There's nothing quite like spending a day in a tropical paradise surrounded by wildlife. Located in Florida, these small islands of Pine Island Sound are home to adorable wild gopher tortoises. You can visit Useppa Island and Cabbage Key this spring for major Galapagos Islands vibes. 

Useppa Island and Cabbage Key are located Gulfside, a couple of hours south of Tampa. These neighboring isles are known for their diverse plant and animal life, including cabbage palms, wild dolphins, and even turtles.

Gopher tortoises roam the islands, enjoying the unpaved landscape full of dense vegetation for snacking.

They burrow in the sand to create dens which are sometimes home to more than one turtle.  

Although both are privately owned, these islands are open to visitors by cruise or ferry. There are several companies that can take you there, including Island Girl Charters and Captiva Cruises.

Captiva Cruises offers a lunch Cruise to both Cabbage Key and Useppa Island. These cruises operate daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and reservations are required.

You can go for a day trip or stay overnight. 

There may actually be more turtles than people on Useppa Island in the summer and you could also spot cranes and osprey during your visit, thriving in the lush island environment. 

Aside from the turtles, these locations have several unique characteristics.

Cabbage Key has been around since the last ice age while Useppa Island has bizarre trees that look like they're melting in the heat.

If you're looking for a little adventure, explore Pine Island Sound this spring and see if you can spot the meandering tortoises yourself.

You can also check out Useppa Island and Cabbage Key's Instagram pages here and here.

Please remember to respect any wildlife you may see!

Cruises to Useppa Island and Cabbage Key

Price: $45 per cruise 

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily

Address: 11401 Andy Rosse Ln., Captiva, FL, and 5400 South Seas Plantation Rd., Captiva, FL

Why You Need To Go: Take a Lunch Cruise to these unusual islands and enjoy the wildlife viewing. Adorable tortoises thrive in the dense tropical landscape.


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.


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