Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island, Florida Real Estate
Tucked away at the southern tip of Gasparilla Island, between Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico, Boca Grande – ‘Big Mouth’ in Spanish - is a vacation destination for the wealthy and those who just want to get away. Head toward Englewood from either Venice or Port Charlotte, and you will see signs directing you to Boca Grande, Florida. From the time you pass through the toll booth, you will feel as if you have entered a hidden paradise. Boca Grande, Florida has a rich and vibrant history. Home to the native Calusa Empire, it was home to thousands of people, whose primary source of food and trade was fish. The Calusa first met the Spanish explorers in the sixteenth century. Standing on the beaches of this barrier island today, one can easily imagine the life it supported. Today, many of Boca Grande’s fishing families are fourth and fifth generation descendants of the Spanish and Cuban fishermen who inherited this trade from the Calusa Empire.
Tourists and residents love the great weather, enjoying outdoor activities which include boating, golfing, bicycling, and swimming. Bring your own bike or rent one from a local outfitter and pedal the bike path – the old railroad bed that stretches eleven miles down the island. During the 1920s and well into the 1940s the railroad brought aristocratic winter visitors and their entourage to Boca Grande, Florida for a few weeks in the sun. In 1958, the Boca Grande Causeway opened. The old Train Depot was restored in the 1970s and now houses shops, offices and a restaurant. If fishing is your passion, you can fish for tarpon in Boca Grande Pass. Relax on the beach near the Boca Grande Lighthouse, or visit pristine Cayo Costa State Park, accessible only by boat from the southern tip of Boca Grande, Florida.
You won’t find a single high-rise building or traffic light on Boca Grande, Florida, and most residents use golf carts as transportation. In fact, Lee County has designated all but two streets as golf cart paths. No traffic jams here! You can still see signs of the village that was in the names of some of its streets – for example Dam-If-I-Care and Dam-If-I-Will. There is always an ocean breeze blowing on the beautiful beaches, where you can doze and dream of joining the pirate Jose Gaspar as he made sail from the barrier islands or meeting the Astors at the old train station as they arrived to celebrate the winter holidays.
If you prefer activity to lounging, you will find plenty to do in Boca Grande, Florida. Known as the ‘Tarpon Capitol of the World’, Boca Grande, Florida offers a wealth of opportunity for the avid fisherman. Guided fishing tours are available for deep sea and back-bay trips. You might even catch a hammerhead shark! Visit the famous and enduring Whidden's Marina on First Street East, founded by Sam Whidden in 1926 and run by the Whidden family ever since. Go hiking or sailing and enjoy the sunshine and picturesque views. Browse the art galleries, and stop to snap a picture of the beautiful Banyan trees overhanging Second Street – otherwise known as ‘Banyan Street’. You can sample the local fare in great restaurants like PJ’s Sea Grille, Temptation, Jams, Loons on a Limb, Pink Elephant, and the old Gasparilla Inn, just across from the old Train Depot. This inn has provided comfortable rooms and good food to weary travelers and visitors since 1912. In fact, some families have had standing reservations at the Gasparilla Inn for several generations.
Most of the residents of Boca Grande, Florida are fishermen, retirees or wealthy residents with winter homes. The median age is fifty-five. There are only about 1,000 residents on Boca Grande, Florida. Visitors can rent a condo and immerse themselves in the quaint historical culture. But be careful! You just may love this area so much that you will decide to stay – and because Boca Grande, Florida is only a short distance from Sarasota and Fort Myers, you can have the best of both worlds. Visit the cities to attend a concert or a sports event, or to shop at a large mall; then come back home to the natural beauty of Boca Grande, Florida.
If you choose to settle on this grand barrier island, you are sure to enjoy the solitude – except perhaps during the annual tarpon fishing tournament in July or during the holidays when many wintering residents return. On occasion you might even encounter a film crew, using the quaint backdrop of Boca Grande, Florida and its banyan trees to bring the great Floridian culture to life on the silver screen. Boca Grande real estate is precious and revered, and it is renowned as the exclusive coastal address in southwestern Florida. If you long for a slower pace coupled with natural beauty and a bit of the grand old Floridian culture, Boca Grande, Florida is the place for you! To find out more about Boca Grande and Gasparilla Island, contact us.