Hi there!

 

Cayo Costa State Park has some of the best beaches for shelling in Florida.

This Florida state park is on an island located in Southwest Florida along the Gulf coast.

Cayo Costa State Park is kind of near Fort Myers.

You can go to Cayo Costa State Park on your way from Tampa to Marco Island if you want to make it a Southwest Florida beach hopping kind of trip where you can stop by a few shelling beaches!

 

 

Although, Cayo Costa State Park is not exactly a quick and easy stop to make!

 

Cayo Costa shells

Yes, Cayo Costa State Park is good for shells!

There is shelling at Cayo Costa State Park, so you can also make your time in Cayo Costa State Park all about shelling.

You can find so many seashells on the shores of Cayo Costa State Park.

You can go to any area of beach in Cayo Costa State Park and start looking for shells along the shore!

Where you will end up looking for shells at Cayo Costa State Park will mostly depend on where you are dropped off, though!

Yes, you will be dropped off, because the way to get to Cayo Costa is by BOAT!

 

Best Cayo Costa State Park shelling: cayo costa shells. best cayo costa beaches for shelling. cayo costa seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Best Cayo Costa State Park shelling: cayo costa shells. best cayo costa beaches for shelling. cayo costa seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Best Cayo Costa State Park shelling: cayo costa shells. best cayo costa beaches for shelling. cayo costa seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog
👆 Cayo Costa State Park beaches are some of the best shelling beaches in Florida.

 

👆 If you can’t see the video above, then you can watch the Cayo Costa State Park shelling video on youtube.

 

Cayo Costa State Park shelling boat tour. cayo costa state park ferry. day trip to cayo costa shelling. southwest florida travel blog.
👆 You need to take a boat to go shelling at Cayo Costa State Park!

 

👆 If you can’t see the video above, then you can watch the Cayo Costa State Park video on youtube.

 

Where you will end up, the Cayo Costa shoreline is mostly just one long beach.

There aren’t really any specific beach names.

Basically you can make it one long beach walk on the island of Cayo Costa!

 

Best Cayo Costa State Park shelling beaches. gulf coast florida travel blog

Best Cayo Costa State Park shelling beaches. gulf coast florida travel blog

Best Cayo Costa State Park shelling beaches. gulf coast florida travel blog

Best Cayo Costa State Park shelling beaches. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

 

Florida gulf coast shells: Cayo Costa shell identification guide

You have a chance to find lots of different types of shells at Cayo Costa State Park!

 

Cayo Costa shells: cayo costa shell identification guide for florida gulf coast, florida state parks. what shells can you find on cayo costa state park beaches? southwest florida travel blog
👆 You have a chance to find lots of different types of shells along the gulf coast of Florida at Cayo Costa State Park. This is a Florida gulf coast shell identification guide that was posted at another Florida state park gulf coast island a couple hours north of Cayo Costa State Park, Honeymoon Island State Park.

 

According to the Florida Park Service, live shelling is not allowed in Cayo Costa State Park. This means that you can’t take home anything you find that is alive. Otherwise, you can take home shells you find at Cayo Costa State Park.

 

 

Cost to go shelling at Cayo Costa State Park

Well, it’s not free to go shelling at Cayo Costa State Park!

That’s because the way to get to Cayo Costa State Park is by BOAT!

So the cost to go shelling at Cayo Costa State Park is the cost of the Cayo Costa ferry.

There are a couple of different ferry companies, but the cost of the Cayo Costa ferry might be around $40-50 per ticket for adults, with kids possibly around $25 per ticket. There may also be a parking fee to leave your car behind for the day for $5-10.

So, it’s not exactly cheap to go shelling in Cayo Costa State Park!

But you will get a glimpse of the “real Florida” as the people of Florida state parks like to say!

Basically the whole island is the state park, and there’s not much on it, except… mostly nature!

If you arrive at the main Cayo Costa “port” then you will also see a state park payment post, called the honor box.

The cost of the Cayo Costa State Park entry is $2 per person, exact change only. So bring dollar bills! See current fees.

If you plan to make this a year of going to a ton of Florida state parks, then there is also the Florida state parks annual pass.

 

 

More for your Southwest Florida road trip and beyond

 

See below for pictures of shelling at Cayo Costa State Park!

 

 

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More photos/info below, but first...
Side note!
Here's some info on Florida trip prep!


I have a lot of 30-90 second Florida outdoor travel videos. A few of them might be on this page. If you can't see the video directly below, it might be because you have an ad blocker. Save the Southwest Florida video playlist to watch on youtube later!



Southwest Florida is where Hurricane Ian made landfall in September 2022 which resulted in historic destruction. If you are looking to help but not sure how, consider donating to the Florida State Parks Foundation: DONATE HERE. One of the notable Florida state parks in Southwest Florida is Cayo Costa State Park. Cayo Costa is mentioned as the first spot that the hurricane made landfall.

Are Florida state parks open after the hurricane? Check the Florida Park Service website for current closures. (There are many state parks that are closed.)

Are Florida national parks open after the hurricane? As of December 2022, the Miami side of Everglades National Park is open, while the Gulf side is closed. For current updates, see: What is closed in Everglades National Park?

Is Sanibel Island open after the hurricane? Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island were among the hardest hit by the hurricane. The Sanibel Island bridge that links the mainland to Sanibel Island and Captiva Island was destroyed during the hurricane. As of December 2022, Sanibel Island is not yet open to visitors. For current updates, see: What's open in the Fort Myers area? (scroll down to Sanibel Island)

 

 

Cayo Costa shells along the beach

Best Cayo Costa State Park shelling. Best beaches in Cayo Costa island for shelling. Best gulf coast Florida beaches for shelling. Cayo Costa shells. southwest florida travel blog.

 

Now, I wasn’t looking very hard for shells so you can keep that in mind.

And even in not looking very hard, I came across some mounds of shells along the shoreline!

 

cayo costa state park shelling beach. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shells. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shells. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shells. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shells. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shells. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shells. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shells. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shells. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

 

It’s also a thing to wade into shallow water to see if you can find some more shells! (This is why water shoes can be a good idea to put on your list of what to bring shelling!

I was staying in a Cayo Costa State Park cabin (it’s a rustic camping cabin!) so my walk to the beach where I saw shells was the beach closest to my cabin.

There is also the Cayo Costa State Park campground, so you can go tent camping too.

Whether you go tent camping or cabin camping, it is basically bring your own everything!

 

Cayo Costa State Park shelling trip. cayo costa state park camping. overnight trip for cayo costa shelling. southwest florida travel blog.

Cayo Costa State Park shelling trip. cayo costa state park camping. overnight trip for cayo costa shelling. southwest florida travel blog.
👆 You can make it an overnight shelling trip at Cayo Costa State Park! There is a tram that can take you from the ferry dock to the campground and cabins.

 

Cayo Costa State Park shelling trip. cayo costa state park cabin. overnight trip for cayo costa shelling. southwest florida travel blog.

Cayo Costa State Park shelling trip. cayo costa state park cabin. overnight trip for cayo costa shelling. southwest florida travel blog.
👆 You can make it a multi-day Cayo Costa shelling trip by staying in a rustic camping cabin at Cayo Costa State Park! You will be just a few minutes walk away from the beach! September 2022: Did the Cayo Costa State Park cabins survive Hurricane Ian?!

 

Cayo Costa State Park shelling trip. cayo costa state park camping, tent camping. overnight trip for cayo costa shelling. southwest florida travel blog.
👆 You can make it a multi-day Cayo Costa shelling trip by tent camping at Cayo Costa State Park! You will be just a few minutes walk away from the beach! September 2022: Did the Cayo Costa State Park campground survive Hurricane Ian?! Hurricanes have destroyed many state park campgrounds in Florida, and sometimes it take months… even years… to open back up! For example, a Bahia Honda State Park campground, the St Andrews State Park campground, the Florida Caverns State Park campground, and the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park campground. There was a Bahia Honda State Park beach that was destroyed by a hurricane and took 4 years to open up again!

 

Stay overnight and you can search for shells as you watch the sunset!

 

cayo costa state park shells. cayo costa state park beach sunset. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shells. cayo costa state park beach sunset. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shells. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shells. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shelling sunset. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shelling sunset. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

cayo costa state park shelling sunset. florida gulf coast shells. southwest florida travel blog

 

For both tent camping and cabins, you make reservations through the official Florida state parks camping reservation website.

 

 

Shelling near the Cayo Costa State Park day use area

There is the main “day use area” (if you call it that) of Cayo Costa State Park near the campground and cabins, and this is all on the northern part of the island.

If you arrive by ferry at the main Cayo Costa State Park “entry” area, then there may be a tram that will take you to this day use area, which is basically the tent camping area.

There is a bathroom near where the tram drops you off for the beach, which is the same bathroom that is used by tent campers and cabin campers.

The way to get to the beach may vary based on which ferry you take and when, so it’s best to confirm that based on the ferry you’re taking.

 

Cayo Costa shelling day trip by ferry

Cayo Costa State Park shelling boat tour. cayo costa state park ferry. day trip to cayo costa shelling. southwest florida travel blog.

 

The ferry companies called Tropic Star Cruises and Captiva Cruises that will take you to Cayo Costa State Park for your shelling day trip.

There might be other boats that go to Cayo Costa State Park, but these seem to be the main ones.

Which ferry you want to choose may also depend on where you want to leave from. There are different points of departure.

I went to Cayo Costa State Park on a Tropic Star ferry because when booking a cabin, the Florida state parks camping reservation website mentioned contacting them. So that’s what I did. The ferry departed from Pine Island.

It was a pretty small departure spot and pretty low key. Everything went well.

Once you get to Cayo Costa, there are tram timings, and they don’t always match up with the ferry arrivals.

If you are arriving to go camping, then your ferry timing will likely be chosen for you, and you will be able to get a tram!

If your ferry arrival time doesn’t match up with the tram timings, then you’ll walk to the beach. Maybe it is a 15 to 20 minute walk. Get on the ferry with the campers and you shouldn’t have a problem!

There might be boats that go to a different part of Cayo Costa island.

This is something that can be confirmed with the ferry company of your choosing.

 

And that’s a bit about Cayo Costa State Park shelling!

My Cayo Costa State Park trip that included finding shells was in April 2022. Your experience may vary!

 

More for your Florida road trip:

 

HAPPY SHELLING AT CAYO COSTA STATE PARK!

 

 

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florida keys map. florida keys snorkeling map. florida keys campground map.

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Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
You can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!
Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!
Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're swimming.

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