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Cayo Costa State Park Guide

Cayo Costa State Park

Cayo Costa State Park, also known as the “key by the coast” is what Florida is all about.

A remote island with miles of serene beaches that hasn’t been overrun with condos is an ideal place to unwind and explore Florida’s natural beauty.

In this article, we will explore all the amenities of this park and what you can expect as a visitor.

About Cayo Costa State Park

When it comes to Cayo Costa State Park, you can expect the unexpected. The park is open from 8 am until sundown every single day of the year. This gives you plenty of time to roam and enjoy the space.

The cost of admission is only $2 per person. This makes it an affordable adventure as well. You can plan a camping trip there as well. It costs $22 per night plus the $6.70 reservation fee which is not refundable.

There is water to use at the restrooms for the campers. There are also primitive cabins if you like more of the glamping experience. These cost $40 per night. You will also have to pay the $6.70 reservation fee which is not refunded.

Those who own boats are in luck. It will cost $20 per night to take a vessel out. The pristine waters will make it well worth the trip out to the park.

What to Expect Before You Go

Before you head out, you should make a reservation regarding where you want to stay. Even if you are camping, a reservation will ensure that there is a spot for your tent. There are only 30 spots for tents and four of these sites have spots for hammocks.

You can also bring your bike out as there are trails along the beach. Even if you do not have a bike, you can rent one at the gift shop for a half or a full day, but make sure to bring a helmet.

If you have children that are under 16 years old, Florida law mandates that these cyclists wear a helmet.

You can expect that the bayside dock will allow you to park your boat overnight. There are restrooms that are beside the dock. You will need to reserve your boat’s parking, so make sure to plan ahead. If you arrive after 5 pm, you will need to call the ranger.     

How to Get to Cayo Costa State Park

This is a remote barrier island. As such, it is only accessible by a private boat or by passenger ferry. People need to call ahead of time to book the ferry. When you park at the ferry, be aware that there will be a fee as well.

What to Bring to the Park

What you bring to Cayo Costa State Park will depend upon what the activities that you plan to engage in are. If you have a boat you can sleep on, you are allowed to use that there. If you have a fishing license, you can also bring your fishing gear.

Those who plan to have a meal can bring along all of their picnic gear. You can also go scuba diving off of the beach. Snorkeling and swimming is also allowed, so people should bring their appropriate gear.

All in all, those who visit need to plan the day in advance based on the activities that are offered. A transportable backpack with the gear is recommended. There will be a place to shower off so bring a change of clothes too as appropriate.

What To Do

There is so much to do at these parks. Aside from water activities there is also an amphitheater. There are programs that are put on by the rangers and naturalists that will educate you on the island.

The Ranger’s Station will have snacks, cold drinks, and basic camping items on sale. You can even pick up souvenirs as mementos of the trip. You will always have enough to eat and drink.

One popular activity is shelling. The best time to shell is during low tide. Additionally, visitors will be able to view unique wildlife such as manatees, porpoises, and sea birds. 

Where to Stay

This is the type of place that you may want to stay at for a while. In this case, staying in a primitive cabin will afford you all the amenities. The cabins can house up to six people. They have three bunk beds and a table.

Those who stay should remember that there will be no electricity or running water. However, potable water and grills are available. The cabins are near the beach and falling asleep to the ocean sounds would be anyone’s dream.

Reserve a spot.

Best Time to Visit

There are many good times to visit the park, however, the best time to visit is during the dryer months.

This is best between November and April with February, March and April being our favorite times.

Spring in Florida has fewer cold fronts and the summer rains haven’t started yet so it’s not as hot and humid and water clarity is crystal clear due to lack of rain.

It is advisable though to call the ferry and ensure that it is running when you need it. The ferries may close down due to storms or other unsavory conditions.

The Takeaway

The pictures of this park are truly incredible. If you want to have a once in a lifetime experience, this is the place to have it. Florida can be the most beautiful destination that you’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for a magical experience, Cayo Costa State Park is the place to visit.

Those who love the tropics and dolphins will adore this place. The fact that it is such a low-cost experience is one of the draws. It can be a once in a lifetime opportunity viewing Cayo Costa State Park up close. Book your adventure in advance to get all the benefits out of your trip. 


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