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DON PEDRO ISLAND
Don Pedro island is situated in Boca Grande on Floridas south west (Gulf) coast in Charlotte County. This is mid way between Fort Myers and Sarasota.
The joy of this little gem is that it is only accesible by boat or ferry. Ferries run only friday, saturday or sunday at the time of writing (call 941 964 0375)
We know that for 5000 years he area was occupied by Calusa Indians who were hunter, fisher, gatherers and were attracted here by the bountiful possibilities for free food Later in the 16th century Ponce De Leon landed here.
Then later on the pirates came in to conduct their nefarious activities and after then it had many owners til the 1950s when it was bought by an entrepaneur for development. He organised the ferry and had the boat docks and pavilion built. He intended to then build flats; however, the state bought the island for six million dollars in 1984 and have worked since then to retain it's natural charm and flora and fauna.
You can fish from the beach or the intra coastal waters. Expect to catch snook, sharks head, tarpon or trout. Since they supply barbecues at this park you can grill your catch.
The beach is perfect for sun bathing and shelling and the waters for swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving. From may to september is the sea nesting season so you need to be especially careful not to disturb the nesters
There is a history of the island in an interpretive exhibition and the rangers are knowledgable and helpful
There are good trails which take you through the centre of the island and cover the 11 eco systems. Look out for the Leather Fern which is rare and protected and the air plants.
You may also see manatee, eagles and gopher tortoises. The elevated sand dune has sea oats and the bay side has mangrove which is very useful as a natural defence barrier
Don Pedro Key State Park is part of a chain of islands that stretch from Little Gasparilla Island to Knight Island and has a total of 129 acres of park to enjoy.
The concession holder for the ferry is Grande Tours (941 697 8825) and it departs from Fishermans Pier which is in Placida (south of Boca Grande Cause way)
The park entrance is $1 per person and it is open from 8am til sun down In the hotter months you will need sun screen, sun hat, insect repellant and sun glasses
Don Pedro Island State Park
P. O. Box 1150
Boca Grande, Florida 33921
Phone: 941- 964 - 0375
Fax: 941- 964 -1154
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