Cabbage Key from Boca Grande Topo Map

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This one- or two-day round trip begins at Boca Grande and crosses Boca Grande Pass to Cayo Costa, an island. Here the shore is of the finest sparkling sand, extending in shallow bars and fine spits causing refracting waves that send interacting dancing patterns of shadows across the seabed. This is undeveloped coast, where you see dolphins and diving birds but few people. Tiny brown waders cling to the breeze and run along the shore. Here you’ll see terns, black skimmers, and pelicans. It’s easy to paddle along at a distance from the shore, but it pays to stay close. Clear sapphire water edges the sand where the backwash fingers iridescent shells. A portage crosses the sand to a pool on the other side of Cayo Costa, where the water is as green as the reflected mangroves. The pool appears complete, but a mangrove tunnel, affectionately known in the area as the tunnel of love, reveals a way through to open water to the east. Then there’s a hook of mangrove to paddle around before you’ll see Cabbage Key less than a mile away. Either spend the night on Cabbage Key or return directly along the east side of Cayo Costa, exploring the man-groves. Complete your circuit with a second crossing of Boca Grande Pass.
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Placida, Florida

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