Exploring Pine Island
Pine Island is an oddity among Florida’s coastal islands. It sits where the waters of San Carlos Bay and Charlotte Harbor meet, and there is another island farther offshore protecting it from the Gulf of Mexico. So Pine Island has no beaches: it’s ringed by mangrove forests.
Without a sandy strand as an attraction, it’s remained very low-key, with much of its acreage taken up in tropical fruit orchards and public lands. A bike path parallels the main road of the island, Stringfellow Road, showcasing the agricultural bounty.
There are several communities on the island. Artsy Matlacha, at the bridge from the mainland, is the one you won’t miss. Pineland, on the mangrove coastline, showcases Calusa history. At the north end, Bokeelia is the launch point for trips to Cayo Costa State Park. The south end, St. James City, is more residential.