Known for impeccable fishing statewide, Florida is an angler’s haven—but with so many beautiful places to explore, from the Key Largo flats to the bustling shores of Miami, how do you know where to start?
Here’s our pick: visit the hidden gem of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands! Located off the state’s southwest coast, this marine maze features islands big and small, scattered together in carefree fashion in a way that begs you to explore – so long as you have a map handy, that is!
Read on as we delve deeper into this charming Gulf Coast gem—as well as some of the best fishing opportunities that abound there.
Lay of the land
So, what are the Ten Thousand Islands all about?
The colorful cluster of islands sits off the southwest coast of Florida—and unlike many of the state’s famous lakes and ocean piers, which are delightfully accessible at a stone’s throw from wherever you may be standing, the Ten Thousand Islands are a little more remote. That’s what makes them so special, of course!
You can start from a familiar spot, such as the resort destination of Marco Island, before working your way down. Some of the islands are larger and have names (like Mormon Key or charming Chokoloskee), but many of the others are more aptly described as clusters of mangroves or small vegetation, barely big enough for their own load. Each island, big or small, of course, has an allure that’s all its own.
Paddling is popular here—it may be one of the better ways to explore the minute, meandering stretches of island coastline that turn into mazes—but it’s not the only way to go. To explore both inshore and offshore destinations (you’ll want to do both!), travel via your Robalo and simply pack a canoe or kayak to get even closer.
Catch of the day
If you’ve come for fishing—which we’re betting most Ten Thousand Islands trekkers do—there’s a wide array to try for. There’s snook, especially off Chokoloskee, as well as tarpon, redfish, tripletail and more.
Of course, the allure of Ten Thousand Islands doesn’t stop at its fish—a wealth of ocean oddities abound in the area, creating an experience that’s uniquely “Florida” in nature.
One such oddity? The futuristic-looking Cape Romano Dome House. Due to a lack of habitation and characteristic summer storms over the years since its construction in 1980, it no longer sits on the island of Cape Romano but in the water. Though bizarre and uninhabitable so far from land, the house can still be seen today!
Find your footing
When you’re in town, find your footing by visiting a local shop that knows all there is to know about Southwest Florida boating—Fish Tale Boats. Located in Fort Myers, this destination is worth visiting to get plugged in with Robalo news and the latest models, or simply to learn about local fishing opportunities.
Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands paint a picture you need to see to believe—so hop onto your Robalo, pack your tackle and visit real soon!