Monday, December 26, 2011

Beach hopping - Siesta Key to Punta Gorda

Three days since a post! Three days! 

Well - we have been at the beach - a little bit of village stuff but mostly just hanging around in the sand and water. This is a tough post - lots of pictures to sift through and lots to talk about. 

I will just stick to the basics I guess.

We spent Saturday - Christmas Eve day along Siesta Key - just south of Sarasota down to Venice. We passed by the Siesta Key Beach parking lot because it was a bit small and opted instead for Turtle Beach. We were there early and so had a good spot to park. 

Before that, we spent the first part of the morning in Siesta Key Village in desperate need of some beach gear. We found it at one of those big beach shops with tons of stuff - you know the kind!

We did well though with our mats and umbrella - we of course needed some more sun tan lotion - Derek HAD to have a new cap - but why get one when you can get 2 for $10! Postcards were a must as was Cassia's Florida snow globe! WoW! 

Note to selves - stay out of the tourist shops! 

After a quick stop for coffee at Lelu and we were on our way.

A very beautiful Hibiscus outside the coffee shop.

Later in the afternoon we headed south again deciding to check out Caspersen beach where we were thinking of spending Christmas Day. We got there just before sunset and so took a stroll knowing that Walmart wasn't far.

We decided to stay for the sunset. It was well worth it! Right?

Cassia enjoying the sunset also.

A mermaid crafted by two young girls.

We spent Sunday - Christmas Day at Caspersen Beach just a short drive from our overnight stay at the Walmart in Venice. We were there bright and early to claim our spot in the relatively small parking lot. Nice because we could do the beach but come back for meals and sleep time - we stayed until after sunset.

Caspersen is known for shark teeth. I was talking to a couple from Georgia who were quite successful at finding them but it looked like it was a full time job for them. Later in the day a lady gave one to Cassia - so we have our very own Caspersen shark tooth - which are black by the way - as is much of the sand when you look real close.

A RARE straight on photo - albeit a bit fuzzy.

Cassia likes to play and stand in abandoned holes.

Monday morning we bid our Venice Walmart good bye on our way south. We were able to steath camp here for two nights - it was nice and quiet closed for Christmas. To our surprise this morning as we were leaving we saw the 'NO OVERNIGHT RV PARKING' - we couldn't believe it! We hadn't seen the sign the previous two nights - phewwww. So probably don't add this Walmart to your list of places to overnight - we were obviously really lucky! 

We headed south on the 776 deciding on the way to go right to Boca Grande since it was still early. Boca Grande is also listed in my little touring book.

"Located on Gasparilla Island, Boca Grande is known for its charming authentic downtown, sugar white beaches, blue water and world class fishing. There are no gas stations in the village, so many local residents use golf carts as their main mode of transportation."

Well - Boca Grande was OK but to us they are a bit generous with their praise. First, it cost us $14 just to get on the island. Once on you drive the entire island - about 3 miles to get to the downtown. Authentic wouldn't be my choice of words - we drove around - but it didn't entice us enough to actually park and get out of the truck. We carried on towards the beach. By the end of the island we realized that we had no choice but to pay to park at a public beach - yes it is only $3 but the day was starting to add up.

The water is blue but we have seen far whiter beaches. 

To us Boca Grande wasn't worth the price - be forewarned! 

A hundred or more Pelicans out there.

Lots of boats going back and forth.

The Boca Grande Lighthouse.

By three or so we were done and headed to Punta Gorda our next destination. We had read about the Fisherman's Village and were hoping to purchase some seafood. Upon arriving we realized that it isn't the quaint little quay we have been looking for - instead a high priced marina. Instead we drove over to the Laishley Park Municipal Marina. After a stroll we decided to treat ourselves to a crab dinner at the Laishley Crab House - seemingly the most popular place around.

View of the marina and sunset from the restaurant on the second floor.

Local Blue Grab - they were yummy but a lot of work.....

for the crabber girl who shucked them all for us. Darn we missed her name. Thank goodness for her or we would have been there all night.

After dinner a second walk around the park.

So - that's it for me! Tonight we are attempting to stealth camp at the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce. We were going to head to the truck stop on the interstate but thought we would try this parking lot first. At least we will have a place to go if we get bounced from here.

Tomorrow we take on Ft. Myers, Ft. Myers Beach and Naples. We are planning on staying at the Collier Seminole State Park tomorrow night and then it is on to the Everglades!

Thanks for visiting!


Today's Interesting Link: Here is the link to the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford's Winter Estates in Fort Myers. I remember going to Edison's place back when we came to Ft. Myers Beach when I was Cassia's age. I doubt we'll stop in this time but take a look yourself.


  1. Thank you for the excellent tips on visiting these different spots.

    We are making notes, don't ya know !!

    Love the beach photos ... keep em coming !

    Ps - the title of this post is beach hoping, but I think you meant "hopping" LOL

    Take care ... Trent

  2. Thanks for the post title correction - grrrr - it was late last night and more importantly - I CAN'T SPELL! A pressure cooker with a very short battery! Our laptop is 5 yrs old and so we don't get a good charge. Glad you are enjoying the pics - thanks for being our true blue visitors and commenting!

  3. Some gorgeous sunsets down there!!

  4. Looks like you had a great Christmas on the beach(es). Your sunset picture is gorgeous. Have fun in the Everglades.

    Kevin and Ruth


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