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!

Original article here

3 Places for Shelling Near Riviera Dunes Marina

3 Places for Shelling Near Riviera Dunes Marina

3 Places For Shelling Near Riviera Dunes Marina

3 Places for Shelling Near Riviera Dunes Marina

Did you know that when you visit Bradenton, you’ll get to take home a “piece” of it with you? That’s right! One of our most beloved pastimes—other than boating, of course—is to visit the lovely beaches near Riviera Dunes Marina in search of shells! Shelling is not only a fun activity in and of itself, but it provides built-in souvenirs for you to take home to remember your trip for years to come. Here are our three of our favorite places to go shelling near Riviera Dunes Marina:

Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is brimming with shells! From lovely turkey wings to the smaller coquinas, and even sand dollars, there are plenty of treasures to discover when you visit the beaches of Anna Maria Island. Whether you’re shelling along the shores of Manatee Public Beach or at Anna Maria City Beach, it’s not uncommon to find shells that are in perfect condition. Larger shells are known to be found when you’re on North Bay Boulevard at Bayfront Park during low tide. Then when you head to the more southern end of the island, Coquina Public Beach is popular for finding both seashells and shark teeth.

Siesta Key

When you visit the beaches of Siesta Key, wonderful shelling opportunities await you! Though you are bound to find shells on all of Siesta Key’s three beaches, Turtle Beach is known to have the greatest abundance of shells among the three beaches. Plus, this beach is much less crowded, so there are always plenty of shells to take home with you!

Lido Key

Known for its two miles of pristine shoreline, the barrier island of Lido Key is also a hotspot for shells. Roam Lido Key’s beaches, whether it’s North Lido Beach, Lido Key Public Beach or South Beach, and you’re bound to find heaps of shells. However, if you want to find the most shells on Lido Key, head to the less busy northern end. With less hotels and less foot traffic, the more shelling opportunities there will be for you and your loved ones!

Next: 4 Tips for Protecting Yourself from the Florida Sun

3 Shelling Hot Spots Near Palmetto, FL

3 Shelling Hot Spots Near Palmetto, FL

3 Shelling Hot Spots Near Palmetto, FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

3 Shelling Hot Spots Near Palmetto, FL

If you’re looking for shelling hot spots near Palmetto, you don’t have to go far! There are plenty of locals’ spots that you will want to visit when you’re ready to add to your collection. While veteran beachcombers might know about these spots, you never know what treasures you will discover upon your return!

Keep in mind that you’ll have your most successful shelling when either the water is at low tide or after a storm, when there are plenty of gems washing ashore. 

Here are the three best shelling hot spots when you’re in the Palmetto area.

Manatee Public Beach

If you head to the end of Manatee Public Beach, you can park there for free! After combing the beaches, this is also a great area to shop for souvenirs, visit gift shops and even grab lunch or dinner at the variety of cafes there. And if you prefer to clean up before heading home, there are public showers to do so!

Coquina Public Beach

Head to South Gulf Drive, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find abundant treasures awaiting for you! Here you will find shark’s teeth! When you work up an appetite from all of your shelling, head to the concession stand for some light refreshments.

Egmont Key

Tucked away in Tampa Bay, beachcombers must travel by ferry to this area, which is home to pristine beaches and of course excellent shelling opportunities. Because this state park is so secluded, it’s best to pack plenty of drinking water and extra food as there are no stores on site. Once you’re done shelling, that doesn’t mean the fun stops! Continue to enjoy the great outdoors as you can go fishing, swimming and even wildlife watching.

Next: 4 Events for Fall Fun in the Palmetto Area