Welcome to Boca Grande and Gasparilla Island
Imagine a place where people opt for a golf cart instead of a car; a place where the sound of waves against miles of pristine un-crowded beach is always in the background; a place where fast food chains and high-rises don’t exist. Now wrap all this in small town ambiance and imagine!
Imagine a life where days go unplanned and just unfold, and causal elegance is always appropriate for dinner hour. There is such a place on Florida’s west coast hidden between Fort Myers and Sarasota – a little-known but widely celebrated paradise called Boca Grande.
History on the Island
The first inhabitants of Gasparilla island were the Calusa Indians in 800 or 900 A.D. By the mid-1700s, the Europeans had taken over the area. For the earliest island settlers, fishing was the mainstay, and by the late 1870s several fish ranches were in operation.
The next major attraction to the island was phosphate, which was discovered in 1885 and turned the south end of the island into a major deepwater port. With this attention the wealthy American and British sportsman made the island famous for world class tarpon fishing.
In 1905, railroad construction began. In 1929 the Boca Grande Hotel was built and tourists started arriving by train, while the wealthy were building their winter homes. In 1958, the causeway opened and the town began to prosper. In 1979 the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association petitioned the state to make Boca Grande a historical island and preserve its beauty. They turned the railroad into a bike bath, prevented any structures from being over 42’, and limited use of land to residential and commercial, restricting the units per acre.
A Quick Look at Today’s Town
A hidden pearl located approximately ten miles north of Sanibel and Captiva and just south of Sarasota and Venice, Boca Grande is accessed across a new vintage swing bridge. There are no words to describe your first mile on the island… you have to experience it for yourself.
Follow a scenic drive to a charming small town, rich with all the amenities and services you could ever need – a dozen fine restaurants, an excellent food market, a bakery, a hardware store and boutique-style shops with top quality merchandise. You will also find a state-of-the-art medical center with on-call service 24-7, plus our own fire department, sheriff’s office, child care center and Island school for grades one through five.
Plan to Stay a While?
If just relaxing at the beach is not enough, you are in luck. The island has activities for all ages and interests, from golfing to fishing and more. The location and weather are perfect for all your desires.
Boca Grande is surrounded by islands which are home to the flats, the supreme place to find all kinds of fish, such as snook, redfish, snapper and grouper, just to name a few. For the more adventurous, fishing Boca Grande is the tarpon fishing capitol of the world!
For you land lovers, the island offers seven miles of scenic biking and jogging paths occupying the old railroad tracks that once ran the full length of the island.
If you have a flair for the arts you will enjoy live theatre performing a variety of works from different playwrights. For a hands-on experience, there is an assortment of how-to workshops on various subjects.
Boca Grande and Gasparilla Island Real Estate
Established 1983, Parsley-Baldwin Realty has been a recognized leader in Gasparilla Island and Boca Grande real estate including sales, rentals and new home construction. We would be happy to show off our little slice of paradise, rent you a beachfront home and help you purchase or build your very own island dream home. We look forward to working with you.