge is a minimal threat.
How Do We Get in the House?
You must call our guest services manager 24-48 hours before check in to provide your ETA and get home access information.
If you call our complimentary concierge and let him know your water taxi time, he will meet you at the dock and help transport luggage and groceries to the house for you. Generally, it is not necessary to lock the house during your stay. The island is very safe.
How Do we Get From the Dock to the House?
The island is only about 100-200 yards wide in most spots....so even if you choose not to use the concierge service, it is never more than a 3-5 minute walk from the dock to the beach. We do recommend you call him just to make sure you find the right house!
Do You Allow Dogs?
Yes. Little Gasparilla 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 our rentals must be on preventative flea control, and that you properly dispose of pet waste on the beach around the outside of the house. Most of our vacation rental owners charge a $100 non-refundable pet fee (per pet) to help cover additional cleaning costs for furry friends. Most of our cottages are pet friendly, but please be sure to confirm before you bring a pet because some cottages do not allow pets, all require a pet fee and in all cases we MUST be notified in advance before you bring a pet.
Are Linens Included?
Yes, all linens are provided, including beach towels.
Is The Kitchen Fully Stocked? What Will Be Provided During Our Stay?
All kitchens include refrigerator, electric range, microwave, coffee maker, and blender.
All basic kitchen utensils, silverware, and dishes are provided. You will also find all necessary cookware and bake-ware.
WASHERS AND DRYERS
Each and every house has a washer and a dryer.
Each house has a grill for cooking outdoors. Some grills are charcoal, some are gas, and some are electric. When you book, we will confirm the details on the type of grill in your cottage.
Most houses have an outdoor, after-swim shower for rinsing off salt water and sand.
Most homes offer a varied selection of pantry items such as saran wrap, aluminum foil, paper towels, napkins, coffee filters, etc. We provide a starter pack of paper towels and toilet paper, as well as hand soap, dish detergent and laundry detergent.
The house cleaners have been instructed to leave condiments in the refrigerator during the months of high usage. Some people like to have pickles, mustard, ketchup and other condiments left for them. (If you are offended by an opened jar of pickles, please feel free to throw it away.) Since there are no grocery stores on the island, sometimes it is helpful to have additional supplies in the house. Think of it as staying at a friend's home and having access to their refrigerator and pantry. If there is something you absolutely cannot do without, you should plan to bring it with you. Otherwise, you are welcome to use whatever is available in the house.
What Happens if Something Breaks or There Are Other Problems That Need Attention During Our Stay?
Our Housekeeper and our Guest Services Manager live on the island and can usually be reached via cell phone. We also have an on-island handyman, and we can often take care of minor problems within a few hours. 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. AC repairmen, electricians, etc. have to come over on the water taxi just like everyone else. Please be aware that during summer thunderstorms or periods of high winds, it is not unusual to lose power on the entire island for a few hours. So be forewarned that repairs ALWAYS take longer on the island! A "go with the flow" mentality is essential to deal with repairs on the island.
Are Your Rental Homes 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 the homes do not have elevators. Our concierge is available to help carry groceries and luggage up the steps for our guests, so those with limited mobility may be able to enjoy the island, but our homes are not wheelchair-accessible. We have a few cottages with fewer steps that are closer to the ground, so if access is an issue, please let us know and we will recommend cottages that are easiest to access.
What If There Is An Emergency?
There is 9-1-1 service on Little Gasparilla Island, and there are actually first responders, a fire department, and paramedics on the island 24/7. There is a non-emergency number on the island that you can also call if you have non-emergency questions about allergies, rashes, bee stings, and other minor issues while on the island. There is a hospitality nearby in Englewood just 10 minutes from the marina, and if there is a serious emergency, they will arrange evacuation from the island.
Do We Need to Bring Drinking Water?
No. The island water is safe and drinkable. All of our homes are now either connected to municipal water OR have expensive reverse osmosis water systems. You do not need to bring drinking water to the island with you.