Everything You Need to Know About Palm Island!
The Inspiration Behind it All
Palm Island, Florida
The world-famous Useppa Island Club, Palm Island Resort’s sister property, was purchased and re-developed in 1976 by Gar Beckstead. Useppa’s history includes tales of Spanish pirates. It served as a base for planning the Bay of Pigs invasion, and has hosted wealthy individuals such as Barron Collier, the area's land baron, plus Shirley Temple, Zane Grey, the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and many more.
Brothers Dean and Gar Beckstead sought to open Palm Island Resort as a place that would appeal to families, business meetings and anyone in search of relaxation. It follows the same traditions started by the Useppa Island Club.
A History Worth Repeating Itself
Old Florida's Finest Resort
1976: Dean and Gar Beckstead had a vision to build an island resort. Together they purchased the land that is now Palm Island Resort.
1980 - 1985: Developing Palm Island Resort
- From 1980 through 1982 the planning, permitting and engineering took place and the infrastructure was put in place.
- In late 1982 construction began on the buildings in the Palm Island Village I area.
- In May of 1983 two buildings were completely destroyed by a fire.
- This delayed the first rentals until December 1983. At that time, owners and guests came to the island by a boat that docked at the south end of the property.
- In 1984 and 1985 development continued on the island as well as on the mainland.
- Harbortown Inn and Marina, an all-suite inn on the Intracoastal waterway, was built during this time and Garfield’s Restaurant (now Leverock’s), overlooking the marina, was completed in November 1984.
- The Landing (currently the Clubhouse building) was opened and housed a bar and deli, the General Store and a meeting/conference room all opened in 1985. The bar and deli served sandwiches, salads, soups and chili for lunch. The Landing had become the center of activity for rentals and the arrival and departure point for our resort launch.
1988-1990: Expanding Offerings at Palm Island
Unlike a typical hotel, the resort was built in stages beginning at the south end of the resort and finishing at the north end. The Beach Villas were completed in 1988 and the Land’s End Cottages were completed in 1990. The Rum Bay Restaurant and General Store opened in May 1988 and the launch landing was relocated to its current location. In the fall of 1988, Garfield’s Restaurant closed and became the reception center and reservations office.
1998: Additional Luxuries for Guests
- In 1998 we moved our reception center and reservations office to the island and began using the car ferry to transport our owners and guests to the island.
Today we have grown to 160 condominiums/villas villas and 21 homes. A number of additional homes and villas can be expected in the next few years
About the Accommodations
- The island features 160 vacation villas with either one-, two- or three-bedrooms. The low-rise two-story buildings each feature four or eight villas per building and are set in semi-circles around one of island pools.
- The villas offer fully equipped kitchens, living and dining rooms, laundry facilities, and a screened porch overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
- The villas' decor focuses on island-style charm and casual elegance. King beds are in each master bedroom and the second and third bedrooms have twin beds.
- A six-minute car ferry ride transports guests and their cars to the resort parking area. Bellmen take luggage to the guests' villas after check-in at the front desk.
- Guests who arrive by boat moor at a special arrival dock and proceed to the front desk for check-in.
- Regularly scheduled resort launches are available to take guests to and from the mainland. On the island, an open air tram provides transportation throughout the resort.
- 5 Heated Pools & Hyra Spa's at each villa cluster on the island
- Gas barbecue grills are located near each pool area for guests' convenience
- On-site volleyball, basketball, and of course - tennis.
- Fitness Center located within the Clubhouse
- 2 playgrounds are available for kids' use
- Rental Equipment: Rental items include: bikes, boogie boards, rafts, snorkel sets, kayaks, fishing equipment, umbrellas and four-passenger golf carts. Motor boats and fishing charters may also be rarranged. Per-day and per-week rates available.
- Activities for All Ages! Including events such as: nature hunts, bicycle nature tours, scavenger hunts, sand castle contests, arts & crafts, shell hunts and shell crafts, kids Olympics, family bingo, kids fishing tourney, and kid’s movie night. Fees vary. Visit: Event Calendar
- Massage Therapy at the Fitness Center
- Children aged 6-12 may participate in supervised programs with Red Beard the Pirate including arts & crafts; scavenger hunts and more. Visit: Just for Kids
- Additional Activties: Volleyball, basketball, and most daily activities.
- The Beach Book Exchange and Complimentary DVD Movies are located in the reception office.
- Eleven hard tennis courts available for play at no charge
- Tennis program offers a pro shop, lessons and clinics and social events
- Tennis equipment is available for rent
- On-site tennis pro Bill Longua available to teach clinics and private lessons
- Island guests have golf privileges and may reserve tee times at a number of area courses matched to their skill levels.
- Back bay and flats fishing for snook and redfish are excellent in Lemon Bay and Bull Bay in Charlotte Harbor.
- Offshore fishing for grouper and other deep sea species is very popular.
- Tarpon fishing in world famous Boca Grande Pass can also be arranged.
- A comprehensive list of guides and charter captains is maintained by the Concierge and a charter can be booked to meet guests at the resort's island dock.
- Palm Island Resort maintains slips on the island for resort guests' use. These docks can accommodate boats up to 30-feet long.
- Rental boats are available at the marina on the mainland.
Rum Bay Restaurant offers good food at reasonable prices in a casual atmosphere. Burgers, salads, sandwiches and appetizers are among the popular items at lunch, which is served from noon - 3 p.m. Lunch prices range from $6 to $9. Dinner entrees range from $8 to $17. Full bar service is available.
Johnny Leverock's Seafood Restaurant overlooks the Palm Island Marina (landside) and the Intracoastal Waterway. Specialties include all types of freshly caught seafood served for lunch and dinner, such as Salmon Fritters, Johnny's Shrimp Scampi, Seafood Martinique and Grouper Sandwiches. Started by Johnny Leverock himself in 1948 as a small, friendly restaurant in Tampa Bay, Leverock's has been voted "Best Seafood Restaurant" for three years in a row. Our water taxi provides transportation to and from Leverock’s.
Rum Bay Store:
The island's store offers a unique selection of gifts, souvenirs, clothing, logo wear. We have the perfect gift or memento for that special something to remember...your island ...your time...your memories.. We also have a humidor filled with quality cigars and other tobacco products. If you have forgotten to pack something we have that too. from tooth brushes, toothpaste and all your toiletry needs. We also have a variety of grocery items available for your convenience at our Coconuts Cafe. Coconuts Cafe is you stop to start your day with a gourmet coffee or pastries and also carries a variety of specialty wine, cheeses.
Palm Island Marina:
A full service, landside marina and yacht basin has 90 wet slips for boats up to 65 feet long. Electric, water, washer/dryer, grills, showers, heated pool and hot tub, cable television, trash removal, fuel, lift service, general store and tackle shop, plus marine repairs and accessories are available. Charter boats offer fishing, shelling and sightseeing.
Palm Island Resort offers a unique meeting environment for groups up to 150. Food and beverage and meeting services are individually tailored to group needs. Meals can be provided at a variety of locations at the resort. In addition, our meeting staff can organize transportation, lodging, special events and team building activities, utilizing the varied locations available on our island from team building beachfront volleyball to eco-adventures. Audio and visual equipment is also available. (Visit our Meetings Section for more information.)