A life without adventure is no life at all

Take it from my friends at SUP Englewood and get out there for an adventure this weekend!

“One of the most amazing places to paddle is the Don Pedro Island State Park. Many have been to the Don Pedro Island by boat. Most people just visit the beach and have no idea the hidden treasures that are concealed within the island. Launching from the land base on Placida Road provides the quickest paddling route to the island.

Located a short paddle away, directly across from the land base is a very small passage into the mangroves. This natural mangrove tunnel leads to a hidden lagoon inside the Don Pedro Island. A unique estuary can be found here, with sea stars and live soft coral. This is the only paddle boarding location in Englewood where I have seen a colony of sea stars. Other marine life can be found throughout the tunnel, blue crabs, fish, live shells, and sponges. The trip through the tunnel is fascinating every time I go.

The Don Pedro Island mangrove tunnel is different from other locations. There’s more marine life, and other elements to explore. Sitting on my paddle board through the tunnel is required. There are a few low hanging branches, which make this location a bit adventurous.

Standing on the paddle board provides better visibility into the water. I love to stop and spot the sea stars and live shells that I’m paddling over. The seagrass throughout the tunnel is very healthy, allowing for small marine life to thrive in its nursery. Dwarf seahorses can be found on occasion in the seagrass here. One thing to keep in mind is that the dwarf seahorses mate for life, and they only swim within a square foot of where they are born. Always place a dwarf seahorse back where you found them to help prevent them from being separated from their mate.

The mangrove tunnel and hidden lagoon part of the island is very private and rarely traveled. The Hidden Lagoon is located inside the Don Pedro Island and can only be reached by traveling through the narrow mangrove tunnel. The first time I went through the tunnel and entered the Hidden Lagoon was breath taking. The tunnel opens up to the coastal lagoon. I would consider the Hidden Lagoon an ideal fishing location. Check the tides before taking a paddling trip out here. On a low tide it’s almost impossible to get all the way through the tunnel. Due to the narrow passageway, low tides, and precious marine life this trip is recommended for non-motorized vessels only.

Marine life is abundant, in the warmer months the manatees can be seen frequenting the area. Dolphins are also seen closer to the main channel. After exploring the inside of the barrier island, take a break on the beach of Don Pedro Island. Docks are located only a short paddle away from the mangrove tunnel. Land access for kayaks and paddleboards is located behind the docks. Walking trails and beach access is located on the Don Pedro Island. Explore one of the most scenic locations Englewood has to offer. Paddling this location makes for perfect a day trip.”

And stay at Casa Contenta of Little Gasparilla! Less than half a mile from Don Pedro Island State Park and 300 feet from the bay leading to the mangrove tunnels!

Slow Down. Get on Island Time

By the way, this photo was taken on Cabbage Key a couple islands to the south, there are no speed limit signs on Little Gasparilla Island.

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This is How We Roll on the Island!

On a bridge-less barrier island without cars ,our #1 mode of transportation is a Golf Cart. That goes for the Fire and Rescue folks, too. They just have a much larger cart.

“Island Touring” is one of the favorite activities of our guests on Little Gasparilla; riding around in a golf cart on the sand paths that criss-cross the island. Here is a video of me driving from Casa Contenta to our dock to retrieve groceries. Yes, there were cold adult beverages in those bags. Hence the hurried nature of my trip.

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Favorite activities on Little Gasparilla Island

shellhunting

The main activity our visitors enjoy  is time on the beach, whether you are walking, running, or sitting on the beach with toes in the sand and watching new shells wash in from the placid Gulf of Mexico. And almost everyone spends some time in the clean waters of the Gulf. If you really have some ambition you could take a long walk up the beach. You could throw a line in the water and catch dinner, or book a fishing trip with one of the many experienced local guides. Or perhaps you’d like to have a paddle board or kayak delivered for your leisure. No problem.

One of our favorite activities is to take a tour around the island in the electric golf cart provided by LGI Carts. There’s no traffic to deal with and each trip we discover something new, whether it was an interesting house we’d not seen before or the island library tucked away under a mango tree.

Here’s a sample daily schedule:

  • Wake up
  • Go for an early morning beach walk/ run, go on turtle patrol, or head out fishing. The morning light is a perfect time to take photos
  • Go for a swim or a bob, as we call it
  • Walk or ride to the Hoots Lending Library for a book to read. Hunt for sharks’ teeth or shells on the beach
  • Have lunch.
  • Sunbathe, read or take a nap.
  • Read or go for another swim.
  • Have dinner.
  • Go for a walk on the beach..  Bring your favorite beverage, if you like, and visit with others toasting the sunset. Don’t forget your camera for some memorable shots
  • Go for an evening golf cart ride or go night fishing
  • Try to identify stars in the night sky, or be amazed at the Milky Way.

“The name “Little Gasparilla” doesn’t ring a bell with most folks, not even with most Florida natives. It has managed to stay under the radar of just about everyone and everything.

People love cars. If ya can’t get there by car, they ain’t goin.

People love restaurants when they’re on vacation. Bringing all your own food in bags and coolers? To cook? Some would say that’s a little too close to camping for their taste.

No bridge connects Little Gasparilla to the rest of the world. It has no paved roads, no cars, no stop signs or traffic lights. No stores. No groceries or restaurants. No street lights.

But enough about what it doesn’t have. Let me tell you what it does have.

Peace and quiet. And trees. Lots of trees and singing birds.

It has 7 miles of beaches with few people but with many shells and shark’s teeth, nesting turtles and long-legged birds.

It has several miles of twisting, turning, meandering, bumpy sand trails you can explore on foot, on bike, or by golf cart, the most common means of transport on the island.

And it has some of the darkest nights you’ll find anywhere on this coast. Some people are amazed at seeing so many stars in the sky for the first time in their lives. They had no idea.

If that doesn’t sound like your thing, I’ve probably already lost you by now.” But if I’ve piqued your interest, you’ll probably want to make your reservations at Casa Contenta of LGI today!

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(credit to BeachHunter for the above info)