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 years 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 never more than a 3-4 minute walk to the beach.
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 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 email@example.com
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.
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 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 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 Cape Haze Marina 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.