Sailing Away Cabbage Key Day Trip

Sailing Away: The Perfect Cabbage Key Day Trip

Cabbage Key is a secluded island located in Southwest Florida, United States. It’s situated near Pine Island, north of Sanibel and Captiva Islands, and is accessible only by boat. Taking a Cabbage Key day trip is a great way to spend the day and offers a unique, tranquil getaway, popular among boaters, nature lovers, and those seeking a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Cabbage Key is known for its old Florida charm, with lush vegetation, a historic inn, and a famous restaurant where visitors can stick dollar bills on the walls. Getting out on the water and enjoying what Florida is known for, is a fun thing to do when visiting Sanibel Island.

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How to Get to Cabbage Key

Most people access Cabbage Key from Sanibel or Captiva Island. Here are a few of the best options of how to get to Cabbage Key.

Private Boat: If you own a boat or can rent one, you can navigate to Cabbage Key using GPS coordinates or a map.

Water Taxi: I recommend using Island Girl Charters if you are looking to take a water taxi or charter to Cabbage Key. This is a convenient option if you are not familiar with the area or are planning to stay a few days on the island.

Guided Tours: Captiva Cruises offer a boat trip to Cabbage Key for the day. This is a great way to enjoy the journey with added guidance and information about the area. I highly recommend using them. That is who we used to take the day trip to Cabbage Key and the following review will be of this guided tour.

It’s always a good idea to make reservations in advance and to check the weather conditions a few days before, as some services might be subject to weather conditions.

Cabbage Key Day Trip

Boat Trip to Cabbage Key with Captiva Cruises

Your adventure begins with Captiva Cruises, the premier choice for exploring the islands. Departing from Captiva Island, these cruises offer a comfortable and scenic ride but also immerse you in the beauty of the Gulf waters. There is spacious seating, and a full service cash bar with snacks and the guides give an informative commentary about the local wildlife and history as you sail towards Cabbage Key. 

The staff will make every attempt to find local pods of dolphins. We had a pod of dolphins swimming alongside the boat.


Exploring Cabbage Key

Upon arrival, you’ll find Cabbage Key is a haven for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful retreat. The island, accessible only by boat, boasts trails, historic sites, and a famous restaurant known for its famous cheeseburger and unique décor of dollar bills covering the walls.

Hiking and Wildlife: Explore the nature trails, where you can encounter local wildlife and get a glimpse of the unspoiled Florida landscape.

Osprey during Cabbage Key Day Trip

Photography and Relaxation: The island’s quietness and rustic charm make it a perfect spot for photography or simply unwinding.

Cabbage Key dock

The Cabbage Key Inn and Restaurant

The Cabbage Key Inn is a centerpiece of charm and history. The dining experience here is renowned, especially for its fresh seafood and the legendary ‘Cabbage Key Cheeseburger’, which is said to have inspired Jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” They also have their own version of a frozen key lime pie, which was part of my quest to find the best key lime pie.

Cabbage Key Inn - Key Lime Pie

The tradition of placing dollar bills on the walls of the Cabbage Key Inn is a fascinating and iconic aspect of its charm. This unique custom began several decades ago when fishermen started the practice by signing and tacking dollar bills to the walls so they would have money for drinks when they returned.

Over the years, this tradition grew, and now the walls and ceilings of the inn are covered with thousands of dollar bills from visitors around the world. 

Each bill is a small memento, a symbol of the many stories and experiences shared by those who have visited.

This quirky and distinctive decor not only adds to the inn’s ambiance but also serves as a living tapestry, illustrating its rich history and the connections made over time.

Dollar bill wall - Cabbage Key Inn

Today, most visitors to the restaurant tack a dollar bill to the wall with their names written on it.

When the bills eventually fall off the wall, the Inn collects all the money and donates it to local charities. 

Duration of Trip

A day trip to Cabbage Key typically lasts around 4-6 hours, giving you ample time to explore the island’s beauty and enjoy a leisurely lunch.

Overnight Options

For those enchanted by the island and wishing to extend their stay, Cabbage Key offers the option to stay at the Cabbage Key Inn, but plan and book early, as there are 6 suites in the inn and 6 cottages on the island. 

If you have a boat, then you can rent a cottage in one of the neighbouring islands. Any of these charming accommodations provide a unique experience to enjoy the island’s tranquil nights and starry skies. 

Captiva Island


A Cabbage Key day trip with Captiva Cruises offers an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, this island paradise has something for everyone. When you are visiting Sanibel Island you should consider spending the day out on the water and enjoying the lovely scenery.

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