Picnic IslandFlorida Keys
Picnic Island was a surprise find during my recent trip to the Lower Keys. Quirky and beautiful, it’s located on the oceanside of Little Torch Key.
Picnic Island is a small scrub island located inside the Newfound Harbor Channel in between Little Palm Island and Little Torch Key. Before Hurricane Irma, the island used to be bigger and had more foliage. Today’s it’s a small island with a beach as well as some home-made, salty, memorabilia and swings. It’s a great place to anchor the boat and relax or socialize with friends.
Navigating to Picnic Island is pretty easy. The deepest side is the side where the huge houseboat/barge is permanently anchored so, it’s best to approach from that side (the SW side).
CAP’N JACK’S HOUSEBOAT
One of the things you’ll notice right off the bat is a large houseboat. At first, I thought it was a floating restaurant but it turns out to be a houseboat owned by a “Cap’n Jack” who lives on it full-time and is very welcoming to visitors who like to socialize and are nice. I think he has an interesting story from talking to locals but I don’t know the details.
WEAR YOUR AQUA SHOES
If you want to get off the boat and explore, it’s wise to wear waterproof shoes. The bottom is a mix of soft sand and chunks of rock/coral. As you get closer to the island it gets rockier. As a result, wearing something to protect your feet is wise.
Every year on Independence Day, Picnic Island transforms from a relaxing spot to a huge, floating concert. Hundreds of people spend the day partying and listening to music hence, the name “Wetstock”. I’ve never been but it seems like a fun time!
FUEL & FOOD
The Lower Keys don’t have a lot of on-the-water fuel choices. The most convenient one I found was Captain Hooks on Big Pine Key. The Shell station on Big Pine also carries rec fuel but it’s land-locked.
As I mentioned in my Content Keys post, when I visited I stayed at Parmer’s Resort on Little Torch Key. It was a great place in a great location. The room was clean and nice, the property had a refreshing, “Old Florida” feel and the boat dockage and ramp were nice. The marina and ramp are ideal for single-engine boats under 25′. Trailer parking was on-site as well. Easy peasy, my kind of place!
BEACH & BOAT INFO
LAT/LONG: 24.64’62”N 81.39’47”W
SETTING: Saltwater, Tropical Island
BOTTOM: Sand and Rock
ANCHORING: Anywhere with Bow Anchor (maybe stern also if crowded)
BOAT RAMP: Dolphin Marina & Cottages
COST: No Cost
WAVES: Exposed to SW Wind
WATER CLARITY: Clear
RESTAURANTS NEARBY: Kiki’s Sandbar & Grill
NEARBY BOAT-FRIENDLY HOTELS: Parmers Resort on Little Torch Key
NEARBY VACATION RENTAL HOMES WITH BOAT DOCKS: Click HERE to Search the Homes
Click on the 360 Video below for an immersive look at this location
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