As the largest island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida’s peninsula, Pine Island is a popular vacation destination for Americans. It is the 118th largest island in the United States and is located in Lee County on the Gulf of Mexico coast of southwestern Florida. Pine Island Sound is the westernmost part of the island, and it is the route of the Intracoastal Waterway. Connecting Pine Island to the mainland is the narrow passageway of Matlacha Pass. There is a small island called Pine Island to the west of Cape Coral. Pine Island was, and still is for many of its year-round residents, a major commercial fishing community.
The only land-based means of access to Pine Island is via a bridge. Mangroves, palm trees, tropical plants, and wetland areas characterize the landscape around Pine Island’s small town. Among Florida’s finest fishing can be found in these waters. Moreover, the natural scenery is a bird watcher’s and nature lover’s dream.
Pine Island offers a low-cost island lifestyle with waterfront properties that feature deep boat docks. To a large extent ensured by zoning regulations, this waterfront setting remains pristine and free of the concrete jungle that so many popular tourist destinations inevitably become. Homes on the water can be had here for as little as the $400’s.
Matlacha, Pineland, Bokeelia, and St. James City are the island’s four municipalities; each has its own shops, marinas, and special charm. Burnt Store Lakes, Trafalgar, Punta Gorda Isles, Jacaranda, and Tropical Gulf Acres are some other desirable areas nearby.
There are no stoplights in Pine Island, contributing to the town’s rural feel. There are marinas, shops, and upscale casual restaurants in the Greater Matlacha and Pine Island community, as well as a fire control district governed by an elected commission of five members.  Pine Island has a year-round population of about 9000 people, according to the 2000 census, but many of its residents only stay there during the winter. Electricity is provided by LCEC, and water is provided by Pine Island Water Association (a private member coop). Comcast and other satellite companies offer cable television service.
Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge is located on Pine Island as well. With the removal of manmade features, Little Pine Island is being returned to its natural state as a state-owned wildlife refuge. The island is home to many different species of birds, including owls, hawks, eagles, and a wide variety of songbirds.