Gasparilla Island gets its name from the legendary pirate captain José Gaspar who purportedly hid his fabulous treasure somewhere on its shores. It is situated off the coast of Southwest Florida, at the inlet to Charlotte Harbor and has a long history as a fishing community inhabited first by the native Calusa Indians and later by Spanish settlers. In more recent years it was one of the busiest shipping ports in Florida due to the discovery of phosphate rock on the banks of the near-by Peace River. This discovery transformed the once sparsely inhabited island into a imajor deep-water port, bringing the railroad along with it.
Today Gasparilla Island and the village of Boca Grande are a major vacation destination and sport fishing mecca. With the village of Boca Grande situated at the center of the island and Gasparilla State Park on the southern tip, the island offers a unique setting with visible traces of its fabled past.