At Seventeen-miles long Pine Island is the largest island on Florida's west coast, and is probably one of Florida's last "undiscovered" secrets. The barrier islands of Sanibel, Captiva, North Captiva and Cayo Costa provide protection from the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Pine Island has retained its "Olde Florida" charm. No high-rises or major resorts, just local communities serving people from all walks of life.
Bokeelia at the northern end, Pineland on the west coast, St. James City on the southern end, and the island's portal at Matlacha provide boating access to one of the greatest fishing areas in the State of Florida. Boca Grande Pass, the Tarpon Capital of the World, is a 15-minute boat ride from Bokeelia.
The spectacular views offered from the porches and decks of the Bokeelia Tarpon Inn are almost indescribable.
Your boat or ours the surrounding waters of Pine Island will keep you entertained with world class fishing and sightseeing. Pine Island Sound lies between Pine Island and a host of islands that provide a variety of activities for our guests—shelling, sunning, swimming, dining and shopping, to name just a few.
Cabbage Key: Mary Roberts Rinehart, the famous mystery writer, once owned the mangrove island situated between Pine Island and the Gulf of Mexico. Now an island community of guest cottages and stay-a boards, Island hoppers often stop by the restaurant for a “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, or the locally famous Pina Coladas. Take the short nature walk around the island to see gopher turtles, ducks, osprey, and other indigenous animal life. Trips available by request on the “Bokeelia Lady”.
Useppa Island: One of the more exclusive islands in Pine Island Sound. Thousands of years ago the Calusa Indians made Useppa their headquarters, later the Pirate Gaspar used the Island as a holding place for his prisoners awaiting ransom. In its more recent history, Baron Collier purchased the island and built the Inn that still bears his name. The island was also both a training area and headquarters for President John K. Kennedy's invasion of Cuba – The Bay of Pigs. Today it is an enclave of old-style Florida homes and remains private to all but invited guests. Trips to enjoy the museum and restaurants available by request on the “Bokeelia Lady”.
Boca Grande: An island community at the southern tip of Gasparilla Island, it enjoys a reputation as one of the most picturesque villages on the Gulf Coast. While just seven miles from our front door, it is a two hour trip by car, so we recommend travel to it by boat from Bokeelia, then rent a golf cart to visit unspoiled beaches, quaint shops and tucked-away restaurants. Trips available by request on the “Bokeelia Lady”.
Cayo Costa: A 17-mile long barrier island with beautiful white sandy beaches right on the Gulf of Mexico . Spend the afternoon lying in the sun, swimming in the surf, or looking for the rare Junonia seashell. Ask us about boat service to the island.
North Captiva: Another island with a beautiful Gulf-side beach, also offers a restaurant — Barnacle Phil's, for lunches or evening meals. There are two gift shops within a short walk of local dockage. Trips available by request on the “Bokeelia Lady”.
Sanibel and Captiva Islands: The southernmost barrier islands between the Gulf of Mexico and Pine Island Sound. Thousands of tourists make these islands their travel destination. Renowned for their beaches and shelling, they have become what Pine Island never wants to be . . . crowded with restaurants of every type, major hotels and eight-mile-long traffic jams in season. While they are nice to visit, we recommend allotting a full-day during “season.”
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Pine Island is known as ‘ Florida’s Creative Coast’ as we have many fine artists, writers & musicians who call this home. Their many talents can be seen at the local galleries and it is worth checking with the Chamber of Commerce for schedules of workshops and demonstrations that are held regularly. Check out schedules at Florida's Creative Coast.
On the second Weekend of each month, October through May, many hundreds of Islanders get together to celebrate “ Florida's Creative Coast Weekends” on Pine Island. Our many fine galleries become social gathering spots on these special occasions and attract people from the surrounding counties. The galleries are open from 2pm to 9pm with special workshops, demonstrations, music food and more. Visit www.GalleriesofPineIsland.com for details.
The Alden Pines Golf Course in Pineland is a public 18-hole, par 71 course. Scenic, it has narrow fairways and water hazards complete with tenant alligators and despite its par of 71 offers a challenge to the best players. Ask the innkeeper to arrange a tee time for you.
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PINE ISLAND HISTORY and ARCHEOLOGICAL EXPLORATION
The Calusa Indians settled the many islands of Florida 's Gulf Coast around 700AD. They were a fishing-hunter based civilization, building mounds made of shells to elevate their housing, temples, and sacred sites. (One such mound on Pine Island is more than 100-feet above sea level!) For the most part, the Calusa became extinct after the Spaniards arrived with their diseases and swords. Pine Island and several of the nearby barrier islands was a Calusa stronghold. The Calusa Heritage Trail is located in Pineland and is a self guided walking trail, with super signage to explain this fascinating history.
The Museum of the Islands [MOTI] at Pine Island Center, also has a great exhibit portraying island life as it existed from the Calusa through our earliest fishing settlements. ( add link)
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
Be sure to ask us about the variety of annual festivals and events held locally at various times during the year, from “MangoMania” in July to “A Taste of Pine Island” in February and the SW Florida Jazz and Blues Festival in November, Pine Island and its sister communities are very active in this regard. Check out the events website at www.Floridascreativecoast.com for details.
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MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
From January to April, two major league teams conduct their spring training within a 30- to 40-minute drive from the Bokeelia Tarpon Inn.
The Boston Red Sox train in the City of Palms Stadium in downtown Fort Myers.
The Minnesota Twins hold their training in the newly renovated Lee County Sports Complex near Southwest Regional Airport.
Fun activities while in the area.
Here are a few of the other fun activities to enjoy while in the area.
Edison and Ford Winter Estates
Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre.
Sun Harvest Orange Juice Factory.
Seminole Gulf Railroad excursions
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