Chokoloskee, Florida, an island located on the western coast of the southern state, is becoming more well-known for a variety of reasons. The island’s quaint and cozy atmosphere attracts visitors looking for a quiet, laid-back getaway, and its shores of abundant sea life allure enthusiasts who want to get their hooks into an assortment of fish.
Its so-called 10,000 Islands begs visitors to explore their habitats, and the island’s nearly 1,500-year history proves fascinating for those wanting to take a step back in time. These, however, are only a handful of the many specialties that make Chokoloskee Island an entirely unique travel destination with fun for the whole family.
9 Fascinating Facts About Chokoloskee, Florida
1. A Fisherman’s Paradise
Avid fishermen come here from all over the world to find an array of local fish to catch no matter the time of year. Some fishermen have boasted catching a multitude, even in one day, including anything from trout to red drum, pompano to mackerel, seatrout to snapper, kingfish to redfish, and tarpon to snook.
Launch your own boat or rent from one of the marinas and explore the islands and rivers for your own private fishing spot. Or, indulge yourself by boarding a charter boat and discover some great tips on hooking that perfect catch. You’ll also find plenty of places to store your boat and trailer as well as fishing stores that provide for all your fishing needs, including lines, rods, hooks, spears, nets, gaffs, traps, tackle boxes, and much more.
2. An Amazing History
The island’s history dates back about 1,500 years to when the Calusa Native American tribes first inhabited the small island, giving it its name, which means, “Old Home.” Modern settlement didn’t happen until 1874, when a man named John Weeks and his family moved to the island. By 1897, five families lived on Chokoloskee Island.
The diet back then, not much unlike today, was, of course, the wide variety of seafood. The mounds of land you’ll notice throughout the island were created by the Calusa Indians, who piled up shells from their meals. These mounds make up the highest points on the island at about 20 feet.
3. Small, Medium, or Large? Try Extra, Extra Small
With a population of just 340 people (according to a 2019 census), this 137-acre, 10-mile long island connects to Everglades City on the mainland by a causeway built in 1956. Before then, inhabitants could only come and go by boat, so the island rarely saw much activity. Even with a modern transportation system, you won’t run into much civilization to and from the island.
4. Once a Locally-Owned Store: Now a Museum
5. Intense, Awe-Inspiring Sunsets
6. Easy Living in a Remote Location
7. Just a Day’s Drive to Several Popular Florida Destinations
Do you want to take a break from all of that fishing? Perhaps you want to explore what else the surrounding areas have to offer. You won’t have to drive very far to find a variety of things to do at destinations nearby. These include, but are definitely not limited to, Pensacola, Gainesville, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and the Florida Keys.
8. Abundant Wildlife
Chokoloskee offers several Everglades guided boat tours, venturing all around the island and beyond for sights of manatees, dolphins, alligators, and dozens of bird species. If you have your own water transportation, exploring on your own will prove to be a fun excursion.
Venture around the Everglades National Park, also known as the 10,000 Islands, which, despite the name, actually numbers in the hundreds (you still won’t be able to visit them all!) The 35,000-acre refuge is home to thousands of mangrove habitats and several endangered species, such as sea turtles and manatees. It also serves as a destination for nearly 190 species of birds throughout the year.
9. The Best Seafood Restaurants in the State
The one restaurant on the island, Havana Cafe of the Everglades, is family-owned and serves homestyle Cuban specialties. Here you’ll enjoy fresh, local seafood unique to the area while dining in a beautiful garden setting. If you feel like venturing a bit further, hop on the bridge toward Everglades City to enjoy more ocean delicacies or just about any cuisine you have an interest in.
If you’re thinking about visiting our little piece of paradise in the best fishing destination in all of Florida, and, according to our visitors, maybe in all of the world, you’ve come to the right place. Chokoloskee Island Park and Marina offers full RV hook-ups, lots for sale, and rental units from one bedroom to housing accommodating up to 10 people, as well as boat and kayak rentals and storage and fishing packages. Visit Chokoloskee Island today and book your reservation for a great vacation!