Mornings With Gina Birch

Weekdays 6am - 10am

Southwest Florida is full of scenic towns and beaches. They get recognized from publications and people around the world. This one is pretty special. Boca Grande voted America’s Best Small Beach Town by Travel + Leisure Magazine. If you haven’t been to Boca Grande, you can see it from Pine Island on a clear day. It’s an easy boat ride from Bokeelia, even Sanibel and Captiva. Driving there is a bit circuitous from other  Southwest Florida cities.

Boca Grande is on Gasparilla Island which lies partly in Lee County, partly in Charlotte County. The town is in Lee County. If you are driving, your access is through Port Charlotte. See how it gets a little tricky? Anglers know this area well. It is renowned for tarpon fishing. People come from all over the world to try their hand at catching this challenging fish.

Find out why Travel +Leisure Magazine loves our little piece of paradise so much by reading their full story here. In the meantime, I’ll share a few photos from a recent stay at the historic Gaparilla Island Inn. It dates back to the 1900’s and inspired the development of the town. They are known for impeccable service and an almost always sold out, Food and Wine Weekend. I took these photos at the annual event which usually occurs in January.

Congrats to Boca Grande voted America’s Best Small Beach Town.



List Of Best Secret Beaches In America Includes Two In Southwest Florida

List Of Best Secret Beaches In America Includes Two In Southwest Florida

When it comes to escaping the monotony of daily life, few things rival the tranquil allure of a pristine beach. Living here in Southwest Florida, we have so many amazing beaches from Fort Myers, Sanibel, Captiva, Naples and Bonita Springs. You can’t beat the soothing sounds the of waves, the feeling of the warm sun on your skin, and the salt in the air. If someone asked the best beach to go to, I’m sure popular tourist destinations first come to mind, but the real gems are the beaches are a little more hidden away.

While busy beaches will offer more when it comes to tiki bars, restaurants and surf shops, some prefer a little more quiet. With these secret beaches, parking may be limited. It may be more of a trek out to the beach. Or even a little more of a drive to get there. If you’re looking for tranquility, it’s so worth it.

Family Destinations Guide just released its list of the Top 100 Best Secret Beaches in the U.S. and two Southwest Florida beaches made an appearance. Coming in at #6 is Lover’s Key State Park on Fort Myers Beach. Landing in the #56 spot, Cayo Costa, which is only accessible by boat. While both beaches are amazing, the only bad part right now, is that both are still closed following Hurricane Ian. No word yet on when either will reopen, but hopefully it won’t be too much longer.

Where Other Secret Florida Beaches Ranked:

  • #2 Shell Key Preserve

    Shell Key is a 1,800-acre preserve in Tierra Verde only accessible by boat. The water looks absolutely beautiful and clear, perfect for a clear kayak tour.

  • #9 Dry Tortugas National Park

    Dry Tortugas National Park is about 70 miles west of Key West and only accessible by boat or seaplane. The park is known as the home of Fort Jefferson. You’ll also find beautiful blue waters, coral reefs and an abundance of marine life.

  • #10 Boneyard Beach

    Boneyard Beach is a hidden beach inside Big Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville. If you’re a fan of driftwood, you’ll find plenty along 3 miles of shoreline.

  • #13 Navarre Beach

    Located in the panhandle, Navarre Beach is known as Florida’s most relaxing place. Offering a calm setting, uncrowded shores, soft sands and emerald waves.

  • #17 Crescent Beach

    Crescent Beach is just south of St. Augustine. The beach gets its name from the natural shape on the coastline. The community is small with not much commercial development and there’s minimal vehicle access.

  • #23 Caladesi Island

    The only way to get to Caladesi Island is by boat and they do offer a ferry out to the island. It’s a perfect alternative to the busy nearby Clearwater Beach.


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  • #64 Camp Helen State Park

    Camp Helen State Park is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and by Lake Powell. It’s the largest coastal dune lake in the state of Florida. The park is only open during the day, but perfect for swimming, shelling, hiking and fishing.


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