Ain’t Life Boca Grande!
Living in paradise, it can become easy to take for granted what millions of people flock here to find. Stunning sunsets, swaying palms, blue-green waters and frozen fruity concoctions are too-often left for tourists. On a recent day trip to Boca Grande, it was fun to don a straw hat, adjust our attitudes to “island time” and behave like tourists.
Located on Gasparilla Island, Boca Grande is the perfect, quintessential tourist mecca. Not too large or commercialized, yet spilling over with amenities for every tourist’s palate, this island paradise is a must-see on your summer “stayca” list. The ride out to Boca Grande leads you to believe you are leaving civilization in pursuit of heaven and earth. And when you cross the bridge and look around- – you are not disappointed.
For our little excursion to Boca Grande, we booked golf carts online beforehand with Home – Gasparilla Adventures. Though there are several rental outlets on the island, we appreciated the ease of online scheduling and the efficiency and friendliness of the staff at this quaint little place, who greeted us with carts ready. With paths lining all the major roadways and roads friendly for carts and vehicles, traveling around the island via golf cart is a must. We also saw many visitors renting bikes, which would be another fun option.
For us, finding a great outdoor restaurant for lunch was a priority so we maneuvered into the heart of the village and scouted out several enticing eateries. We settled on The Loose Caboose | Homemade Flavors Ice Creamery | Boca Grande, FL, which is located at the historic train depot in Downtown Boca Grande. With cold drinks and fresh sandwiches like the grilled grouper and super-sized BLT we were nourished, refreshed and ready to set our sights on those blue-green waters and put our toes in sugar-sands.
Though you cannot take the carts down onto the beach, parking lots have ample space. Be sure to pay your toll at the pay-stations as tickets did dot the windshields of the carts that did not have parking permits on them. If you have traveled Florida to any extent or have lived here for a while, you begin to take beautiful beaches for granted. But Boca Grande beach left us a little breathless with its exquisite beauty and unobstructed view, and waters mirroring a jade/aqua color. We enjoyed a smooth trek on the soft sands with the Boca Grande Lighthouse coming into clearer view. Though we did not make it all the way there, to see this historic structure jutting into the sky, having protected mariners for many years made us feel exceedingly small in comparison. And it was noteworthy that condominiums and huge mansions were not part of the scenery. How refreshing to see a beach not destroyed by over-development.
After the beach, we went exploring in some of the neighborhoods, all well-manicured and exuding history and elegance. Even the smallest beach cottage had charm and character and begged the question, “What would life be like to live on this stretch of paradise, even for a weekend?” My guess is it is quite extraordinary. Cute schools, an abundance of old churches, a beautiful community center and a plethora of restaurants and upscale shopping destinations make for a beautiful backdrop for a fun day.
Parched from all our house gawking, we pulled our carts into The Pink Pony for fruit smoothies and refreshing ice cream creations. It was a unanimous “Yes!” from those who wanted in on the next visit to Boca Grande, a true slice of historic paradise.
If you would like more information about Boca Grande, FL, please visit Boca Grande Florida – Things to Do & Attractions in Boca Grande FL.
Photos courtesy of Boca Grande Lighthouse Facebook page.