Overall, Pine Island is the largest island in the state of Florida, measuring about two miles wide by 16 long. It is located west of Cape Coral, from where it is accessed through Matlacha, across the sea and coastal crossings that are the Matlacha Pass nature reserves, established in 1908 and Pine Island Sound Aquatic Preserve, which was designated in 1970. Both environments flanking the archipelago to the east and west respectively provide shelter to endangered species such as manatees of the Caribbean, American crocodiles, Eastern Indigo snakes, Wood Storks and bald eagles, the American symbol par excellence. Dolphins are also abundant in these waters as well as a variety of fish. As for the flora, we find red, black and white mangroves; sea grapes, used in the West Indies for making desserts and jams, the interesting Gumbo Limbo or Ficus Aurea, to name a few.
Useppa Island is located to the west. Peace is breathed in these villages of the Olde Florida, where the main activity is fishing. Today, it is still in a purely rural environment, abundant coconut plantations, ornamental palms and natural areas of pine groves, truly honoring the name of the island. There isn’t a single traffic light, demonstrating once again that we are in a splendid and rare oasis.
Along the main road of Pine Island, there are few spaces of land, and there are no posters announcing the sale of these parcels. As throughout the region, there are deserted neighborhoods where only the streets, the surrounding wall and the entrance gate were built; inside, there is nothing, only vegetation and artificial lakes.
Exactly one mile from the end of the island the road forks in two ways. The first one goes southwest by the Sanibel Blvd, however, we will continue south on the extension of the Stringfellow Road that here begins to be called Oleander Street and is flanked by two canals of the extensive network. The streets go from the 8th to the 1st, after which we’ll reach the sea again, where we will see in the distance the wonderful set Sanibel and Captiva Island. At this point we will have covered the first half of the route and therefore we must go back on the same path to Bokeelia to finish our journey. This route is very safe for cycling as there is a segregated, very well marked path for traffic that goes from north to south of the island.