Welcome to Cayo Costa! This unspoiled Gulf Coast island in Florida is a nature lovers paradise. It is peaceful, secluded, and can feel like you are on a private island. There are wind shaped trees, miles of white sand beaches, wildlife, and crystal blue waters. The best part of all is the freedom to explore the island, and enjoy water activities without the crowds.
I had visited Cayo Costa Island with my adult daughter, and it was a nice change of pace while on our two week Florida road trip. We had started off in Orlando, driven down to Key West, and we were driving up the west coast when we ventured over to this remote island.
Unlike the other islands in Florida, there is not a causeway you can drive across. This island is only accessible by private boat, ferry or kayak; that is what interested me the most on visiting Cayo Costa. I am known for not liking crowds in natural environments, such as a beach or the mountains. An island with only boat access was very appealing to me, and I am sure for you as well!
Since we did not have access to a private chartered boat while in Florida, nor did we want to kayak to the island, we took a ferry to the Cayo Costa. We had booked our day trip cruise with Tropic Star, and I do recommend them. They had brought us comfortably to the Island, gave us a briefing, and then picked us up at the scheduled time.
For more information and reservations, please visit – Tropic Star of Pine Island Inc. (tropicstaradventures.com)
— Cayo Costa Island —
The island is only accessible by boat or kayak, which makes it a wonderful low-key getaway. Cayo Costa used to be the fishing grounds of the Calusa Indians, and today it is a place to unwind with swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. If you do not favor water sports, there are bicycle and walking trails, shelling, fishing, and bird watching.
The beauty of this island is the amount of personal space you will have. There are seven miles of white sand beaches to pitch your umbrella or pop-up tent on. Since there are no built shade coverings on the beach, you will need to provide your own.
We purchased a mat and a Walmart beach umbrella, then donated it to a local charity shop before we flew back to the west coast. If you are not from the area and are travelling to Florida, then a trip to Walmart and then donating your beach items might be your best option. Do not try, or feel that you can lay out on the beach for a full day without any shade protection!
Our semi-private spot on the island. A few people walked by but we mostly had this spot to ourselves.
Since Cayo Costa is considered primitive, and not a resort-style island, you will not find cafes or restaurants here. There is a gift shop that is next to the ranger’s station, which sells ice, snacks, cold drinks, and basic camping supplies.
It is recommended to bring your own food and beverages for lunch, or your overnight stay.
We had brought with us a cooler tote bag with frozen ice blocks on our trip. In the morning prior to us checking in with Tropic Star, we went to the grocery store for our food. We bought crackers, deli salads, snacks, water, and items that would not melt. Since it was very warm on the island, we brought food that would keep well for a day, and easy to consume.
There are also BBQ Grills on the island if you want to have a small cookout, as well as a picnic pavilion.
A lot of sun and a lot of seashells.
Cayo Costa Island Amenities and Activities
- Bicycle Rentals
- Primitive Camping and Cabins
- Hiking and Walking Trails
- Scuba Diving
- Beach Combing and Shelling
- Wildlife Viewing
- Accessible Amenities
- Ranger Station with interpretive center and Gift Shop
For more information and reservations, please visit – Cayo Costa State Park | Florida State Parks
🏕 If you would like to stay more than several hours and do an overnight trip, there are designated primitive campsites and cabins available on the island. For camping infromation and reservations, please visit – Cayo Costa State Park, Florida – Camping Reservations & Campgrounds | ReserveAmerica
The beach is calling and I must go…
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📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre