Explore Cayo Costa State Park on Your Sanibel Island Stay

Paying a visit to Sanibel Island is sure to bring about memories you won’t soon forget. There are tons of fun experiences that you can have with your family, from strolling along the beach to relaxing in your Sanibel Island beachfront rentals to indulging in fresh seafood and so much more. However, if you want a truly calming and relaxing place to spend time with the ones you love most, then we highly recommend planning a visit to Cayo Costa State Park.

Cayo Costa State Park is one of the most intriguing things to do in Captiva Island (though, admittedly, it’s not on the island itself), thanks to its unique offerings and its fascinating history. If you want a great excuse to leave your phone back in your Sanibel Island condo rentals and truly reconnect with nature, don’t miss your chance to explore this magnificent state park. 

About the Park

Cayo Costa State Park, FL, is one of the most impressive natural attractions near Sanibel and the Captiva Islands. This park offers an incredible nine miles of untouched beaches, bringing you as close to raw nature as you can get these days. In this park, you’ll find all kinds of fun activities to experience, all with a fantastic backdrop of the Charlotte Harbor Estuary.

In its early days, the land now the Cayo Costa State Park was inhabited by the Calusa Native American people and was used primarily as a fishing ground. In the 1800s, “fishing ranchos” were established on the islands. At the northern end of Cayo Costa, immigrants came into the country through a quarantine station beginning in the late 1800s. After that, many fishing families lived in the area and constructed a school, a grocery store, and a post office. 

Today, visitors come from all over Florida (and across the country) to swim, shell, fish, snorkel, and more. Since this area is more or less untouched, there are all kinds of beautiful marine life, birds, and wildlife species that call Cayo Costa State Park home. As such, it’s truly a paradise for the animal lover in your group. 

cayo costa park by sanibel island
Photo from Shutterstock

Activities to Do

When you visit Cayo Costa State Park, there is truly no limit to all the fun things you can experience. We briefly mentioned a few activities, like swimming, fishing, and snorkeling. To touch on Sanibel Island fishing, it’s important to note that you will need a fishing license to fish here at Cayo Costa State Park. Once you get your license, though, you can cast your line and try to reel in snook, trout, snapper, tarpon, flounder, redfish, and others. 

When you visit the beach, there’s plenty to do. You can first stroll along the shoreline to go shelling and search for oysters, scallops, and clams, as well as traditional seashells. Try to go at low tide for the best results. You can also go snorkeling here as long as you provide your equipment! 

If you want to enjoy an activity while staying on the dry land, you can always explore the park by biking. You can bring your bike or rent one from the gift shop for either a half-day or a full day. Remember that cyclists ages 16 and under are legally required to wear a helmet. 

You might also enjoy hitting the trails on foot! The hiking opportunities here are great for all ages and skill levels, and as you navigate the paths, you’ll also get to see some genuinely breathtaking bird species. Not only will you see native species, but you might also see rare or endangered varieties hanging out in the tallest treetops. 

How to Get There

One of the most unique things about Cayo Costa State Park is its accessibility. We already mentioned that this is one of the most untouched destinations in the Sunshine State, but why is that? Well, Cayo Costa State Park is only accessible by boat or kayak! The easiest way to get to the park for the average visitor will be to take the Cayo Costa State Park ferry.

Thanks to Captiva Cruises, guests can get a ferry over to Cayo Costa State Park from pickup points on Pine Island, Punta Gorda, and Captiva Island. It’s highly recommended that you make reservations to board the ferry in advance since cruises can sell out quickly. You can embark on a half-day or full-day Beach and Shelling Cruise with service to Cayo Costa State Park for $45 or $55 per adult, respectively. 

Hours and Pricing

Ready to visit Cayo Costa State Park for yourself? There are still a few more things you need to know before planning your Sanibel Island vacation. A piece of good news for visitors is that Cayo Costa State Park is open every single day of the year from 8 a.m. to sundown, meaning that you can explore the park no matter what season you’re visiting the area. If you need to speak with a ranger, note that the ranger station is only open until 4 p.m. 

To get into the park, you will need to pay an admission fee of $2 per person. This park uses an honor box to keep track of costs, and you must bring exact change. If you’re coming here for tent camping, the fee is $22 per night. Alternatively, staying in a “primitive cabin” on the property costs $40 per night, and boat camping costs $20 per night per vessel.  

Plan Your Next Stay

So, are the shores of Cayo Costa State Park calling your name yet? Want to come to explore the beautiful Sanibel and Captiva Islands? Book your Sanibel Island condo with Sandalfoot Condos today to begin your journey!

Book Your Sanibel Condo

When you’re done exploring the breathtaking conditions of Cayo Costa State Park for the day, head back to your Captiva or Sanibel Island condo rentals to relax and unwind for the evening. But where should you turn to book the best condo rentals on the islands? Sandalfoot Condos has you covered. 

We are incredibly proud to offer all kinds of rental options to meet the needs of any family on any budget. We offer a little something for everyone, from our small and cozy options to more extensive and luxurious rentals. Regardless of your choice, you’ll have access to convenient amenities like flat-screen TVs, fully stocked kitchens, incredible views of the island, convenient parking for multiple cars, and so much more. 

In addition to the excellent amenities, your rental will also provide you with a one-of-a-kind location just minutes away from the best activities in the area. Finally, you can take advantage of having a dedicated team of locals by your side throughout your vacation. Guests are more than welcome to ask any questions they might have, big or small, and we’ll do everything in our power to get your answers. We will stop at nothing to make sure you have the getaway of your dreams!



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