Maybe your parents have told you about visiting Florida when they were kids: uncrowded beaches, abundant palm trees, and thriving “mom and pop” shops. Fortunately, you don’t have to sit at home and wonder what the “good old days” of Florida were like, because they’re still in full swing in The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. Check out just a few of the many reasons you should pack your bathing suit, apply sunscreen and head to this subtropical paradise in southwestern Florida now.
Lounging on a white-sand beach under a coconut palm has a way of making time move slower than it does at work or more fast-paced vacation destinations. The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel welcome visitors to enjoy this breathtaking stretch of southwestern Florida coastline, which feels more like a faraway destination than one that’s just a short flight away for most North Americans. You won’t find long amusement park lines or college beach parties here, but you will find serenity, adventure and some of the most exotic shells you’ve ever seen.
The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel are unlike anywhere else in Florida. This area is home to more than 50 miles of white-sand beaches, 590 miles of shoreline, more than 100 barrier and coastal islands, not to mention over 190 miles of kayak, canoe, and paddleboard trails. Exotic wildlife, subtropical foliage, and crystal clear Gulf of Mexico waters make this an area that every beach lover needs to see to believe.
In fact, one of the most unbelievable parts of visiting The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel Island is the sheer number of shells you’ll find. Bring an extra large bucket down to the sand, because this area has been named the best shelling destination in the world – with more than 400 species of shells found, including the rare brown speckled junonia.
Life along The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel isn’t all about relaxation (unless you want it to be). Visitors can rent paddleboards, kayaks or canoes and get on the water. Or those who opt to stay on land can explore the trails and bike paths (there are 26 miles of them on Sanibel Island alone) on two wheels or by foot.
Visitors can golf, embark on a deep-sea fishing adventure, shop, or take relaxation to an even higher level with a day at the spa. The area’s Offshore Sailing School, located in Fort Myers Beach and on Captiva Island, is America’s Number 1 Sailing School.
Whether you’re traveling as a family, with friends or are flying solo, this one-of-a-kind destination is guaranteed to create a vacation you’ll never forget.
One of the best parts of traveling is tasting the local fare, and in The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, that’s the seafood. Fort Myers houses a shrimp fleet on San Carlos Island that offloads more Florida pink shrimp than anywhere else in the state. But you don’t have to be into shellfish to enjoy this area’s spoils from the sea. Fishermen bring in grouper, red snapper, yellowtail snapper, cobia, pompano, shark, king mackerel, amberjack and a long list of other mouthwatering catches every day of the week. It’s easy to see why the “catch of the day” is a menu item at nearly every restaurant in the area.
Many of Florida’s beaches are dotted with high-rise hotels, underwhelming chain restaurants, and stores that all sell the same souvenirs. That’s not the case on Sanibel Island, where no building can stand taller than the island’s tallest palm tree. Even better, the stores and restaurants are all locally owned, so you know your vacation dollars are going back into the community that made your getaway so special.
Visitors can fully immerse themselves in the local culture and celebrate the communities of Fort Myers & Sanibel by attending the free Island Hopper Songwriter Festival from Sept. 22 to Oct. 1. This year marks the fourth anniversary of the event, which features more than 70 local songwriters playing over the course of 10 days throughout this region of Florida’s best barrier islands. Attend the first portion of the festival on Captiva Island from Sept. 22-24, and finish off your musical adventure on Fort Myers Beach for the closing performances from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1. There’s no better way to give back to a local community than to support the local talent.
It’s easy to get caught up in the laid-back lifestyle of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel , but you may want to put on your party hat and take an exciting day trip to Key West. While the tropical island paradise of Key West is difficult to reach for most travelers, visitors to Fort Myers Beach can hop on the Key West Express and be sipping a margarita at the world’s smallest bar in just 3.5 hours. The moment you step off the jet-powered express boat, you’ll see why Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Jimmy Buffett and countless others have chosen to call the island home.
The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel area pairs untouched natural beauty with historic charm and modern amenities to create a vacation destination that’s nothing shy of paradise. It’s also easy to reach from almost anywhere in the United States and Canada. In fact, the Southwest Florida International Airport offers award-winning facilities with year-round nonstop service from Toronto. There’s only a few short hours separating you from the white-sands, coconut palms, and turquoise waters of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.