Great Outdoor Escapes: A Guide to North Captiva Island, FL

Just 11 miles south of the tarpon capital of the world, the Boca Grande Pass, you’ll find a quaint little island escape. But unlike many tropical destinations, this one can only be accessed by boat. North Captiva Island, Florida is the ultimate destination for outdoorsmen and their families.  

Departure Tips

When vacationing on an island with no cars, no grocery stores, and few restaurants your last stop before hitting the water towards the island, will be the grocery store. Stocked with plenty of dry ice, the grocery stores on Pine Island will know where you’re headed when you request “boat bags”. To avoid soggy groceries on the boat ride over, your groceries will be packed in a paper bag for durability, and then placed in a plastic bag for water protection. Packing in plastic storage totes isn’t a bad idea, depending on your boat situation. 

With a weeks’ worth of necessities in tow, it’s time to back that trailer into the water and head 6.5 miles west to North Captiva. 

Island Time

When you spot the stilt house at the mouth of the cove, you know you’re in the right spot. You’ll find your boat slip and transfer your luggage from your boat to the next most important mode of transportation… a golf cart. With no cars on the island, a golf cart will be your best friend. 

The clock truly slows down once you’re on the island. Half the island is residential, while the other half is state preservation land. With so much nature, a simple walk or golf cart ride can lead to all sorts of fun. Seashells line the beach, tortoises munch on plants that line the roads (golf cart paths is more like it). And it wouldn’t be a proper evening on the island without a happy hour golf cart ride to the small island landing strip to watch the planes come in. If you’re lucky, you may spot a manatee hanging out in the neighboring wharf. 

Other Spots Just A Boat Ride Away
While the island and surrounding waters has plenty to offer, a quick boat ride in any direction can land you a whole day of fun. 

  • Cayo Costa State Park: Completely uninhabited, Cayo Costa has plenty of seashells and fishing spots. 
  • Cabbage Key: Rumored to be where Jimmy Buffet wrote “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, this dollar-bill-covered restaurant has an “old Florida” feel. After filling your belly with a cheeseburger, take a hike up the lighthouse steps to look out over the sound. 
  • Boca Grande: Known for world class tarpon fishing, the Boca Grande pass is every sport fisherman’s dream. Fishing isn’t your thing? Boca Grande offers plenty of shopping, dining, and sight-seeing in their charming downtown. Grab a glass of blackberry lemonade from the Loose Caboose before strolling down the Banyan Tree lined streets. Visit the lighthouse and watch the tarpon fishermen from the porch. 
  • Captiva Island: Separated from North Captiva by only a tiny pass, Captiva Island offers many good restaurants. Dock your boat at Jensen’s Marina and find your way to the Bubble Room for dessert that will change your life. 
  • Sanibel Island: If shelling is your thing, find your way on south to Sanibel Island. Known as the seashell capital of the world, you’re going to want to bring a bucket to visit the beaches.