May 29, 2016 from 12 pm until 5 pm
Picnic Island, 7409 Picnic Island Blvd, Tampa, FL 33616 (about 120 miles from Tampa) San Carlos Bay, northeast of the Sanibel Causeway and about a mile or so south of St. James City on Pine Island. It is near the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River.
Picnic Island a little bit of paradise
Picnic Island, a destination that takes about 45 minutes from his dock to the island. The island has long been a destination for those who love wading, shelling, swimming, fishing, hiking, rustic tent-camping, and, of course, picnicking.
Those who don’t live on the water or have water access can still get to Picnic Island — thanks to the selection of public boat ramps in Lee County, such as the Punta Rassa Boat Ramp, The Matlacha Boat Ramp or the Pine Island Commercial Marina, open to public on weekends and county holidays with standard boat ramp fee or Lee County parking sticker. (Lee County Boat Ramps: http://www.leegov.com)
Picnic Island and its yearly “Sandbar Extravaganza!” event, a beach barge party featuring DJs, is a hub of wet fun on the water for Memorial Day.
The Sandbar Extravaganza is a FREE event on the water.
It was created by locals for locals to have something fun to do on the water, in off-season.
However, the event has become so popular that visitors started driving in from other counties, flying in from other states, and even flying in from Europe for the event.
Our mission is to:
1. increase tourism off-season, and therefore revenue for Lee County Businesses off-season, to help them level off their revenue cycle
2. show off how amazing this area is to businesses considering relocating to the area
3. provide residents and future residents with a way to truly enjoy the water – the best part of Lee County.
Last year our largest event had OVER 6,000 people at one time. Probably over 8,000 coming and going.
This year we are expecting closer to 10,000.
“There have been some issues with boaters at the Picnic Island event, in the past few years. “We hope that those issues of past poor behavior will not be repeated this year.” Bring trash bags, clean up after yourself, clean up after others that don’t clean up. Let’s keep this event going. Let’s not ruin the fun for next year.
Picnic Island lies in San Carlos Bay.
Picnic Island is a 7.4-acre spoil island that is under the jurisdiction of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. The island is located near the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, northeast of the Sanibel Causeway and about a mile from St. James City on Pine Island. It’s also a stop on the Great Calusa Blueway, a 190-mile canoe and kayak trail that works its way through the area’s coastal waters and inland tributaries.
While there are no docks on the islands, boats can be anchored a short distance from shore and the chairs, fishing poles, beach towels, umbrellas and coolers can be hauled in from the water. The water generally offers a sandy bottom, but water shoes are always a good choice in case of rocks or sharp shells that may be underfoot. There are some shady areas on the island, but it’s best to bring an umbrella or folding canopy.
The north side of the island varies a bit from the south side as the north offers a shallow wading area and more sugar sand, while the south side has more vegetation and wooded areas. “I like to hike around the entire island when I come,” said Brown, who says the trek takes about 15 minutes or so, unless, of course, he stops to chit-chat with other boaters or collect a few shells.
For those who don’t have a boat to get to Picnic Island, they can still make the trip out. Banana Bay Tour Company out of Fort Myers Beach offers half-day Picnic Island and Nature Cruises (http://bananabaytourcompany.com). Along the way, guests can enjoy watching dolphins dive, and osprey, egrets and herons soaring overhead. Once they get to the island, they can kick back and relax.
That, after all, is one of best things that Picnic Island has to offer.
The mack daddy of city of Tampa waterfront parks, Picnic Island has it all, if you don’t mind driving past gypsum plants, gasoline silos and other gritty industrial buildings. In addition to a long swimming beach, the park has a boat ramp, fishing pier, canoe launch, dog beach, restrooms, children’s playgrounds and picnic shelters galore. The city added an observation deck and other improvements to boost the park’s reputation as a poor cousin to Pinellas’s pristine beaches. You can find it at the south end of Commerce Street in Port Tampa.
Our best guess is that we had over 6,000 people at the 2015 event, at one time. There may have been more who attended if you count people coming and going. See last year’s event at: http://www.scrippsmedia.com/fox4now/news/Picnic-Island-attracts-thousands-for-Sandbar-Extravaganza–325192761.html
Donate to make this event happen: Donate (Tickets)