Boca Grande Things to Do

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  • Charlotte Harbor, Florida
    Charlotte Harbor, Florida
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    Approaching Boca Grande
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Most Recent Things to Do in Boca Grande

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    Gasparilla Island Lighthouse Museum

    by atufft Updated Jun 5, 2011

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    Gasparilla Lighthouse Museum
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    History buffs can miss this gem. See the link for more details, but basically this was a turn of the century lighthouse occupied by a family willing to live on this barrier island remote from Punta Gorda, where the railroad depot was located. Gasparilla Island, now a state park, was named after the pirate Jose Gaspar, and so folklore for pirates is a strong attraction for tourists coming to the area, probably long before the lighthouse was built after 1888. The purpose of the lighthouse was mostly to protect the seagoing vessels exporting agricultural phosphates that were mined up the Peace river, then sent on barges to the port at Boca Grande. The chemical tanks and port are long gone, but pilings for the dock remain. Inside the main floor of the lighthouse are four rooms, three of which are devoted to instruction about lighthouse history and Boca Grande ecology. The fourth room is a well stocked museum gift shop. The museum is free, but a small cash donation box recommends a price.

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    Boca Grande Beaches

    by atufft Written Jun 5, 2011

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    Beaches just outside Boca Grande
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    The white sandy beaches, some areas heavy with broken shells, are busy with boaters and beach lovers. Landfall meant contending figuring out where to anchor the boat, but also how to walk past the spiny vegetation part of the ecosystem there. The Boca Grande has rip currents and can be difficult for boaters and swimmers, but we found mostly a beautifully calm day.

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    Fishing Boat ride across Charlotte Bay

    by atufft Written Jun 5, 2011

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    Charlotte Harbor, Florida
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    Charlotte Harbor, the second largest in Florida, empties the Peace River and other tributary springs that flow from the harbors at Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, and numerous island wetland areas north and south of these places. My host's boat was launched at the Port Charlotte Beach Park, and so we were quickly sailing into the center of the main harbor. At this point Charlotte Bay is very wide, such that only a thin line of forest and waterfront condos appears on either side. Seagulls dive for fish, and dolphin play near the boat as we approached the Boca Grande, a 45 minute trip across only slightly choppy waters. Part way across the color of the water changes from a tannin rich deep blue to the shallow sandy bottom almost turquoise blue. The photos here show this transition from the first to fourth shot.

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    Port Boca Grande Lighthouse

    by tpangelinan Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Port Boca Grande Lighthouse
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    This lighthouse is located at the bottom of Gasparilla Island and was activated on December 31, 1890 due to the phosphate that was discovered several miles up the Peace River around the early 1880's. Phosphate was being ship at such a fast rate congress decided to contruct a lighthouse at the opening between Gasparilla and Lacosta Islands. The lighthouse was automated in 1956 and in 1966 the lighthouse was abandoned by the Coast Guard. It was replaced by a 58-foot tall steel skeleton tower inland. Now it is a museum and visitors center for all to enjoy and also the oldest building on Gasparilla Island.

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    Boca Grande lighthouse

    by grandmaR Updated Jan 3, 2011

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    Boca Grande lighthouse
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    We visited the lighthouse on our way from Fort Myers to St. Petersburg. It is down on the end of a peninsula and we had a little trouble finding it, although you can't really get lost. This is one lighthouse that I am able to climb because it is only a one-story dwelling with a square tower in the center of the hipped roof. I didn't go up in the tower, which had a circular lantern room protecting a third-and-a-half-order Fresnel lens. We also saw the Rear Range Light (photo 4)

    In the 17th century, phosphate was discovered several miles up the Peace River, and the mining and transport of this material through the port resulted in Congress appropriating $35,000 for the construction of a lighthouse at the southern tip of Gasparilla Island in 1888. The lighthouse was activated on December 31, 1890 by keeper Francis McNulty. In 1907, a rail line was built from the mines to Boca Grande. This made it more economical to ship the phosphate. It was not until 1958 that a bridge and road was built so people could drive to the island. In 1966, the lighthouse was abandoned by the Coast Guard, and the 58-foot tall steel skeleton Rear Range Light tower was established further inland.

    By 1970, erosion was threatening the old lighthouse. In 1971, a 265-foot granite jetty was built near the lighthouse to protect the island. Florida Power and Light, which had storage facilities at Port Boca Grande, then pumped 100,000 cubic yards of fill into the area, much of it around the lighthouse itself.

    The lighthouse has been restored and is in the Gasparilla Island State Park. According to the Florida State Parks page, it is open to the public 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily from November through April. From May through July and September it is open Wednesday through Sunday. The lighthouse will be closed during the month of August.

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    Native Plant - Sea Grape

    by easterntrekker Updated May 21, 2009

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    Sea Grape is one of the best native plants in South Florida. It is very easy to grow, requires little water as it grows naturally in the wild, provides food and shelter for wildlife, and is very attractive with lush foilage. It is native and grows naturally along the beaches on coastal dunes .

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    The Fat Lighthouse

    by easterntrekker Updated May 21, 2009

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    Built in 1888 this is the islands best landmark . The lighthouse, dwelling, and surrounding acreage were transferred to the State of Florida in 1988 and became Gasparilla Island State Park. Today it houses a museum and tells the stoty of the island and the people who have lived here.

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    Rear Range Lighthouse

    by easterntrekker Updated May 21, 2009

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    The original construction date of the Boca Grande Rear Range Light was 1881. It was rebuilt and offically lit in 1932. The tower stands 105 feet tall, and originally housed a fourth-roder Fresnel lens.

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    Sand Spur Beach

    by tpangelinan Written May 12, 2009

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    Sand Spur Beach
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    Sand Spur beaches has been rated on of the top ten beaches in Florida by the Travel Channel and it lives up to it! The beaches is very clean, wide, white sand, no real waves so it's great if you take the kids here, no worry about them getting knocked over by a wave here! We also found some nice shells here too.

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    Go shelling

    by tpangelinan Written May 12, 2009

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    Shelling on Boca Grande

    If you go to the bottom of the island where the Old Boca Grande Lighthouse is you might have some pretty good luck finding some shells. This is a fun thing to do with little ones if you have any! Make sure to bring a bad to put them in otherwise your pockets will get full of sand.

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    Pink Pony Icecream shop

    by tpangelinan Written May 10, 2009

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    Pink Pony Icecream shop
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    The Pink Pony Icecream shop has been here for 60 years and still serves some great icecream. Terry & i were exploring the little town and found this shop, got some icecream and continued our stroll. It was a hot day and the icecream hit the spot, yummy! You much go if you make it to the island.

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    Boca Grande Rear Range Lighthouse

    by tpangelinan Written May 10, 2009

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    Boca Grande Rear Range Lighthouse
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    This Rear Range Lighthouse was built in 1881 and used as the Delaware Breakwater Rear Range Light guiding ships past the tip of Cape Henlopen, due to the shifting shorelines the light was ineffective and was discontinued in 1918. It was dismantled in 1921 and shipped to Miami and later sent to Gasparlla Island in 1927, put back together and finally relit in 1932 as the 105' Boca Grande Rear Range Light and remains in service today.

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  • Boca Grande Pass Tarpon Fishing

    by somewhereridin Written Jan 11, 2009

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    Boca Grande Florida is the Tarpon Capital of the World. Fishing Boca Grande Pass for Tarpon is the Superbowl of fishing and is unlike any other experience. During peak season there are usually several dozen boats all working the same area of the Pass just a stones throw from the famous Boca Grande lighthouse and the spectator-lined beach.

    Why all the boats in such a small area? More than 5000 Tarpon are landed annually as the fish migrate through the Pass. The large number of boats in close proximity to one another, a healthy supply of giant sharks who regularly devour Tarpon at boat side (this is a site you will not soon forget), and the Tarpons' uncanny ability to shake hooks loose during their aerial displays, all combine to make landing a very large Tarpon truly an accomplishment.

    The best time to go is April through July. Make sure to hire a professional guide as it is not advisable to try this yourself in your own boat.

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    gasparilla island state park

    by doug48 Updated Nov 24, 2008

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    gasparilla beach

    the gasparilla island state park is located on the southern tip of gasparilla inland about two miles from central boca grande. the state park offers a beautiful beach, swimming, picnicking, and fishing. boca grande is famous for it's excellent tarpon, snook, and shark fishing. the gasparilla island state park is also home to the 1890 boca grande light house.

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    boca grande lighthouse

    by doug48 Written Nov 24, 2008

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    boca grande lighthouse

    pictured is the historic boca grande lighthouse. located in the gasparilla state park this 1890 lighthouse is open to the public and has a museum about the lighthouse and the history of the area. a very worth while place to see when in boca grande.

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Boca Grande Things to Do

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