Little Gasparilla Island

A Bridgeless Barrier Island on the Gulf of Mexico, Placida, Cape Haze Florida 33946

Little Gasparilla Island is a tropical barrier Island paradise located just off the Southwest Coast of Florida's Cape Haze. Situated halfway between Sarasota and Ft. Myers at the mouth of Charlotte Harbor, Little Gasparilla Island benefits from cool tropical breezes in the summer and warm sunshine in the winter. There used to be separate Islands: Palm Island, Knight Island, Don Pedro Island and Little Gasparilla Island. Following a storm in the 60s which closed the passes, the Islands became one, with Little Gasparilla being the southernmost.

There are no roads and no cars or traffic on LGI. The Island offers 7 miles of beautiful pristine beach unspoiled by either seawalls or high-rises. North of Little Gasparilla Island now is the Don Pedro State Park. During the summer, the beach is a nesting spot for endangered sea turtles which lay their eggs in the warm sand near the dunes.

The shells on the Island are among the most plentiful on the West Coast and the beaches are dotted with prehistoric shark's teeth free for the collecting. The best time to go shelling is just before and at low tide and after a storm. Be sure to check the high tide lines where the surf often tosses the largest shells. The sandbars are home to sand dollars, whelks, starfish and conchs.

Little Gasparilla Island is pet-friendly and it's common to see friendly dogs walking the beach with their owners. It was one of the highlights of our trip to LGI. (Dogs must be kept under control so as not to bother others, and you must pick up after your dog.) Mostly, Little Gasparilla offers privacy and tranquility and a rare sense of peace not found at many Florida vacation spots, a unique "old Florida" experience still shining today. Many days you can walk the beach for hours without seeing another soul. Yet Island neighbors are friendly and always willing to offer a helping hand. There is a quaint Island chapel which offers non-denominational services from time to time and which has been the site of memorable Island weddings. Golf cart rentals are available on the Island from LGI Carts for scenic tours but many people prefer to walk the beautiful narrow sandy pathways with tropical overhanging palms and flowers.

If you need to stay in touch, 4G LTE Internet works in most places on Little Gasparilla Island.

Bird watchers will spot egret and osprey, rare white pelicans, blue herons, and even the occasional bald eagle. The waters are rich with manatees and dolphins and the waves are gentle and calming and perfect for floating on a raft. The bottom is mostly white sand. You can often see sand dollars off the sand bar.

Fishing from either the dock or the beach can provide daily entertainment — and a hearty meal depending on your luck, and at the end of a long day, a breathtaking sunset over the Gulf of Mexico gently eases you into the evening.

You must bring all your groceries over with you on your boat or Pirate's Water Taxi from Eldred's Marina on Boca Grande Causeway. There is an excellent fish market in nearby Placida and several mainland restaurants are also reachable by boat.