Cayo Costa Florida-Cabins, Seashells, And Snorkeling


Cayo Costa Florida is a barrier Island off the Southwest coast of Florida near Cape Coral. You can only get there by boat. It’s worth the trip.

The Park

The Cayo Costa State Park’s 2,426 acres take up most of the island. There’s seven miles of white sand beach. There’s also coast line on the back side boarding Pine Island Sound. Here’s beautiful protected water for kayaking, and a great anchorage for sailboats. Nearly six miles of trails run through the park begging to be explored. Kayak and bike are available.

The soft white sand is great for the usual beach activities. Cayo Costa shelling is exceptional. You’ll have better luck on a low tide and a better chance of discovering a rare find if you’re away from the more heavily frequented stretches. Competition for unusual shells is much less on Cayo Costa Island than the more crowed beaches of Sanibel Island.

Bring your own food and drinks. Also chairs and anything else you may need. There are no restaurants on the island. There are showers, restrooms and shaded pavilions in which to take a break from the sun and have a picnic. There’s a $2 fee to enter the park.

Cayo Costa Cabin Rentals

There are 12 cabins for rent. They’re one room with a table and three bunk beds, so they can sleep six. Cayo Costa cabins don’t have electricity or plumbing. There are public restrooms and cold water showers and outdoor grills near by as well as potable water. Ice is available at $4 a bag. A minimum of two nights is required if you’re staying Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night as well as holidays. The nightly rental rate is $40 including taxes.

Cayo Costa Snorkeling

Most days the water is not clear. Wait for days when it hasn’t rained hard or been breezy for about a week. An easterly wind is not as damaging as a westerly. There is no coral. I haven’t even seen rocks. Still, it can be beautiful, with a bright sand bottom, shells, and fish. I’ve seen trout, pompano, and sheepshead as well as schools of white bait. There’s a lot of area we haven’t explored, but we will. A warning, there can be a lot of stingrays. Stay in at least four feet of water so you’re well above them.

Cayo Costa Camping

There are 30 camp sites. None have electricity. Each site has a table and grill. There are no generators allowed at the camp sites or cabins. They’re $20 a night. A warning, it gets hot and buggy during the summer.

Boat options

The best way to get to Cayo Costa is vie your own boat, a charter boat or rental. These options give you the ability to land on the beach away from everyone else. You can have a long stretch of beach all to yourself. It also lets you arrive and leave on your own schedule. The remaining choice is to take one of the ferries. Most ferries land at a dock on the back side of Cayo Costa. There’s a free tram that will take you and your gear across to the cabins, camp sites and Gulf side beach. We’ve gathered information on three of them.

Tropic Star

  • Leaves from Jug Creek Marina in Bokeelia on Pine Island.
  • Round trip costs $32 per adult, children under 12 are $25. The park fee is included.
  • There is a $6 parking fee at the marina, $9 if it’s overnight.
  • Camper transport is $42 for an adult, $32 for a child, including 50 lbs per person.

King Fisher Fleet

  • Leaves from Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda.
  • Round trip costs $32.95 per adult, children under 12 are $16.48. The park fee is not included.
  • Trips are only available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
  • There is an additional $10 charge if arriving and leaving on different days.

Captiva Cruises

  • Leaves from Captiva Island.
  • Round trip costs $50 per adult, children under 12 are $35. The park fee is not included.
  • There is a $5 parking fee at the marina.
  • Half day trips are available at $40 per adult and $25 per child.

The barrier islands with no road access have a unique feel to them. When in Florida everybody should visit one at least once. The important thing isn’t how you get there, but that you get there.

Cayo Costa State Park