Who has Spring Break plans? A couple years ago a friend invited us to join them on Spring Break in Boca Grande, FL with the kids. They had visited the year before and loved the little island. Oddly enough, I had heard lots about it years before from some college friends who always visited growing up with their families. It’s a small place and one that seemed to already have won the hearts of many people we knew – it was time to check it out for ourselves! After our trip, I can say with certainty I’d highly recommend Boca Grande and with kids.
We told our friends we were on board for a fun Florida week with them and got to work planning. Luckily for us, my friend that invited us is just about the most organized travel planner I know and helped us out with everything from where to fly into, best spot to stay and even a full Google doc before departure on how they get there, where they get groceries and where we should all eat, etc. So most of the information in this post is thanks to her and 100% the success of our first Boca Grande vacation. I couldn’t have done it without her and hopefully the information helps you plan too.
We usually love trying new spots for school breaks but loved Boca Grande so much that we planned to return this year… except the new baby will be less than a month old and too little to fly. My kids are all bummed we can’t return this year but we’ll head back in the near future. It really was one of our favorite family vacations ever and such a relaxing, enjoyable spot for kids.
Boca Grande with Kids
How to Get to Boca Grande, FL (and getting around)
It was easy to get to Boca Grande. We flew into Ft. Meyer’s airport. You can also fly into Tampa or Punta Gorda. Punta Gorda is the closest but we couldn’t find any good flights there from where we live. From Ft. Meyer’s Airport, we rented a car and drove to Boca Grande.
We stopped in Placida in a little shopping center at a Publix to stock up on groceries and beverages for the week. I would highly recommend this as there is only a small (rather expensive) market on the island and each time your cross the bridge to Boca Grande/Gasparilla there is a fee. Our friend gave us this tip and it was a huge help. So we had everything we needed for the week and continued our drive.
You’ll then go over the Gasprilla Island Bridge to enter Boca Grande. There is a $6 toll and it’s cash only. After that, you’ve arrived!
As far as getting around Boca Grande, you can drive, but I would highly recommend renting a golf cart. You can get everywhere by golf cart and there’s a great golf cart path you can take. We very rarely used our car the entire trip.
Where to Stay on Boca Grande
Based on our friend’s recommendation, we stayed in one of the Boca Grande North condos. It was a great location, very quiet and best part was that the pool area was perfect for hanging out as a group (or just a family). It was no crowded at all, had grills to use, etc. We found a great vacation rental in Boca Grande North on Vrbo. Here’s the link, the owners were awesome to work with, the place had everything you could possibly need (including an outdoor closest with beach gear, toys, fishing gear etc), and the condo was immaculate. There are rental agencies that can help you find a condo there too.
If you prefer a hotel to a vacation rental, check out Gasparilla Inn. We visited there for dinner and also walked around a bit. It’s a great location, absolutely beautiful and there are so many activities daily for kids (including a kids club). We would love to stay there some day.
VIDEO RECAP OF THE TRIP (via Isbell Family Films)
Places to Eat on Boca Grande with Kids
South Beach: This is a super fun spot for families. It’s right on the beach and is perfect for sunset viewing. You can hang out on the beach while you wait for a table. When we went, we actually fed the kids at home while we got ready and the 6 adults ate while the 9 kids played in the sand and ran around. Then we had them join for dessert.
Pink Elephant: The Pink Elephant is a must when visiting Boca Grande. It’s at the Gasparilla Inn. For this spot, we did a later reservation and just took the “big kids” which were all of our girls. So they loved getting dressed up to join the adults for dinner. We got a babysitter this night for the little ones. It was a nice treat for the parents and gave us a chance to really enjoy the food and atmosphere at The Pink Elephant.
Miller’s Dockside: This spot is at the marina so there are tons of awesome boats to walk around and see. My kids enjoyed the boats right up until their food arrived. Upstairs is Eagle Grill (which I believe is a little “fancier” but great views). Miller’s Dockside is downstairs and was perfect for dinner with kids. The food was fantastic!
Outlet At The Innlet: We had breakfast here on Easter Sunday after church. The food was great and it was a really fun, very casual spot on the water. You sat right on the dock and could watch boats go by. My kids loved this spot.
Inn Bakery: The Inn Bakery is also part of the Gasparilla Inn but located in town. It’s a spot you can just grab a coffee and donut or sit down to eat. We stopped in here to get coffee just about each day because it was so good.
Loose Caboose: With 2 train lovers in the house, getting to run along old train tracks to a spot called the Loose Caboose, was a pretty fun part of the trip. We got ice cream at the Loose Caboose one day and lunch another. The food is great and it’s a really fun spot to sit and eat or grab an ice cream to go.
The Pink Pony: More ice cream! My kids loved the Pink Pony for the ice cream and also the candy.
Hudson’s: Hudson’s Grocery is the local grocery store on Boca Grande. We’d stop in for a snack or drink off the beach or if we needed to grab anything for the house. It’s a spot you must visit so you can see my favorite: the old pink gas pump!
Things to Do on Boca Grande with Kids
We mostly enjoyed the pool and beach the entire week. Boca Grande has such a family friendly, relaxing vibe, that it’s easy to unwind and just enjoy the beautiful beaches. The kids also thought it was a blast to load up a golf cart with all our beach gear, lunch, etc and cruise down to the beach. The beaches also have so many fun things for the kids to collect from sand dollars to really pretty shells. We didn’t find a need to do much else.
We did enjoy taking a beach break some days to cruise into town to visit Hudson’s (everyone loves seeing the pink gas pump!) for a snack or the Loose Caboose or Pink Pony for ice cream. Here are a few other fun things to check out for kids on Boca Grande:
Boca Grande Kids Activities
- Go see the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse & Museum
- Gasparilla Island State Park
- Visit Banyon Street to see all of the trees. We did this one night right before sunset for some family photos
- Before you go check out the Friends of Boca Grande Community Center page. They have great activities listed (like there was an egg hunt when we went)
- Cayo Costa State Park
- Go on a fishing boat (there are lots of charters that go out daily)
- Kids activities daily at Gasparilla Inn (if you stay there)
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