The relaxing residential community of Boca Grande, Florida boasts an easygoing pace of life. Known for sandy beaches and beautiful blue water, this serene town sits on Gasparilla Island, just off the Gulf Coast. Boca Grande features some of the best fishing opportunities in the state, but there are plenty of other activities inland to keep your family entertained. Settle into your Boca Grande vacation rental, and then venture out and try these top 10 kid-friendly activities.
1. Relax on the Beach
Boca Grande offers miles of picturesque beaches, so find the perfect spot to set up your umbrella and lay out your towel. Let the kids hunt for sand dollars, and be sure to bring goggles so they can look under water for starfish and crabs. The beaches are generally not too crowded, and visitors rave over the cleanliness of the area. Even the parking areas and public restrooms are known to be tidy!
2. Stop by a Museum
Once named the Gasparilla Island Light Station, the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse is the oldest structure on the island. The former lighthouse keeper’s house is now a museum, filled with artifacts and photos to teach visitors about the island’s past. Stop by Boca Grande Historical Society and Museum for a history lesson from the friendly staff. Be sure to stop by the gift shop before you leave to browse the stunning selection of locally handmade jewelry.
3. Visit a State Park
You can only reach Cayo Costa State Park by boat, but the natural, untouched beauty of this island paradise is well worth the trip. Leave your vacation home early to catch a ferry and make a day of it. Nature trails take you all over the island, and there are shady spots for picnicking. Keep a lookout for manatees as you roam the beaches, and make it a game to see who can spot the most birds, as many species inhabit the island.
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4. Go Fishing
Boca Grande Pass is known to yield more tarpon than any other fishing location in the world. If you’re really up for an adventure, take the kids on a fishing charter and help them reel in some jaw-dropping catches. Captain Chris of Reel Intense Inshore Charters welcomes families. Take a tour with Big Bully Outdoors; Captain Andrew knows the ideal spots so you can catch snapper and trout for a delicious dinner feast back at your vacation rental.
5. Grab Some Grub
Take a night off from cooking and hit the town for a meal with the whole family. Dine on the patio at Third Street Cafe; mussels and calamari are must-try menu items for seafood lovers. A local landmark, The Pink Elephant offers large portions, but save room for dessert; the key lime pie is incredible. If you’re in the mood for Italian, split a pizza at Sister’s Restaurant. The antipasto here is worth a try, too. For lunch, eat under an umbrella next to the water when you visit The Outlet at the Inlet.
6. Ride a Bike
Bring bikes to get around Boca Grande, or rent them when you arrive and store them in the garage of your vacation rental. At Island Bike ‘N Beach, you can rent beach cruisers for a scenic ride along the street, or choose a mountain bike for an adventurous trail ride. Helmets and baskets are complementary with your rental, and golf carts are also available for rent here.
7. Browse the Shops
Whether you’re in the market for a new bathing suit or you just want to pick up some souvenirs to remember your trip, Boca Grande has plenty of shopping options to suit your needs. Fresh Produce boasts a huge selection of women’s clothing, while Holly’s Island Shop has island collectibles and art to commemorate your vacation. Stop by Boca Grande Outfitters for any fishing gear you need, and be sure to browse the selection of unique housewares and garden supplies at Barnichol Hardware.
8. Create Your Own Art
Check out an art exhibit at the Boca Grande Art Center to see some beautiful works by local artists. If you’re inspired, sign the whole family up for one of the fun classes offered here. From drawing and painting to ceramics and beading, the Art Center has workshops in all medias. Children’s classes let your little ones paint a mermaid or explore resin art.
9. Have a Water Adventure
Seek out adventure on the water. Stand-up paddleboards are quite popular on the island. Rent one at Island Bike ‘N Beach. Rentals are available by the hour, or you can check it out for the week and store it at your vacation rental. Rent double kayaks from Gasparilla Adventures, or join them for a guided tour, perfect for adults and children of any kayaking skill level.
10. Enjoy a Boat Tour
Book a boat tour with Boca Boat Cruises to snap some incredible photos of the Boca Grande Isles. This 13-passenger boat offers lunch and sunset cruises, and private tours are available upon request. Make a stop at Cabbage Key, and marvel over the dolphins that often swim beside the boat.
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