A string of five beaches along the Gulf shore of Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island, this far-flung outpost of Lee County is home to one of Florida’s most delightful lighthouse museums. But first things first: the surf. Sandspur Beach is a hangout for the surfing crowd, catching waves on one of the few beaches on the Gulf of Mexico where you can find any.
Location: Boca Grande
Fees: $3 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily. Lighthouse hours vary by season.
Leashed pets welcome except on beach
Charlotte Harbor pours into the Gulf through the Boca Grande Pass between this spot and distant La Costa Island, home of Cayo Costa State Park. Built in 1890 to guide ships to Charlotte Harbor, the Boca Grande Lighthouse served as a working lighthouse for nearly 70 years and was fully restored in 1986 to serve as a museum. Shelling is excellent along the shoreline facing the pass and around the bend to the main and most popular beachfront.
In case you see a monster out of the corner of your eye, as I did: yep, that’s one of our super-bad invasive species, a Nile monitor lizard. Don’t mess with it, but do let the rangers know.