My first long afternoon’s ride in 14 months took me to Gasparilla Island, the quaint and very thin key island west of the Cape Haze Peninsula, and the small seaside town of Boca Grande, a vacation spot for presidents.
The Cape Haze Peninsula encompasses the towns of Englewood, Rotonda West, Cape Haze, and Placida, and is surrounded by the body of water known as Gasparilla Sound. Gasparilla Island lies to its west, and its outer shore meets the Gulf of Mexico. Both the larger peninsula and Gasparilla Island have no southern exit, so tourists (and trouble) pass it by on the way to Naples or Miami. All the better for the riding here, as the traffic is local and summer is off-season. From my new digs in the Port Charlotte area, a ride to the southern end of Gasparilla Island and Boca Grande is a little under an hour from my front door.