Plan A Trip To This Underrated Gulf Coast Island For Fun Water Adventures

People love different water activities on beach days. Some love observing sea life while snorkeling, while others prefer simply swimming in the ocean's waves. Some like to stay above the surface in a boat, while others prefer to spend their time fishing for recreation or to prepare for dinner. Whatever water activities you love to do, and whether you're traveling alone, with friends, or as a family, Florida's Gasparilla Island State Park has something for you. 

This park is known for such water activities and serves as the perfect escape from daily life. The warm water and sunshine will boost your mood as you take a plunge into your next great aquatic adventure. If you find yourself needing a break from the water, you can relax in the picnic areas with charcoal grills or follow one of the park's hiking trails. Take a breather then head back into the water for a fun-filled day.

Fun facts and activities

Gasparilla Island State Park is located in Boca Grande, Florida, and is one of the Gulf Coast's barrier islands. It sprawls out over 127 acres and includes two beaches that are the perfect jumping-off point for any water activity. Despite the park being an island, you can access it easily by car.

Once on the island, you have options that'll be fun for the whole family. You'll see plenty of people fishing, and tarpons are an especially popular fish to catch here. Kayaking is another popular activity. Glass Bottom Rentals offers both regular and glass-bottom kayaks, as well as paddle boards to take out on the water for the day. You can also opt for a guided tour to learn more about the area and its unique wildlife.

If you want something a little bit more thrilling, you can go diving with Gaspar's Dive N Board. They offer lessons for beginners to get certified, so if you've never done it before, you can have a blast learning how. If you're an experienced diver, they can bring you to some incredible dive sites in the area. Snorkeling is another option at the state park and you can bring your own gear or rent from a private company.

Visiting information

On the shore, you can visit the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse. The structure was built in 1890 and now serves as a museum that shares the region's history. You can explore on your own, or learn even more by joining a guided tour led by a local volunteer. They can answer your questions as well as highlight the most interesting artifacts in the museum.

This Florida state park is open year-round from 8 a.m. to sunset. The entrance fee is $3 per vehicle, plus $2 per passenger aside from the driver. It's also $2 for cyclists and pedestrians to enter. The park's busiest season is the winter, when the weather remains warm, and is significantly quieter in the summer.

Next time you're looking for a place to have a water adventure, consider Gasparilla Island State Park. Swim, dive, snorkel, boat, or simply lounge at one of the beaches. Whatever you decide, you're sure to have a blast.