Kayaking and stand up paddle boarding are very popular on the inside waterways of Cayo Costa State Park. Numerous islands and the passages between them are teeming with wildlife. Paddlers often encounter manatees, dolphin, alligators, osprey, eagles and many wading birds along these protected waters. The park’s Citizen Support Organization (Barrier Island Park Society or BIPS) has kayaks and stand up paddleboards available to rent at the camp store to get you started on your adventure. Be sure to visit “Manatee Hole”, a small lagoon just south of the park’s dock where manatees can be found nearly every day of the year. The world-famous Cabbage Key restaurant is also within paddling distance of the park.
On this unique barrier island, visitors enjoy the nearly 6 miles of trails that wind their way through three distinct ecosystems. Take a leisurely walk or visit the camp store to rent bicycles to enjoy the peacefulness of the palm, pine and oak hammocks. History buffs enjoy walking the cemetery trail and reflecting upon early island life in the area.
The highlight of Cayo Costa is the 8+ miles of undeveloped, natural beaches. Even during the busiest season, it is not hard to find seclusion and some well-deserved peace and quiet. Many of our visitors come to Cayo Costa State Park just for the shelling along the Gulf beach. Cayo Costa and nearby Sanibel Island are world renowned for the shelling opportunities. Fishing is also very popular on the island and offers you a chance to hook into snook, redfish, pompano, tarpon and many other species of fish.