Cabbage Key is a unique Florida day trip and a great way to get a great cheeseburger on an island. Cabbage Key is a remote island in the Gulf of Mexico. Since it is an island, the only way to access Cabbage Key is by boat – that is half the fun of getting to Cabbage Key.
Just south of Punta Gorda, Florida is a road off the interstate highway, I-75, called Pine Island Road. This leads to an Island (surprisingly called Pine Island!) that has towns like Matlacha, Bokeelia and St. Mary’s (where one of Florida’s best dive bars, Ragged Ass Saloon, is located). However, our destination would be a dock at Pineland Marina and a boat that would take us to Cabbage Key.
A water taxi takes you a 20 minute ride across Pine Island Sound to Cabbage Key. The water taxi hops several islands in Pine Island sound including North Captiva island. The cost varies but the ride is priceless.
Cabbage Key is home to an old Florida restaurant where legend has it that Jimmy Buffet was inspired to write “Cheeseburger in Paradise”. Jimmy says that is not the case, but the legend still exists.
The Cabbage Key Inn is quite remote, but a fun ride on the water taxi to the island of Cabbage Key. The island has a rich history. Cuban fishermen were on Cabbage Key in the 1700s and tarpon were being studied in the 1900s. There is also evidence of occupation as early as 500 BC.
While waiting to get a seat at the Inn, you can roam around the island. The Inn is hugely popular, but they have made waiting part of the adventure with some trails on the island and a few games in the wooded area next to the restaurant.
Once you get inside the Cabbage Key Inn, you know you have entered an old Florida location that has weather hurricanes, floods, tropical storms and everything else mother nature could muster.
Rustic tables, fun servers and one of the best cheeseburgers you can find will greet you at the Cabbage Key Inn.
Boat Ride, Good Food on an Island – Great Florida Day Trip
We think this is one of the most creative and fun Florida day trips you can find. Cabbage Key day trip will take you the better part of the day with travel time, boat ride, island exploring and the return trip.
A Florida road trip to Pine Island and the Cabbage Key Inn is about a two-hour drive from Clearwater or Tampa, Florida. The day trip from Orlando would be about 3 hours. A day trip from Naples would be about an hour.
Florida Travel Blog features many Florida day trips to unique islands. Below are some suggestions for future island day trips in Florida.