I shouldn't even tell you about Palm Island, Florida. It's one of the few islands left on the lower Gulf Coast where you can really get some quiet time and ignore the rest of the world.
For me, the most beautiful thing about the island is that there are very few cars here, and very few roads. There is no bridge to the island. You have to take a ferry to the island, which runs 7 days a week from 6:30 am to 10pm (11pm on Friday and Saturday). For about $55 cars can ride the ferry (Palm Island Transit), but only people who are living or vacationing on Palm Island actually take their cars. You see, there are no parking lots or stores or other businesses on the island, so if you don't have a driveway, there is no place to put a car. Visitors to the island either walk, ride a bike, or use a golf cart. Note: Palm Island Transit runs a water taxi between Leverocks Restaurant and the Palm Island resort so the public can eat at their restaurants, however beach equipment (chairs, umbrellas, coolers, etc) is not allowed on the water taxi and Palm Island Transit wants you to understand that Palm Island Resort beaches are private and for resort guests only.
There are several resorts on Palm Island, the most well known is Palm Island Resort which pretty much takes up the whole north end of the island.
Thinking of buying or building a home on these islands? Because there is no road or bridge to the islands, all construction materials have to be brought over on the ferry. Building costs average around $240 to $340 per square foot. The lots aren't cheap either, even after the real estate crash of 2007/2008. But how can you put a price on paradise?
Palm Island is located about 9 miles south of Englewood, Florida, off the coast from Cape Haze.
Palm Island is actually not an accurate name for this archipelago (group of islands). It is made up of 4 interconnected islands as follows:
Thornton Key - an uninhabited mangrove island preserve with no beach.
Knight Island - home of the Palm Island Resort. It takes the name Palm Island. Because the Palm Island Resort is relatively well known, the publicity it gets overshadows the rest of the islands and the whole bunch of them just seem to fall under the catch-all name of "Palm Island." But it is technically and descriptively inaccurate. Note: Don't confuse this Palm Island Resort with "Little Palm Island Resort" on Little Torch Key down in the Florida Keys. They are two entirely different places.
Don Pedro Island - adjacent to and south of Knight Island. Private homes and vacation rentals. No stores, no restaurants. No high-rises or big resorts. No hotels. Includes Don Pedro Island State Park. You can drive or walk from Palm Island to Don Pedro Island.
Little Gasparilla Island - south of Don Pedro Island. This island is accessible only by boat. You cannot reach it from Palm Island or Don Pedro. Even though there is a physical sand road, it crosses private property that denies access to anyone but residents with a gate key. You can visit the island if you have a kayak or boat by pulling up to the beach anywhere you like. The south end of the island is popular with weekend boaters. No stores, restaurants, hotels or high-rises. No paved roads. No cars.
Grande Tours provides a passenger ferry to Don Pedro Island State Park. For $150 (price subject to change) they will ferry up to 6 people to the island and back by reservations only. Beginning in 2006 they tried to run a daily ferry but there just wasn't enough business to keep it running so it was discontinued, but you never know when someone will come along and try again! In addition to the ferry, Grande Tours presents Eco-Tours, Kayaking, Fishing, Cruising Boca Grande, Florida and Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve, and offers wilderness camping. Be sure to call before you come, as their schedule is subject to change. 941-697-8825.