Pictures from Boca Grande, Florida

Boca Grande, Florida

Pictures from Boca Grande.

Gasparilla Island is another of the barrier islands on the lower Gulf Coast of Florida. South of Tampa by about 110 miles, it is most famous as the city of Boca Grande, playground to presidents, corporate magnates and plain ole rich folk. The island's modern history began to develop in the late 1800's with it's use as a deep water port for the export of phosphate, dug from nearby inland areas of Florida. The phosphate mines are very active still, but Boca Grande's destined use as a recreational resort for the affluent eventually constrained,  inhibited and prohibited commercialization.

 

Traces of the era bygone can still be found in the residual of the concrete pilings from the old shipping pier at the southernmost point of the island, near the lighthouse that used to guide ships into the port. All that remains on the island of the old railroad tracks, on which ran phosphate-laden train cars, can be found behind the old railway station downtown, in its place a modern, fully paved hiking, biking, golf-carting path. The train station (Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway Depot) has been preserved and now functions as a small strip shop for local businesses. Decrepit, rotting wooden dock pilings can be seen in the gulf waters off the seawalls of some of the oceanfront estates built in the early-to-mid 1900's. Gone are the fishing shacks, laborers' quarters and vestiges of the island's former commercial/industrial era. 

 

Boca Grande Pass and the surrounding area had been well known for its world class fishing even before it was known as a deep water port. This heritage has survived and today Boca Grande and its resorts host many of the rich and famous and powerful year round as well as sports fishermen from around the globe. The annual tarpon tournament is one of the most well known fishing competitions in the world.

 

Gasparilla Island was named after the fictitious pirate, Jose Gaspar. At least that's what a plaque posted at the Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum has to say about him. That story and hundreds, if not thousands of others can be gleaned at the museum, which occupies the lower floor of the lighthouse. Local artisan's wares and souvenirs are on display as well as rooms full of information about the island. Outside, one will surely see boats drift fishing in the Boca Grande pass. Across the pass is Cayo Costa, now an island state park.

 

Visitors to Boca Grande can tour many southwest Florida cities in the area by car but boating is much quicker and a lot more fun. Plus if you go by boat, you can visit some of the islands in the area that are not accessible by automobile but only by boat or aircraft like La Costa, North Captiva, Useppa, Don Pedro and Little Gasparilla islands. Getting to points south by car requires driving north, east and then south to circumvent Charlotte Harbor. There you'll find Sanibel and Captiva, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach.  However, one can investigate all these areas and Pine island including Matlacha, Bokeelia and St. James City as well as the "bridgeless" islands much more quickly and easily by boat! This area is about equal in access from the Sarasota International Airport or The Southwest Florida International Airport just southwest of Fort Myers.

 

 

State Park Lighthouse Area at Boca Grande Pass

 

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Picture of Boca Grande Lighthouse

Lighthouse and assistant keeper's quarters
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Amory Chapel - can be used for weddings... 

Famous Boca Grande Pass with Cayo Costa across pass.

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Remains of old pier at Boca Grande, once a deep water port used in commercial international shipping.

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Seawall and stubble pilings of old docks/piers out from gulf front mansions such as above.

 

Gasparilla Island State Park

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Beach photos (above and below) in the area of the Boca Grande Range Light (see photo below). Tall dunes, white fine sand and lots of beach here. Parking fee here allows you to visit and park in all of the other (5) Gasparilla Island State Park areas.

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Boca Grande Downtown

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Old railway depot (above, left) houses shops and indoor/outdoor restaurant at 4th and East Railroad Ave.

Fugates! at one time the only place to buy anything.

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Boca Grande Community Center - it was the island's first schoolhouse.

Picture of the Gasparilla Inn and grounds, the large rambling resort that started it all.

 

Boca Grande Streets

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Photos of Gilchrist Ave. This picturesque  roadway has large gulf front houses and old Florida style frame houses along its palm lined edges. 

Tropical plantings characterize the many shell-topped side streets that run to the gulf.

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Pictures of Boca Grande streets - lovely old and new houses, tropical landscapes and gulf waters.

 

Boca Grande Beach Houses and Condos

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These Boca Grande beach and oceanfront houses are superbly styled and landscaped (photos above and below) 

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Boca Grande Bay, Waterfront and Inland Houses

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Pictures of waterfront houses along the bays and waterways of Boca Grande.

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Photos of houses in non-waterfront areas.

 

Miscellaneous Pictures

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Small lagoon and inlet from Charlotte Harbor.

Nice multicolor Oleander display.

Picture of old railroad trestle crossing to Boca Grande.

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This road, now blocked, ran along the ocean to the Boca Grande pier.

Pelicans overhead.

White Ibis looking for lunch.

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Entry room of the museum inside Boca Grande lighthouse.

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Boca Grande Street (above).

 

Photo (right) of mature Coconut Palm Trees gracing an oceanfront estate.

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This lily blooms profusely and will grow in the wild.

Photo of the Range Light in the sand dunes of Boca Grande State Park.

Old railroad tracks running the length of the depot - paved bike trail replacing them is to the right.

     
Things to do in the Boca Grande, Florida area? ...activities, attractions and adventures...

Vacation? Looking for Lodging? Try the Boca Grande AREA Vacation Rentals of Englewood, Rotonda, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda or similar islands to the south: Sanibel and Captiva Islands or the bridgeless, hideaway islands of North Captiva, Little Gasparilla, Don Pedro.  -other cities also!  |  Boca Grande Links


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