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sailboat in water in front of Boca Grande Museum

Barefoot on Boca Grande

Families, couples and groups of friend’s flock to the quaint coastal community of Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island for its Old Florida charm and barefoot elegance. If you are looking to truly get away, Boca Grande and the Outer Islands are just the place.

The white-sand beaches tend to be quiet and uncrowded, offering a tranquil respite from fast-paced city living. In fact, the preferred mode of transportation in Boca Grande is a golf cart, bicycle or your own two feet – preferably without shoes. So, kick off your flip-flops and stay awhile.

Here are some of our favorite things to do in Boca Grande, no shoes required.

Swimming

Southwest Florida is famous for its beautiful white-sand beaches, and Boca Grande is no exception. Whether you’d like to stroll along the sands or dive right into the crystalline waters of the Gulf, it’s easy to reach the beach. Gasparilla Island State Park, which requires a small fee upon entering, has four access points for Boca Grande Beach.

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Snorkeling

Thanks to the calm waters of the Gulf, Boca Grande is perfect for snorkeling. Simply wade out directly from the shore to get a good look at the ocean floor. While you don’t need shoes for this activity, wearing a pair of flippers is always encouraged.

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Boating

Anyone in for a little island-hopping? Hail a water taxi from Boca Grande and head to the Cabbage Key Inn on nearby Cabbage Key for what is rumored to be the inspiration for Jimmy Buffet’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Then, continue to Cayo Costa State Park to enjoy unspoiled nature, shelling, and swimming and sunning.

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Shelling

People like to come to Boca Grande and the Outer Islands in search of shells, sand dollars and shark teeth, especially since the beaches are a little less crowded. Bring a beach bucket or “goody bag” net to collect your sandy treasures.

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Sunbathing

Perfect your tan – responsibly, with sunscreen of course – on one of four public Boca Grande beaches: Sandspur Beach, Sea Grape Beach, Seawall Beach or Lighthouse Park on Boca Grande Pass. And when it’s time to cool off, simply return to item #1 on this list, swimming!

When you visit the historic village of Boca Grande, feel free to leave your shoes behind. There’s plenty to see and do here. Don’t just take our word for it; start planning your trip so you can sink your toes into the beaches of Fort Myers for yourself.

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