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Travel Tips




A breathtaking drive from Venice to Gasparilla Island State Park

The restored lighthouse originally built in 1890 is definitely the most eye-catching feature of Gasparilla State Park. This lighthouse used to be the waterway finder for all of Boca Grande and was recently restored for visitors to enjoy. Gasparilla State Park feels like an island paradise not far from the reality of fast paced life. It is part of a barrier island that is separated from the mainland of Boca Grande by Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound.

Although there is no place for a full overnight stay of camping, this is a great site to camp out for the day. The lighthouse is open to the public and makes for a great conversation piece as you relax on the beach after a tour of the lighthouse or a breathtaking bicycle ride along the beautiful turquoise water’s edge that also offers a view of extravagant architecture of some of the newly constructed private homes. The most inviting part about Gasparilla is the peace and serenity and the amazing view of the surrounding waters and area. If you plan to swim in the waters during your visit, you may want to reconsider, because the currents are known to be strong, often too strong for even the best swimmers.

Unfortunately there is a price that comes along with traveling to Gasparilla, a hefty $3.50 toll to gain access to the island. This small price is absolutely worth it once you have the opportunity to experience the beautiful sand dunes and the serenity of being away from any real life worries. You will find the best beaches for relaxing, a bit north in the park, near parking area two or further beyond.

Since the park sits on the edge of Boca Grande Pass, Gasparilla offers a pleasant view of the boats. Many fishing boats travel this path between the barrier islands because the fish are plentiful in the area. During the cooler months, Gasparilla is also well known for finding an abundance of shells in the white sand of the beach.

Located on the south end of Gasparilla Island on the Boca Grande Causeway (which is the private toll). Take US-41 S to SR 776/Englewood Road to CR 775/Placida Road. This will run into Boca Grande Causeway and onto Gasparilla Island. The drive from Venice to Gasparilla State Park is breathtaking!

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