By Roger Cox, Editor
A very narrow channel separates Palm Island from the mainland; nonetheless, that six-minute ferry ride is all it takes to shed whatever cares you may have brought on board. Once there, you bed down in a privately owned villa built in Old Florida style. Abandoning your car, you instead get around on crushed-shell roads by golf cart, shuttle, by bike, or on foot. If you idea of a great vacation is relaxing on the porch or walking the two miles of pristine beach, Palm Island will undoubtedly suit you, though if you need activity, you can choose from kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, nature walks, yoga and fitness classes, and, not incidentally, tennis.
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There are 11 tennis courts on the island. Five of those have been scattered among the accommodations free for guests to use near where they're staying, while the the main bank of three hard and three cushioned courts can be found at the main tennis center, which is also where the programing takes place.
Veteran Peter Burwash International (PBI) professional Art Santos directs the programing. A former Hawaii State of Collegiate Champion in singles and doubles, Santos joined PBI right out of college and went on to manage programs in Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and the U.S., including a 28-year stint at Kohlerâ€™s Sports Core and the American Club Resort in Wisconsin. He also traveled internationally as part of the PBI Tennis Show—an entertaining tennis version of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Tennis Programs. The weekly calendar includes adult and junior clinics, complimentary social round robins, and private lessons, with a player-matching service available to those looking for games. Tennis is offered for everyone. Santos can also custom-design a PBI Tennis for Life Package for groups and individuals.
Courts & Fees. There are 8 hard and 3 cushioned courts. Court fees: None.
Spa & Fitness
Beach. Two miles of pristine beach like the Gulf of Mexico side of the island
Golf Courses. Tough without golf courses of its own, the resort can arrange tee times at some dozen courses within a 30-minute drive from the island.
Fitness Center. There is a modest fitness center with cardio and strength equipment and free weights, supplemented by weekly fitness classes and personal trainers.
And ... There are five swimming pools scattered through the resort.
Lodging consists of 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas and cottages (the lowest priced 1-bedroom villas are on the mainland), as well as private homes. All have fully equipped kitchens
Rum Bay for burgers and seafood is the main restaurant on the island, supplemented by the cafe at the recreation center. However, you can also take a complimentary water taxi to Leverock's back at the marina for freshly caught seafood overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.
If you like the sound of the Palm Island Resort, also check out:
Visit the website for current rates
Seasons. Year-round, though most comfortable from October to August.
General Tourist Information. Visit the Charlotte Harbor Gulf Island Coast Visitor and Convention Bureau, 941-743-1900, or call toll free at 1-800-652-6090 for a free Visitorâ€™s Guide, or visit www.CharlotteHarborTravel.com.