Anclote Island: An Enchanting Destination
Situated near Florida’s west coast lies Anclote Island. This captivating area is only accessible by boat and is filled with breathtaking wonders. Read on to learn of all the marvels Anclote Island promises to offer.
A Historic Lighthouse
Spanning over 400 acres, the island is home to a few highlights. One of the most notable is the Anclote Key Lighthouse. This structure was built in 1887 and is known for its unique skeletal exterior attached to a vibrant black lantern. It was modeled after the Cape San Blas Lighthouse in Port St. Joe, which helped guide ships traveling from the Dry Tortugas to New Orleans.
The lighthouse was in operation until 1984 and has since been restored. Occasionally, tours are available of its interior. A local tour guide will take guests up its winding staircase where they’ll get panoramic views of the coast and learn more about the structure’s intriguing history.
The Alluring Anclote River
Surrounding the island is the Anclote River. The waterway, which is bordered by thick mangroves and sawgrass marshes, spans over 29 miles long and flows toward the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a popular spot for divers and fishers thanks to its bounty of sponges and shrimp. It’s also a favorite place for locals to go boating, or take a boat tour out of Tarpon Springs.
During the 1500s, Spaniards directed their ships down the river and discovered what they called the “Spanish Well” - a dazzling spring located at the edge of it. Many believe pirates also visited the river and dumped treasure into its water. Numerous legends claim thousands of pounds of gold and jewels are hidden throughout it.
The further out you go into the Anclote River, the more likely you’ll come into contact with shipwrecks and abandoned vessels. These range from a World War II airplane to a 1907 cargo ship.
An Abundance of Wildlife
Anclote Island is also filled with a variety of wildlife, most of which are extremely rare and can be found nowhere else in the world. Besides the hundreds of loggerhead and sea turtles that roam the shoreline, visitors will also find over 43 different bird species nesting in its bird sanctuary. Some might catch a glimpse of ospreys, cranes, piping plovers, oystercatchers, eagles, and black skimmers.
While beachcombing, you might see dolphins playing out at sea. You’ll also find a vast amount of shells and sponges washed up to shore you can collect. If you go snorkeling, you’re sure to find redfish and sheepshead weaving through the gulf’s thick seagrass. During the nighttime, hikers will find the island’s small streams eerily glowing due to phosphorescent algae.
Anclote Island might only be accessible by boat, but that doesn’t stop visitors year-round from taking a trip to experience its unique charm. Dolphin adventures, nature cruises, sunset cruises, and island sightseeing are all available tours that Odyssey Cruises offer. From its historic structures to impressive wildlife, Anclote Island has a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. Tag along on an Odyssey Cruise to marvel at the beauty that is the Anclote Island. For more information, please visit https://odysseycruises.net