The Outskirts. Old Florida. The areas that tourists don’t know about (some do, but all in all, it’s not a theme park I’m going to be sharing information with you about). These getaways, sometimes hole-in-the wall or dives I’ll be sharing with you are my types of places.
I received a lot of feedback on my Facebook page about what types of places in Florida you wanted to also find out about, and that is my mission! First of all, it’s where I spend a lot of my time anyways. Whether it’s spending a weekend stay-cation in one of my favorite Florida beach towns, or discovering a new Florida destination that may be off the beaten path, I can’t wait to share my adventures with you & also hear about new places from you.
This first destination is far from a hole in the wall, and while many people may have heard of Boca Grande, you may not have experienced it’s ultimate charm and old Florida history. After my very first visit last year, it quickly climbed to the top of my list of one of my favorite Florida beach towns.
From the Boca Grande Lighthouse, to the Boca Grande Marina (locals call it Miller’s, as it’s Eagle Grille and Miller’s Dockside) – there’s plenty to explore, and of course, even better if you can do it by boat.
I tend to have a deep interest in Florida history for some reason. I honestly don’t know where it stems from, other than maybe just because I’m a born and raised Floridian. I guess I take pride in that and I couldn’t imagine living my life anywhere away from hot weather, bodies of water, and on that note, being on the water as much as possible. It is truly my happy place.
Let’s dig into Boca Grande. Such a charming little town that you can get around by golf cart (rent one) if you please, and make a few stops around some historic sites. The Boca Grande Lighthouse features many pieces of Florida artifacts, those who settled there, how they got there, and old newspaper clippings from the town that became Boca Grande.
The Boca Grande Marina on the other hand is a great place to stop for a delicious lunch & drink if you’ve spent the morning on the water. It’s the epitome of what a nice, Florida, marina is and you’ll see a variety of boats come and go.
There’s also the Gasparilla Inn & Club. While we did not stay there and only drove by as we explored on a golf cart, the history behind this hotel is as ‘old Florida’ as it gets. The Gasparilla Inn & Club website describes the hotel as “a proud member of Historic Hotels of America and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Gasparilla Inn is one of the largest surviving resort hotels in Florida, constructed originally for wealthy northerners during the time when the state became a travel and vacation destination.” The hotel also reportedly had influential guests such as as J.P. Morgan, Henry duPont, Henry Plant, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone.
While there’s a few options for restaurants and bars in the area, it’s also a pleasure to just drive around the community, see the beautiful homes, and discover what charm the town has to offer.