Gasparilla Sound

The southern tip of Gasparilla Island and the entrance to the Charlotte Harbor.

A sound is a wide channel linking two large bodies of water or separating an island from the mainland.

Gasparilla Sound is east of Gasparilla Island, where the community of Boca Grande is located, and connects to the Charlotte Harbor. Salt marshes, mangrove swamps and salt flats spread along its shores. It receives freshwater runoff through a variety of sources such as Buck, Coral and Whiden creeks and the Catfish Creek Bayou.

The Gasparilla Island Lighthouse on Boca Grande Beach was built in 1890 to help with the transport of phosphate from the Peace River region to ocean-going ships.

Gasparilla Island’s first inhabitants were the Calusa Indians. Like the Native Americans before them, the early settlers came to the area for fishing, and by the late 1870s, several fish ranches existed in the area.

Redfish are a popular inshore sportfish in the region’s waters.

Today, sportfishing is a popular activity among residents and tourists. The area has a reputation for providing the finest shallow-water, or inshore, fishing, and many efforts have been made to protect and preserve this fishing area for future generations.

Gasparilla Island also is a wildlife sanctuary. Here you may observe many sea and shore birds, including the white pelican. Unlike brown pelicans, white pelicans spend only part of the year in Florida.

Reed grasses on a Gasparilla Island beach.

Shelling is also a popular activity and local laws have been passed regarding the taking of shells. Seashells provide homes to mollusks, which are soft-bodied invertebrates.

Want to explore the Southern Coastal watershed?

Learn more about public recreational opportunities next