Cayo Costa State Park
Explore endless expanses of white-sand beaches at Cayo Costa State Park. Here, turquoise seas lap softly at sand dunes, creating opportunities for hiking, swimming, and boating. The best part? The park is only accessible by boat, so it’s an oasis of peace and calm.
RV Camping Near the State Park
There are campsites at the state park, but since there are no roads into the park, the sites are tent-only. If you’re visiting in an RV, there are several excellent campgrounds within driving distance.
At Myakka River State Park, you’ll find 77 sites with 50-amp electrical hookups. The park does not offer full hookups, but it does offer bathrooms and shower facilities within a short walk of all campsites. Nearby, there’s a dump station, a camp store, and WiFi availability. Myakka is about 80 miles from Bokeelia, Florida, where you can catch a boat to Cayo Costa. If you’re taking your own boat or renting a boat, Punta Gorda is about 50 miles away.
Another option is the campground near the W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area in W.P. Franklin North. This spot is located 38 miles from Bokeelia, and you’ll find plenty of boat rental options nearby. There are 29 RV sites, each with water and electrical hookups. You’ll also find a dump station and laundry facilities. If you’re bringing a boat with you, there’s a boat ramp onsite. Keep in mind W.P. Franklin is popular, so it’s a good idea to book well in advance.
Getting to the Park from the Mainland
The only way to reach the state park is by boat. The easiest option is to take a commercial boat out to the island. Captiva Cruises provides regular day trips from Bokeelia and Punta Gorda. The trip from Bokeelia lasts about an hour, and the ticket includes the state park fee. With this option, you can spend between three and five hours at the park. From Punta Gorda, the ride takes just over three hours, and you can spend seven hours at the park.
If you’re bringing or renting a boat, you can head to the state park at any time. The park opens at 8 AM and closes at sunset. As of 2019, the entry fee is $2; you can pay that amount using the honor box at the park. There are boat and tent camping sites available if you decide to spend the night. Keep in mind that the ranger station closes in the early evening, so it’s a good idea to check in as soon as possible.
Things To Do at the State Park
Once you get to the park, you’ll find a wide range of activities to keep you busy. During the warmer months, the beach is the star attraction. With its 9-mile stretch of white sand and rolling dunes, it’s a breeze to find a quiet spot to yourself. While you’re there, keep an eye out for shells — shelling is one of the most popular activities at the park. In the water, you can snorkel or scuba dive in the clear waters.
If you’re looking for a more active visit, head for the park’s nature trails. The wilderness is home to wide variety of bird species. During the spring and fall, the bird population explodes for the seasonal migrations.
The easiest way to explore the park is by bike. The park store rents bikes and helmets, so you can explore the trail system. You’ll also find kayak rentals. If you’re heading out on the water, keep a lookout for the gentle manatees and sea turtles that make their home there.
Services at the State Park
Although this park is an island, you’ll find plenty of services to make your visit more pleasant. The park store offers gifts, snacks, and rentals. If you need information, pop into the ranger station. During the high season, park rangers host programs in the amphitheater. The park also offers bathrooms and showers, so you can rinse off after a day on the sand.
If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway on your RV camping trip through Florida, Cayo Costa State Park is an ideal destination. With its beautiful beaches and variety of activities, you’ll find plenty to do during a half or full-day trip.
For more information, visit the park’s website or call 941.964.0375.