A barrier island in southwest Florida, Gasparilla Island is a secluded and charming secret. While it is just a 75 – 90 minute drive from Sarasota and Fort Myers airports respectively, it’s a world away from the bustle of ‘city’ life.
The island’s largest town, Boca Grande, has a population approaching 1,500 providing a small-town charm while offering plentiful dining, relaxation and recreation options.
The picturesque Gasparilla Inn and Club are centrally located for shopping, dining and an array of recreation including golf, tennis, working out and swimming. The Gasparilla Inn & Club was named the #1 Florida Resort, #14 in the United States, and #49 in the World by Travel + Leisure readers. In addition, it was awarded Garden & Gun Magazine’s – ‘The Best of Hidden Florida’ and Golfweek’s – ‘Best Courses You Can Play 2016’. Considered a luxury destination, The Gasparilla Inn is a star feature on the island with smaller inns, oceanside resorts and private homes as the alternative.
Multiple dining options are offered on-property and within proximity to the Inn. If a walk is not to your liking, the bellman staff are happy to accommodate with golf cart shuttle service. We enjoyed a leisurely ocean view lunch at the Beach Club. A short walk back to the Inn provided an opportunity to explore the quaint downtown area. If shopping is your preferred ‘sport’, several shops are available to tempt browsing.
The Gasparilla Island State Park is touted as a birder’s paradise because it attracts a wide variety of birds. In addition to enjoying the sun and surf, boating and fishing are popular activities for visitors to the island. We opted for an afternoon drive to get a perspective of the island community which just happened to land us at South Beach Bar & Grille. Somehow a glass of wine tastes even better with your toes in the sand!
While the Inn offers multiple dining options, the Third Street Café captured our attention for dinner and did not disappoint. The garden patio offers an elegant, welcoming ambiance to enjoy delicious Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Crab cakes, scallops, beet and goat cheese salad were delights of our meal, complimented by wine and great service.
Reflecting on my wonderful weekend mini-holiday leaves me reminiscing on happy memories and looking forward to the next visit!
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About the author
About Joy Steinberg – When not off on a philanthropic adventure, Joy works in Market Research and Digital Insights and is the founder of JSI Marketing.