Escape the hustle and bustle!  Castaway for the day on Cayo Costa Island.

Escape the hustle and bustle! Castaway for the day on Cayo Costa Island.

If you’re looking for a hideaway from the excitement of Southwest Florida for the day, Cayo Costa Island State Park is the perfect oasis. This barrier island, accessible by boat or ferry, is tucked away near Punta Gorda and North Fort Myers, making it the ideal private retreat. This remarkable Gulf Coast location, renowned for the white sand beaches and shelling, is a seclusive and relaxing getaway.

Getting to Cayo Costa Island

Cayo Costa Island lies at the entrance of Charlotte Harbor, nestled between North Captiva Island and Boca Grande, and is reached by boat or ferry. If you don’t have a boat to visit this breathtaking island, Captiva Cruises, the official state park concessionaire, has you covered! The ferry accommodates all kinds of family fun, offering private cruises for special events and conveniently running from several locations including: Captiva Island, Punta Gorda, Boca Grande, and Pine Island.

Cayo Costa State Park Features

The ferry docks at the State Park and from there it is a short walk (a free tram service is also offered) to the captivating white sand beaches and shelling. Booking your trip in advance is encouraged and can be done by phone (239) 472-5100 or on the Cayo Costa Ferry website.

When you get to the island, you will certainly see some aquatic life, as the beaches are a sea turtle nesting area from May-September. These nests are marked with wooden sticks, so be sure to get some pictures, but not to disturb the nests, as they are protected by law.

What To Do On Cayo Costa Island

Once you dock on the island, you will see 9 miles of sparkling and immaculate white sand beach, untouched and ready to be explored. This island features sand dunes and peaceful pine forests with tranquil oak-palm hammocks tucked in with the mangroves. If you’re looking for the perfect picnic spot, the island is full of grassy spots hidden under the shade of palms or pine trees.

Cayo Costa Island has gems tucked all over and is considered to be one of the best beaches for shells in the world, so if you want a unique and memorable souvenir, look no further. The island  ends in over six miles of trails, which are perfect to enjoy fishing, biking, birdwatching or snorkeling.

If you want more time on this tranquil island, you can rent a cabin with bunk beds or bring your own camping gear for the full island experience and enjoy your fresh catch on the grills at the campsites.

Castaway For The Day!
Castaway For The Day!

McCarthy’s Marina in Captiva is your last stop on your way to Cayo Costa Island, so be sure to have picked up all of your essentials before you become a castaway for the day!

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Free Things to Do Near Bradenton in Summer 2017

Free Things to Do Near Bradenton in Summer 2017

Free Things to do Near Bradenton in Summer 2017 Riviera Dunes Marina

Free Things to Do Near Bradenton in Summer 2017

From gazing at unique artwork to admiring national memorials and parks, there are several free things to do near Bradenton this summer! Whether you’re on a budget or are just searching for some fun things to do to give your wallet a break, the fun never stops near Bradenton!

Visit the Cortez Historic Fishing Village.

Immerse yourself in history as you enter the charming fishing village of Cortez. Traverse through Cortez’s Florida Maritime Museum offering free admission every day! Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Don’t miss the latest exhibit, Florida Through the Lens, which displays the work of nature photographer Richard Estabrook. This exhibit continues through July 28. In addition to the museum, you can take a stroll through charming, old fish houses!

Admire the Riverwalk’s public art collection.

Stroll Bradenton’s Riverwalk to view 19 pieces of public art. From acoustic sculptures to the drum yard, the public art is enjoyable for all ages! Kids will especially love cooling down at the Riverwalk’s Splash Pad making this one of the best free things to do near Bradenton when the heat keeps climbing this summer.

Take a nature hike at the De Soto National Memorial.

Get up close and personal with the beautiful nature that our area has to offer. The park at the De Soto National Memorial offers a nature trail, picnic tables and opportunities for bird watching and fishing. The best of all is that the entire experience is free!

Experience island history.  

You can truly spend an entire day when at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., see the museum’s many exhibits and even a historical cottage that uniquely shows you what it was like living on the island. Originally an icehouse, the museum’s exhibits take you through fishing and baseball history with their collection of newspaper archives. Then, stroll through Mangrove Walk to learn about plants that are native to our area.

Go to the beach.

At the end of the day, one of the greatest free activities to take advantage of while near Bradenton is relaxing at the beach! Comb the local beaches for shells, take a tranquil walk, or simply enjoy the relaxing environment of a day spent at the beach.

Next: Top Fun and Free Things to Do in Sarasota