Pine Island often referred to as “Florida’s Best Kept Secret” is the largest island (17 miles long and 2 miles wide) on the west coast of Florida, just 15-20 minutes from Cape Coral, 30 minutes from Ft. Myers and one hour from Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW). Pine Island’s secluded, quaint and “country waterfront” atmosphere is a huge part of its charm. Fringed with mangroves rather than white sand beaches, Pine Island has escaped the concrete, blacktop and skyscrapers found in the more touristy, beachy communities.
Pine Island consists of Matlacha (Mat-la-shay), Pine Island Center, Bokeelia (Bo- keel -ya), Pineland and St. James City. Each community treasures its own distinctive ambiance. Once you cross the bridge entering Matlacha you are “On Island Time”.
Matlacha looks like an “old Florida” fishing village it also has a growing collection of art galleries, gift and island wear shops and boutiques, seafood restaurants, small motels and cottages. The drawbridge over Matlacha Pass is known as the “Fishingest Bridge in the World,” with anglers customarily fishing the bridge, night and day.
Cayo Costa Island State Park
Located on La Costa Island, which is west of Pine Island, south of Gasparilla Island, and north of North Captiva. Except for the basic State Park buildings, dockage, a few camping cabins and restrooms, this is a completely undeveloped island with nine miles of pristine white sand beaches.. The island’s beaches are among the finest in the world for sea shelling and are actively seeked out just for that reason. Cayo Costa Island is only accessible from the water by boat.
North Captiva Island
North Captiva Island is known for its pristine white beaches and some of the best shelling in the world. There are 5 miles of beautiful beaches to walk on North Captiva, two-thirds of which border a 700-acre state land preserve. North Captiva Island is only accessible by boat or small air craft.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands
Sanibel Island is about 12 miles long and 4 miles wide. Sanibel is known around the world for it’s fabulous shelling beaches. Due to Sanibel Island’s unique geographical orientation, lying East to West instead of North to South, it acts as a scoop and gathers seashells along it’s beaches.
While Sanibel Island is a wildlife refuge in and of itself, over 60% of the island is actually protected wildlife preserves Immediately north of Sanibel across the short Blind Pass bridge is Captiva Island. The two Islands boast over 17 miles of beautiful beaches.
Preserving it for the future
The Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves encompass the surrounding waters of Matlacha Pass, Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor. The preserves makeup is mostly mangrove Islands, expansive shallow water sea grass beds and salt marshes. All combined to form the perfect habitat for fish, invertebrates and birds.
The preserves total over 150,000 acres.