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Travel Writing by Chelle

Query: Florida's Unplugged Islands
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Gilligan Fantasies

The car-free, carefree islands of Florida make you sit right back

It wasn't eggs we collected that Easter weekend our family pitched a tent on Cayo Costa and spent a warm, subtropical night at the island state park with no tether to mainland. That morning, after finding an Easter basket stashed in our tent (the chocolate eggs somewhat deformed from melting on the sunny boat ride up), we walked the few steps to the beach to find it strewn with sea urchin shells. A clever designer had decorated these fragile egg-like shells, and for our then-small son, Aaron, the thrill of collecting them far out-distanced the joy of candy.

Cayo Costa always holds surprises for families who come to spend the night in one of its barebones cabins or shady tent sites just off sifted-fine white sands. It is one in a streak of unbridged islands along Florida's coasts where families can live out their Gilligan fantasies, with no connection to mainland but a boat. The islands range from Cayo Costa's roughing-it style and Cabbage Key's  and Dog Island's rustic and affordable cottages to a destination family resort on Palm Island, a historic inn on Useppa Island, townhouses and rental homes on North Captiva Island, and exclusive resorts on Fisher Island and Little Palm Island.

This article would let families sample what Florida's unbridged islands have to offer: hiking, secluded beaches, incredible shelling, birds, kayaking, biking, nature programs, and more. For each island, I would give a short description, then list attributes under headings such as: Who Can Survive Here?, The Skipper's Advise (how to get there), The Gilligan Factor (how laid-back), The Howes Factor (costs), The Ginger Factor (glamour), The Professor Says (a word about the environment), etc. Images available.

Island Girl
 
As author of Florida Island Hopping: The West Coast, Chelle Koster Walton confesses her addiction and love for islands. She has lived on an island -- lovely Sanibel -- for most of her life and visits islands whenever she's given the least bit of encouragement. She has written extensively for Islands and Caribbean Travel & Life magazines, and co-authors Fodor's Bahamas Gold Guide. Need an island breeze to ruffle your publication's pages? Contact Chelle (if she's not on the beach).

Interested in a Florida island-hopping article? Email ChelleTrav@aol.com or call 239-472-3499.