Camping on Florida’s barrier islands


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Week of February 14-21, 1996
Camping at Point Reyes Seashore, CA
Alabama backpacking destination
The new Crater Lake Lodge
Camping on Florida’s barrier islands
Bike touring Nova Scotia and the Maritimes
Exploring Puerto Rico’s rainforest

Camping on Florida’s barrier islands
Q: Any advice on camping on the Gulf Coast of Florida, preferably more south than north?
Lisa Vande Hei
Lexington, KY

Cayo Costa State Park, Florida

A: To avoid the throngs of shell-hunters on Sanibel and Captiva islands, we recommend pitching your tent on Cayo Costa, a neighboring seven-mile-long barrier island off Florida’s southwest coast. Located west of Ft. Myers at the mouth of Charlotte Harbor, Cayo Costa is nearly 90 percent state parkland, with its lush oak-and-palm hammock
interior and wide, white-sand beach. In addition to nearly 400 species of shells–including baby’s ears and blanded tulips–there are 12 primitive cabins (call 813-964-0375 for reservations) and a pine-and-palm shaded camping area for about 30 tents, all 100 yards from the Gulf of Mexico. Resist pocketing any of the park’s live specimens and don’t forget your fishing tackle:
Boca Grande Pass, off the northern tip of the island, is notorious tarpon territory.

Getting there means arranging for a private boat through the 4-Winds Marina in Bokeelia, 20 miles west of North Fort Myers (813-283-0015) or the Boca Grande Pass Marina in Boca Grande Pass (813-964-0607). For more information, call the Cayo Costa State Park at 813-964-0375 and check out “Sand, Ho!”
which contains a Gulf Coast section, in our July 1993 issue.

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