"Big Mouth" comes from the mouth of the waterway, called the Boca Grande Pass. It separates the southern tip of the island from Cayo Costa which is just south of Boca Grande. In the past, the Boca Grande pass was used as a busy shipping point for many years, as the waters in the pass are naturally deep. Phosphate from the Bone Valley region was loaded onto waiting ocean-going cargo vessels at the south dock on the island.
Because of the lack of gas stations on the island, golf carts are the main mode of transportation around Boca Grande. All but two streets on Gasparilla Island are considered golf cart paths according to a Lee County ordinance.
Boca Grande's serene beauty makes it a great backdrop for photographers and even some Hollywood movies. Out of Time starring Denzel Washington was partially filmed on the island. Another film shot on Boca Grande was based on Carl Hiaasen's book Hoot. In the movie, the town was renamed "Coconut Grove".
Hurricane Charley, and more recently, hurricane Ian caused a lot of damage on the island. Many buildings and numerous banyan trees were heavily damaged, but there were no deaths and there were only some minor injuries reported. The island residents as well as the beautiful banyan trees are resilient, and they pulled together to weather the storm. Hurricane Charley caused close to $20 billion worth of damage while Ian caused $112 billion worldwide.