Cayo Costa, A Remote Island Get Away

Cayo Costa is a state park near Sanibel Island

Just two islands north of Captiva in the chain of barrier islands that includes Sanibel is Cayo Costa. This undeveloped stretch of sand, scrub and woods accessable only by boat. The entire island of Cayo Costa is a State Park that includes 9 miles of stunning beaches and over 2500 acres of wilderness. You can camp, hike, bike the trails, fish or just hang out at the beach as many boaters do.
Cayo Costa Beach

Pristine beach on Cayo Costa

I have fond memories of camping on Cayo Costa as a child. Exploring the remote beach, I collected all manner of seashore life in my bucket while wading on shallow sandbars. I ventured alone down wooded trails and was scared breathless disturbing a huge flock of roosting shore birds as they suddenly launched into the sky with a great cacophony of honks. The night sky was alive with brilliant twinkling stars and the Milky Way painted from horizon to horizon.

Cayo Costa - Fishing at Sunset

Fishing at Sunset off Cayo Costa beach

I recently had a chance to revisit Cayo Costa with my son, when a friend invited us to join them for an overnight get-away. I was pleased to find the beaches, trails, birds and stars virtually unchanged from my memory.

Cayo Costa Ibises

Feeding Ibises on Cayo Costa shoreline

From the Sanibel Marina, it was a pleasant hour cruising along the bay side of our barrier islands Sanibel, Captiva, Upper Captiva, then arriving at Cayo Costa. After securing our boat, a ranger driven tram shuttled us and our gear from the bay side docks directly to our primitive cabin we reserved for the night.

Ready for the beach

Ready for the beach

The kids immediately ran for the beach. The undeveloped shoreline stretched in both directions as far as you could see. Aside from a few fellow campers, I imagine this was the scene Ponce de Leon encountered upon arriving to these same shores 500 years ago.

Cayo Costa Beach

Plenty of solitude on Cayo Costa

The kids enjoyed the freedom of the place, playing on the beach, hunting ghost crabs in the dark, and eating s’mores next to the campfire. Unfortunately, our time on the island was brief, so we will have plenty to explore on our next visit.

Sanibel Sunset

Sunset off Sanibel as we neared home

On the way home, we motored down the gulf side of the islands, enjoying perfect weather and experiencing a spectacular sunset.
Sanibel East end canals

Approaching home port on Sanibel's East end

We ended our cruise circling around Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach then back to home port at our friend’s East end canal home.

Cayo Costa – Additional Photos

Sanibel Marina

Passing the Sanibel Marina

Cayo Costa Trip

On our way to Cayo Costa

Cayo Costa beach

9 miles of unspoiled beaches line Cayo Costa

Bunking down in one of Cayo Costa's primitive cabins

Cayo Costa Ibises

Would you like to dance?

North Captiva

Passing northern tip of Upper Captiva

Captiva Beachfront The modern home is for sale!

Captiva beachfront homes

Jim McCallion About Jim McCallion

Meet the "Marketing Megaphone" and Webmaster behind McCallion & McCallion. After selling his software company, Jim, Susan and kids moved to Sanibel in 2008. With his tech experience, he and Susan bring a fresh approach to island real estate.