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  SW FLorida (Stump Pass, Cayo Costa, Captiva, Sanibel, Lovers Key State Park)

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Author Topic:   SW FLorida (Stump Pass, Cayo Costa, Captiva, Sanibel, Lovers Key State Park)
David Jenkins posted 12-08-2004 09:52 PM ET (US)   Profile for David Jenkins   Send Email to David Jenkins  
From December 27 to January 1, our family of four will be camping at Cayo Costa State Park, which is about 25 miles east of Fort Myers.

www.floridastateparks.org/cayocosta/default.asp

We'd love to have others join us, especially if you have kids that are ages 8-11!

We are going to take day trips as far north as Stump Pass Beach State Park and as far south as Lovers Key State Park

www.floridastateparks.org/stumppass
www.floridastateparks.org/loverskey

If you are familiar with the area, please recommend other places to go, things to do, etc.

After reading through realted threads in the Trips and Rendezvous sub-forum, I made a list of places to visit. This list included Useppa Island and Cabbage Key www.cabbage-key.com . I can see those places on my chart. With other places I need some help. For example, does anyone know where on Boca Grande is the restaurant called "Temptation?" Is it accessible by water? And where in Bokeelia is the "Lazy Flamingo Restaurant?" And where is the Palm Island Resort? And finally, where is the "Stump Pass Marina Restaurant?" I cannot find any of these places using my otherwise-reliable deLorme Street Atlas.

Thanks.

myakka posted 12-09-2004 06:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for myakka  Send Email to myakka     
David
That sounds like a fun trip.I bought a house down in that area a few years ago and I'm still exploring. I can help you out with finding Palm Island resort, just look for the sign on the way to stump pass. (Or by land its off rt 775)
My Wife and I will be down during your trip so we may see you.
Mike Donohue
frostbite posted 12-09-2004 03:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for frostbite  Send Email to frostbite     
David,
The Palm Island Resort is on Useppa Island, and has gone from lush to bare since the hurricanes.
"The Temptation" is located downtown Boca Grande and is an easy walk from where you can dock your boat. Hudson's grocery is nearby.


Have Fun

David Jenkins posted 12-09-2004 08:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
Mike--I sent you an email with my cell phone number so call me when you are down there and we will try to rendezvous.

Thanks, frostbite. I have entered Hudson's Grocery and the Temptation Restaurant on my electronic map.

Searching the Internet, I have learned a bit more about Gasparilla Island and its main town of Boca Grande. Running the entire length of the island is The Gasparilla Trail, a 6-mile, paved bike path that is constructed on an old private railroad. If we can figure out where to dock the boat (any ideas, frostbite?), we will rent bikes from Bike & Beach Rentals (333 Park Ave, 941-964-0711) and explore the island that way. The bike trail ends at the southern tip of Gasparilla, which is where the Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum is located. These little details are getting my wife and kids more excited about making the 1600-mile road trip (round trip)!

More details about Gasparilla & Boca Grande can be found at their chamber of commerce's website, www.bocagrandechamber.com .

frostbite posted 12-09-2004 09:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for frostbite  Send Email to frostbite     
David,

From Cayo Costa look for the water tower of the Gasparilla Inn. You can dock at the east end of 1st. street across from the "Pink Elephant" restaurant just north of Millers Marina. I think dockage is limited to a couple of hours , but this time of year it shoudn't matter. Fuel at Whiddens,
Also, check out bocabeacon.com.

myakka posted 12-10-2004 01:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for myakka  Send Email to myakka     
http://www.palmisland.com/about.html
Jamber posted 12-11-2004 08:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jamber  Send Email to Jamber     
The Lazy Flamingo is located at Four Winds Marina, Pine Island, here is a link:
[url]http://www.fourwindsmarina.com/Lazy_Flamingo_resaurant.htm[url/]

I live close to Lover's Key and Estero Bay, it is a beautiful area. There are
lots of dolphins, good fishing, nice places to eat.

Here is a link to Kayaking trail/info for the Lover's Key / Estero Bay area, they have a nice map (also in pdf) and include GPS coordinates and area info that you may be able to use. [urlhttp://www.greatcalusablueway.com/main.php[url/]

Some of our favorite places to eat...
Salty Sam' Marina has a great restaurant Parot Bay, it is located at the north
end of Estero Bay behind Fort Myers Beach.
Lover's Key Resort (North end of Lover's Key on Big Carlos Pass) has nice restaurant if you don't mind anchoring off and wading in (no docks).
[url]http://www.loverskey.com/[url/]

Also Grandma Dot's on south end of Sanibel at Sanibel Marina is always good.
[url]http://www.sanibelmarina.com/[url/]

Note this whole area, especially Captiva, Sanibel and Pine Island were all hit
hard from Hurricane Charley, so many channel markers may still be down and debri could submerge, becareful. You may want to call a few of the places you are planning on visiting to see if they have reopened if you have not already done so.

Will you be camping in one of the Cabins on Cayo Costa? Never did it, but plan to when our daughter is a bit older. She is only 6 months, so we have been staying in Estero Bay latley, unless the Gulf is very calm.

I'm off work that week, but my wife is working a few days, we are planning on
going out on the Whaler some of the days she is off, let me know if you are planning on the Lover's Key portion of your trip, maybe we can meet up.

-James

Jamber posted 12-11-2004 09:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jamber  Send Email to Jamber     
Sorry about the links... I'll fix them.

The Lazy Flamingo at Four Winds Marina, Pine Island
http://www.fourwindsmarina.com/Lazy_Flamingo_resaurant.htm

Kayaking trail/info for the Lover's Key / Estero Bay area
[urlhttp://www.greatcalusablueway.com/main.php[/url]

Lover's Key Resort (North end of Lover's Key on Big Carlos Pass)
http://www.loverskey.com/

Grandma Dot's on south end of Sanibel at Sanibel Marina
[url]http://www.sanibelmarina.com/[url/]

Jamber posted 12-11-2004 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jamber  Send Email to Jamber     
One more time!

Kayaking trail/info for the Lover's Key / Estero Bay area
http://www.greatcalusablueway.com/main.php

Grandma Dot's on south end of Sanibel at Sanibel Marina
http://www.sanibelmarina.com

David Jenkins posted 12-12-2004 09:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
Many thanks to everyone who has offered advice and information. In a couple of days I will plan our tentative schedule for December 27-31 and then we can try to firm up plans for a rendezvous (if there is any interest).

We will be in tents on Cayo Costa. If the cabins had had electricity, we might have opted for a cabin. But without power, we prefer the tents.

I have spoken to a canoe outfitter in the area (863-494-1215) and she said that the height of the Peace River is a bit above normal and that it would be possible to explore it in our Whaler. On this trip, we wouldn't want to go up it more than 10 miles or so, but she seemed to think that it would be possible to go 67 miles from the mouth of the Peace (at Port Charlotte) all the way to Fort Meade. Wouldn't that be a nice day trip?

The only problem is that the prettiest part of the Peace is upriver so it would be frustrating to turn back toward Port Charlotte just when it was getting scenic.

Another option would be to explore the Myakka River. Does anyone know if it is navigable north of Interstate 75?

InHerNet posted 12-12-2004 01:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for InHerNet  Send Email to InHerNet     
David,
Welcome to the neighborhood, I am sure you will enjoy the area if you haven’t been here before, and if you have then welcome back. In the winter we experience lower then normal tides and it would be difficult to reach some of the upper river areas, also navigation by motor boat is almost impossible unless you are in a small Jon type boat with a little kicker. Canoes’ would be the best choice. I could not imagine why the outfitter would say the rivers are above normal since we haven’t had any significant rain in weeks. If low tide catches you off guard you could be stranded for some time. The other thing I would like to warn you about our area (Peace River, & Myakka River), the hurricanes have left many of the waterways littered with debris and all of it has not been cleaned up. Trees and submerged articles are very possible to create some problems for you without local knowledge. The Inter-Coastal and most of Charlotte Harbor in heavy boating traffic areas are cleared.

I would offer you to meet up with you during your stay here but since your vacation schedule is a very busy time for my family I can not commit. Who knows though. You can email me and I will exchange phone numbers with you. I also can give you some tips about the area that may help you. I have lived in this area since 1969.

Don

David Jenkins posted 12-12-2004 07:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
Thanks, Don. We have camped on Cayo Costa once before and have been to Sanibel and Captiva several times but we have never been up the rivers that empty into Charlotte Harbor. I'm sorry to hear that these rivers are too shallow to permit safe passage in a 19' Outrage.

Down south near Kice Island, have you ever been up the Blackwater River to Collier-Seminole State Park?

InHerNet posted 12-13-2004 07:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for InHerNet  Send Email to InHerNet     
David,
You can travel up the rivers to a certain point without encountering navigational problems, your post indicated you desired to travel to Ft.Meade on the Peace River and North of 75 on the Myakka River, that would not be advisable with your 19.
The Peace River is beautiful to canoe down, In Arcadia you can rent canoes and they will take you up river to a launch that allows you a couple of hours of fun.
North of 75 on the Myakka River you can slow motor for about 3/4 to 1 mile and then the river starts to bend and shallow at points that would make it impossible. The northern part of the river also has no homesteads on the banks that could assist you in time of need. You would only see cattle land and every now and then some cowboys that want to know what you are doing crossing their land.
I have not been on either river since the Hurricanes have past, I only know that there are complaints about clean up needed on the rivers and canals.
Don
myakka posted 12-14-2004 11:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for myakka  Send Email to myakka     
David
I just was on the myakka yesterday up just shy of rt 41 in my 18. A few markers seem to be missing and the bottom was anywhere from 1.3' to 6'. The good news was that I saw very little storm debris.
Mike
David Jenkins posted 12-15-2004 02:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
Thanks, Don and Mike.

You have talked me out of going up the Peace and Myakka Rivers. There is only time to do so much and it sounds like those rivers can best be explored by canoe.

Our tentative schedule is below. Let me know if you don't think parts of it are a good idea or if you thought we could better spend our vacation time doing something else.

December 27: Launch the boat somewhere in Placida, FL (is there a launch near the Boca Grande Causeway where cars can stay overnight?). Boat over to Cayo Costa and set up camp.

December 28: Boat from Cayo Costa to Boca Grande and explore Gasparilla Island by bike.

December 29: Boat up to Don Pedro Island State Park and Stump Pass State Park. Walk around Englewood (?).

December 30: Explore Cabbage Key. Then we will boat down to Captiva and dock at Jenson's, rent bikes at a place 2 blocks away, and explore Captiva and Sanibel by bike.

December 31: Boat down to Lovers Key State Park and then go up the Estero River to Koreshan State Park. (The park ranger says it is possible to get up the Estero River but I'm wondering if any CW forum participants have done it?).

January 1: Break camp and start driving back to North Carolina.

Jamber posted 12-15-2004 09:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jamber  Send Email to Jamber     
David,
My wife and I have gone up the Estero River many times. There is no speed limit on southern part of the river. For that reason we do not go on the river on weekends, just too many boats going much to fast around the narrow bends. During the week it is a beautiful river, nice and wide in some spots, we have taken our Whaler almost up to the canoe launch of Koreshan State park. We have also canoed and kayaked the river by the park and east of US41. Just south of the Koreshan there are a handful of homes on the river which is idle speed.

This time of year the tides are low down here, so stay in the channel while in Estero Bay especiall by the mouth of the Estero River, the speed limit is 25mph in the bay. We are off on the 31st and tide, weather, wife and baby permiting, I would like to meet up with you and go with you up the river. I can email you my phone number.

We have biked and kayaked around Sanibel's JN Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, but that may be far to bike from Jensen's. Captiva has some nice restuarants. There is Tween Water's Inn (I belive it is just south of Jensen's) which has couple of places to eat and canoe/kayak rentals and The Green Flash (North of Tween Waters, may be North of Jensen's also) has good food. I have not heard if they had damage from Charley and are closed, you may want to check.

Sounds like a great vacation!

-James

David Jenkins posted 12-15-2004 10:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
Thanks, James. We would like to rendezvous with you and with everyone else who has contributed to this thread. I don't know if we will have cell phone coverage on Cayo Costa but our number is 919-271-1404. The name of our boat is the Anna Jane and we will be monitoring channel 16.
myakka posted 12-19-2004 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for myakka  Send Email to myakka     
David
Just as you turn onto Boca Grande causeway there is a boat ramp. I have yet to use it but it always looks busy.I don't know about overnight parking but if you run into trouble with that give me a call.
Mike
David Jenkins posted 12-19-2004 05:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
Thanks, Mike. That's where we will leave the car and trailer.

Is the fishing good this time of year? Do you need a license to fish in salt water off of Florida's coast? Would I be better off bringing a casting rod or a trolling rod? If we only bring one rod, would we only need one license?

myakka posted 12-19-2004 07:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for myakka  Send Email to myakka     
David
try this link http://www.floridaconservation.org/license/index.html
David Jenkins posted 12-20-2004 07:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
Thanks, Mike. I gave it a try--we'll see if I get a license. The page froze after I entered my Visa number!
myakka posted 12-24-2004 06:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for myakka  Send Email to myakka     
David
Merry Christmas and have a good drive down.
Mike
David Jenkins posted 12-25-2004 10:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
Thanks, Mike.

We are looking forward to meeting you and James and your families. And the Fort Myers forcast is showing highs in the 70s for next week. Perfect! We are packing and should be underway by noon. And my wife gave me Tom Clark's Boston Whaler CD for Christmas! And last night I had the opportunity to read outloud chapter 5 (Dulce Domum) of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. So how much better can it get? We are blessed. Wishing everyone the very best!

David

David Jenkins posted 02-09-2005 03:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
By the way, the 2004 hurricanes did a number on Cayo Costa so after a couple of days camping in the windy and somewhat exposed campground, we decided to get a hotel.

So I called the Gasparilla Inn and asked for rates and availability. I said that there were two adults and two children and we would be staying for three days. I was told that the rate was $195 and that they only took cash or cashiers checks: no credit cards. That was more than I wanted to spend but that included 3 meals per day. So I said okay and made a mental note to find a bank where I could withdraw some cash.

When we arrived we were ecstatic as it is a gorgeous old hotel. I signed in and got the key. As I turned from the desk my eye caught the rate section of the card that I had just signed. It said rate: $780.

I asked what the rate per day was, as I had expected that the rate for 3 days would be $195 x 3 = $585. The answer: $780. Per day!

What about the rate I was quoted, $195?

The hotel clerk explained that the rate was $195 per person per day.

So, I politely explained that I had misunderstood and that I was not carrying that much cash ($2,340 plus tax).

We went down the street and stayed at the Inlet Hotel. It was fabulous. $145 per day and the room had a kitchen and we were able to dock the boat 75 feet from the room.

InHerNet posted 02-09-2005 06:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for InHerNet  Send Email to InHerNet     
David,
The Gasparilla Inn is the hotel Pres. George W. Bush and Ex-Pres George Bush and Florida's Gov. Jeb Bush stay at. They bring all of the security with them a couple times a year for some type of family gathering.

It does sound like a better price compaired to the hotels in Jacksonville for the super bowl. Could you imangine renting someones house for $18,000.00 per night, pay 6,000.00 for the ticket and 15.00 for the 12 oz. beer.

Don

David Jenkins posted 02-10-2005 07:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
As a matter of a fact, President Bush and his father and his brother were at the Gasparilla Inn when we were there. And we saw President Jimmy Carter and his wife at Cayo Costa!
ericram posted 04-13-2009 10:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for ericram  Send Email to ericram     
Sounds like a fabulous <a href ="http://www.123world.com/states/florida.php" target="_blank">Florida Vacation</a> to me!
I would have loved to have met, yet let alone seen, The Bush's and/or The Carters!
ericram posted 04-13-2009 10:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for ericram  Send Email to ericram     
Sounds like a fabulous [url="http://www.123world.com/states/florida.php"]Florida Vacation[/url] to me!
I would have loved to have met, yet let alone seen, The Bush's and/or The Carters!
Brian7son posted 04-22-2009 11:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Brian7son  Send Email to Brian7son     
David,

FYI: Boca Grande is supposed to have some of the best tarpon fishing in the state. Use a cast net for live mullet, a live bait hook and flourocarbon (sp?) leaders. You'll have a blast.

I live in east central Florida and I've always wanted to fish that area. There are numerous fishing shows that rave about the tarpon there.

Enjoy your trip.

Brian

Brian7son posted 04-22-2009 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Brian7son  Send Email to Brian7son     
Here's some info Re: Tarpon at Boca Grande

http://www.bocagrandefishing.com/Tournaments.htm

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