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Your guide to Boca Grande
All About Boca Grande
Located off the Gulf Coast in southwest Florida on Gasparilla Island sits Boca Grande, an enchanting beach town abundant in history and natural beauty. Downtown lies the historic district, where attractive “Old Florida” homes, stores, boutiques, and churches line the streets. The magnificent Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church has trinket stores and a charity shop for a souvenir or two, and you can grab some local seafood or some southern comfort food at one of the local eateries. First Street East showcases Whidden’s Marina, one of Boca Grande’s oldest marinas, where you can learn snippets about Boca Grande’s history, browse the exhibitions on display, and peruse the store. You can also note the canals that run throughout the island and go for a peaceful paddle along the waterway or spot manatees.
Just south of downtown, you’ll find Banyan Street, a breathtaking natural attraction where dozens of beautiful banyan trees create a lush canopy over the road. The Boca Grande Bike Trail provides a scenic ride along the stretch of island where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Gulf’s turquoise waters and stretches of pearly white sand. Gasparilla Island State Park features two of Boca Grande’s most iconic landmarks — nearly identical well-preserved and restored lighthouses, which hold ties to the island’s industrial, phosphate-mining past.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Boca Grande?
Winter and spring boast comfortable temperatures and provide the balmy weather that makes an exceptional backdrop for enjoying the island’s state parks and outdoor activities, making it a great time to book rentals in Boca Grande. From January through May, you’re likely to see snowbirds along the shores of Boca Grande’s beaches. As the season moves into summer, temperatures and humidity levels rise, often carrying over into fall.
What are the top things to do in Boca Grande?
Gasparilla Island State Park
Gasparilla Island State Park offers a one-mile stretch of pristine turquoise beaches, where visitors can swim, sunbathe, collect seashells, or walk along the shoreline. This spot is also a haven for native plants and wildlife, including beach-nesting birds, such as the snowy plover. While you’re here, you won’t want to miss the Gasparilla Island Lighthouse, a classic Boca Grande’s landmark and symbol. You can even climb the towering 105-foot structure for sweeping views of the coast.
Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum
The Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum is the oldest structure on Gasparilla Island and a historic home to numerous artifacts and detailed exhibits providing insight into the island’s rich social and cultural history. You will learn about the Calusa Native Americans, the island’s first inhabitants, Boca Grande’s role in the phosphate industry in the 1900s, tarpon fishing in the Boca Grande Pass, and more. A hands-on display lets you touch local bones, shells, and fossils.
Boca Grande Arts Center
The Boca Grande Arts Center showcases local artists’ visual art and talent in a unique setting with historic lighthouses, wildlife, and spectacular sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. The island’s natural landscape inspires many of the works displayed throughout the arts center. You can take in exhibits, workshops, and classes to learn more about the community’s thriving cultural life. The events calendar will show you the exhibits scheduled during your visit to Boca Grande.