Celebrate Cayo Costa Heritage Day November 5

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BY SUE ERWIN – Explorers of secluded land are invited to come and celebrate Cayo Costa Day from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5.

This annual event is held on the northern end of Cayo Costa Island and is intended to spread awareness about the beauty of our barrier islands.

The Friends of Cayo Costa steering committee member Melanie Holaway said activities will include palm weaving, nature crafts and a guided beach/trail walk.

“We will also have a local singer/ songwriter performing during lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Her name is Sheena Brook and she’s from Fort Myers,” Holaway said.

The Friends of Cayo Costa will be selling memberships, T-shirts and water, as well as providing information about the group’s initiatives. Among them are the adopt-a-nest program, fundraising for park projects such as a volunteer station and the upcoming “Evening For The Island” at the Tarpon Lodge on February 2, 2017, which in part helps raise funds for a future Heritage and Education Center on the Island.

The meaning of Cayo Costa is “Key by the Coast,” or barrier island. This beautiful island is isolated from the mainland, reachable only by boat.

With no road access, Cayo Costa’s greatest gift is its seclusion. It was once inhabited by the Native American Calusa Indians, and two archaeological sites remain visible. Park tour guides can lead visitors to them and share historical facts about them.

Experience a fun island day and explore all the beauty this state park has to offer. The 2,400-acre nature preserve fronted by nine spectacular miles of beaches is the perfect place to enjoy swimming, shelling, fishing, hiking and fossil hunting.

Reservations are required, as space is limited. The cost is $35 per adult and $25 per child. For departures from Boca Grande or Captiva Island, call (239) 472-5300. To depart from Pine Island, call (239) 283-0015.

To depart from Punta Gorda, call (941) 639-0969. The cost includes a round-trip cruise ticket, hot dog lunch, drinks and activities.

Visitors to the park can even choose to camp out for a night or two. Primitive cabins and tent sites are available for reservation for overnight stays. Each site has a picnic table, a ground grill and access to potable water. There are no sites with electricity. Restroom facilities are located nearby and have cold showers and flush toilets.

For more information, visit friendsofcayocosta.org.