Punta Gorda is a small town on the southern shore of Peace River and Charlotte Harbor. Some of the best sailing in Florida, good shopping at the Fisherman’s Village with quaint shops and a bar called Harpoon Harry’s. Punta Gorda is a great Florida day trip, but that is not our destination.
Just south of Punta Gorda is a road off 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 the Ragged Ass Saloon is located), but our destination would be a dock at Pineland Marina that would lead us to Cabbage Key which can only be reached by boat.
A water taxi takes you a 20 minute ride across Pine Island Sound to Cabbage Key. It’s home to the 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 a water taxi charter 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.
A Florida road trip to Pine Island 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 Fort Myers 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.