Fishing & No Fuss
Known as the tarpon fishing capital of the world, Boca Grande is the ultimate old Florida hidden getaway. From kayaking through mangroves with manatees and exploring lighthouses to enjoying fresh-caught, mouth-watering seafood along the shore, this charming town at the fringe of Gasparilla Island is the perfect fit for a relaxing, no-fuss, tourist-free weekend on the Gulf.
The Outlet at the Innlet kicks off your day with some of the best Belgian waffles, home fries and custom-order omelets on the coast. Then, head to the miles of beaches along Gasparilla Island State Park for a unique, secluded experience. Tour the local Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Museum or the historic Gasparilla Island Lighthouse, which has been used in both Delaware and Florida. Miles of bike paths wind through Boca Grande around historical streets and under shaded trees, making bike rental a fun and easy activity to enjoy.
Book a fishing trip with a local charter service hailed for kid-friendly guides, such as Reel Intense Inshore Charters, so you don’t miss out on the catches that make Boca Grande one of the most popular fishing destinations in the world. Some charters will even clean and cook your fish for you.
If DIY dinner is not on the menu and you’re looking for a hearty meal, stop by what many locals consider the best establishment in town, The Temptation Restaurant. The fresh seafood from this small, quiet eatery rivals the flavors of some of the fanciest restaurants on the Gulf but in an easygoing atmosphere.
“The little beach town of Boca Grande is so fun for families because everyone drives around in golf carts, and iguanas have taken over the island!”Heather Reneau, PLAYGROUND Publisher
- EAT: Stop by P.J.’s Seagrille, a casual, colorful eatery known for its innovative Boca Grande-style dining, perfect for the whole family.
- STAY: Staying on the island will cost you, but for an upscale experience that includes meal-inclusive packages or pet- and family-friendly cottage options for longer stays, The Gasparilla Inn Resort is hard to beat! Stash some cash by staying at one of the smaller Old Florida-style inns or opt for a stay off-island at a kid-friendly location just north of Boca Grande like the Palm Island Resort.
- SEE: For shelling and pristine nature, take the ferry ride to the beaches of Cayo Costa State Park, where natural beauty, dolphin sightings and empty beaches are common and picturesque.
- DO: Kayak through shallow mangroves or open waters to spot dolphins, manatees and other native wildlife.