Frequently Asked Questions
We try to anticipate questions you might have about our island and our rental homes and provide the answers here. If you need additional information please contact us.
1. How do we get to the island?
There is one water taxi that services the island; he runs every day during daylight hours but will run later with a reservation. It is best to contact him several days in advance, especially if you need to travel very early, after dark or on a holiday. Average cost for the water taxi is $10.00 per person but be sure to verify this as prices sometimes change depending on the time of day you need to cross the bay…after dark costs extra. There is also a minimum trip charge of $20. PLEASE try to arrive before dark!
Phone number for Pirate’s Water Taxi is 941-697-5777.
2. What is the beach like? Is it Private? How do we get to the beach?
The beach is perfect for swimming. There are no steep drop-offs when you enter the water from the shore. The bottom is pure white sand and there is usually a sand bar 10-20 yards offshore which keeps the waves to a minimum. The water is usually quite clear. During storms there may be a rip current, so supervision of small children is always recommended.
The beach itself is not private, but the difficulty of reaching the island without a boat or water taxi means that there are often very few people on the beach. Beach access for all homes is a sandy pathway. None of our homes offer a private dune walk…we prefer the natural look of a sand pathway. Even homes located on the Bay or inland have easy access to the beach. Since the island is only about 100 yards wide in many spots, it is never more than a 3-4 minute walk to the beach.
3. Does the beach ever become unsafe for swimming? What about hurricanes?
The beach on Little Gasparilla Island is generally considered to be a calm, family-friendly beach year-round. There are very rare periods of larger waves or higher winds but even during storms, the surf is generally quite mild.
Hurricanes simply cannot be predicted. However, the island has NEVER had a direct hit and even during the severe storms of 2004 and 2005, we had minimal damage. In the event of a mandatory evacuation, you may be asked by authorities to leave the island. Keep in mind that the house sits 20 feet above the dune so storm surge is a minimal threat.
4. Can we buy groceries on the island?
No. There are no commercial establishments on the island. All groceries need to be purchased on your way to the marina and brought over with you on the water taxi. We suggest that our guests buy the majority of their groceries just prior to arrival at the marina, to limit the necessity of making additional water taxi trips. Be sure to ask for a “boat pack” (paper inside plastic) to make groceries easier to handle on the water taxi.
5. Where do we park?
You will park your vehicle at Eldred’s Marina. Their address is 6301 Boca Grande Causeway, Placida, FL 33946. Parking is $6 a day. Please pay for your parking and place your parking pass in your vehicle’s windshield before catching the water taxi to the island. If you arrive after dark and the marina is closed, please contact them the next day at 941-697-1431 and make arrangements to pay for your parking. This is where you catch the water taxi and your vehicle should be safe while left in the parking lot.
6. Where can we rent a boat?
There are several nearby boat rental agencies which will rent hourly, daily or for a week. Names and phone numbers are provided in the information package once you book. For quotes, check out their websites:
|Barrier Island Boat Rentals||Island Boat Rentals|
|Bay Breeze Boat Rentals||Manatee River Boat Rentals|
7. How do we get in the house? And how far is it from the dock to the house?
Your vacation rental will most likely be left unlocked for you…our housekeeper will come to the house immediately prior to your arrival and will leave the house open. If it is locked, lock box information is provided in your Arrival Letter sent out roughly a week to 10 days prior to your arrival. If you call our concierge and let him know your water taxi time, he will meet you at the dock and help transport luggage and groceries to the house for you. Generally, it is not necessary to lock the house during your stay. The island is very safe.
The island is only about 100-200 yards wide in most spots….so even if you choose not to use the concierge, it is never more than a 3-4 minute walk from the dock to the beach.
8. How private is the island?
There are other houses on the island so you do not have complete privacy. We are fortunate to live on a part of the island that is lower in density than the south end of the island…there are no condos near our vacation rentals, and any crowds on the beach are generally on the south end of the island OR at the Don Pedro State Park. Depending on the time of year you visit, we can sometimes walk for hours on the beach without seeing another person. Holiday weekends are generally quite busy, since many of the island homes are owned by Florida residents who visit on the weekends. And, because there is no bridge to the island, traffic and large crowds of tourists are virtually nonexistent.
9. Where’s the closest airport?
Sarasota Airport is just over an hour to the north; Ft. Myers (SW Florida Regional Airport) is about 1-1/4 hours to the south. There are also small airports in Venice (45 minutes) and a grass strip in Englewood. If you are lucky enough to be located near an airport served by Allegiant, check out flights into Punta Gorda, which is only about 45 minutes from the marina.
10. Do you allow dogs?
YES, Little Gasparilla Island is very dog friendly, and since there are rarely-enforced leash laws, there are often many dogs on the beach swimming, chasing birds, digging in the sand and chasing frisbees. Because of this freedom, aggressive dogs are generally not tolerated unless they are restrained. We also request that any pets staying at our rentals must be on preventative flea control, and that you properly dispose of pet waste around the outside of the house. Most of our vacation rental owners charge a $100 non-refundable pet fee to help cover additional cleaning costs for furry friends.
11. Is the kitchen fully stocked/what will be provided during our stay?
All kitchens include refrigerator, electric range, microwave, coffee maker, blender, and kitchen utensils.You will also find all necessary cookware, bakeware, and all dishes. Each house also has a washer and dryer. There is an outdoor, after-swim shower for rinsing off salt water and sand. Most homes also offer a varied selection of pantry items such as saran, foil, paper towels, napkins, coffee filters and assorted spices. The house cleaners have also been instructed to leave condiments in the refrigerator during the months of high usage. Some people like to have pickles, mustard, ketchup and other condiments left for them. (If you are offended by an opened jar of pickles, please feel free to throw it away.) Since there are no grocery stores on the island, sometimes it is helpful to have additional supplies in the house. Think of it as staying at a friend’s home and having access to their refrigerator and pantry. If there is something you absolutely cannot do without, you should bring it with you. Otherwise, you are welcome to use whatever is available in the house.
12. Are linens provided?
Yes, all linens are provided, including beach towels.
13. If this is a barrier island, with no roads and bridges, what is there to do? Will my kids get bored?
There are numerous outdoor activities to satisfy the most energetic guest. There is excellent fishing from the dock or the beach; nearby Placida and Boca Grande offer numerous charters for deep-sea fishing, tarpon fishing or flats fishing. There are kayak and jet-ski rentals nearby, and shelling trips or luncheon trips to Cabbage Key. There is golf on the mainland with several courses to choose from. There is snorkeling and swimming, plus wind-surfing, boogie boarding or tubing. The island is also known for its many shell varieties and large number of shark’s teeth, and many people walk the beach every day to add to their shell collections. Some people bring bicycles over on the water taxi and ride the length of the island. (But, the sand pathways are very soft so riding is best on the beach, where the sand is packed harder.) You can also explore the island on a golf cart (rentals available on the island), watch eagles and osprey nest, swim with the dolphins and watch massive sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand on balmy summer evenings. You can often spot manatees at the dock or off the beach. For rainy afternoons, there is an island library with books and tapes. Many of our homes also offer movies and books, puzzles and games.
14. Is there a perfect guest for Little Gasparilla Island? Who might be unhappy on the island?
The perfect guests are those looking for a relaxed vacation, in a well-appointed, comfortable home with beautiful surroundings and peace and privacy. Visitors looking for lots of nightlife or those who prefer to eat every meal in a restaurant and don’t want to cook on vacation would probably be happier on the mainland.
15. What happens if something breaks or there are other problems that need attention during our stay?
Our housekeeper lives nearby and can usually be reached via cell phone. We live just 15 minutes from the marina, but we do need to get our boat out of storage to come to the island. We will do our best to get problems taken care of as quickly as possible. But, due to the nature of island living, instant repairs are not always possible. We do provide phone numbers for relevant repair services (AC, appliances, water system, etc.) and you are authorized to contact them directly if you are unable to reach us immediately. Please be aware that during summer thunderstorms or periods of high winds, it is not unusual to lose power on the entire island for a few hours. We also provide phone numbers for Florida Power and Light so that you can contact them to report a power outage.
16. Do we need a fishing license?
As a rule, if you are fishing from the dock or the beach Florida residents do not need a license, but out-of-state guests do. For more specific details on requirements and fees, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife website. As you may know, Boca Grande is known as the Tarpon Capital of the World….during the warmer months, from April until almost August, the “silver king” offers fishermen one of the greatest thrills — and challenges — possible. If you are interested in tarpon fishing, contact the Boca Grande Fishing Guides and have them match you with a captain who can best meet your needs, skill level, etc. Their e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
17. Are your rental homes handicap accessible?
Unfortunately, due to building restrictions on the island, all newer homes are built on pilings, with at least one flight of steps up to the house, and the homes do not have elevators. Our concierge is available to help carry groceries and luggage up the steps for our guests, so those with limited mobility may be able to enjoy the island, but the homes are not wheelchair-accessible.
18. Where can we get fresh fish?
There is an excellent fish market in Placida, right across the bay and just a few minutes from Publix. (You can also go to the fish market via water taxi.) There are also several cute shops in Placida with cute, beachy souvenirs including the Margaret Allbritton Gallery and Hatch Gallery. http://www.placidafishmarket.com
19. Can we rent kayaks or paddle boards on the island?
Currently there are no kayak rentals on the island itself. However, you can rent single or tandem kayaks or stand up paddle boards from the Cape Haze Marina and they will deliver them to our dock for you with a 2-day minimum rental. Their website is www.hookedonsup.com
20. Can we rent a golf cart on the island?
Golf carts can be rented from Little Gasparilla Island Carts at 941-697-3820. It is best to make a reservation in advance, especially if you will be on the island during a holiday. (Please note that a few of our owners provide golf carts with their rentals. But these golf carts are provided as a courtesy only and the owners will not provide a replacement cart if theirs is not working or if you break it during your stay. If the use of a golf cart is very important to you, we suggest you reserve a rental cart to ensure that one will be available for you.)
21. What do we need to bring with us?
Please try to pack light! People ALWAYS bring too many clothes to the island! During the summer months, flip flops, a few tee shirts, a couple pairs of shorts, a couple swimsuits, a hat and a cover up should be sufficient. If you like to jog on the beach, bring your running shoes. And if you are coming in the winter, add some long pants or sweat pants and a sweat shirt or lightweight rain jacket. Almost all restaurants in the area are casual so you won’t need “good” clothes unless you plan to dine in Boca Grande. (A couple places there actually require jackets!) Be sure to bring any prescription medications you might need as well as over the counter medications and sunscreen because there are no drug stores on the island. Some people also prefer bottled water to our island water and prefer to bring drinking water with them. Our tap water is safe and drinkable but if you are fussy about the taste, you can always bring a case of bottled water with you.
22. What else should we know about Little Gasparilla Island?
We do not want you to be disappointed or unhappy with any aspect of your vacation on Little Gasparilla Island and we welcome any additional questions you might have. When you visit our rental homes, we are welcoming you into a private residence. As long-time island residents ourselves, we are trusting that you will respect and care for each home. We ask that you follow the guest policies that have been agreed to and be responsible guests. We want all of our guests to enjoy the island as much as we do, to respect our beautiful natural environment, and we want you to have a wonderful vacation!
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions.