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Your Beach, Closer Than You Think

Here, you’ll find perfect, uninhabited white-sand beaches. No high rises. No crowds. Paddle beside manatees and dolphins. Enjoy some of the world’s best shelling on Captiva and Sanibel islands. Sink into a sunset. Each beach has its own character waiting to be explored. Family-friendly beaches invite hours of play. Clear, calm waters are ready for new adventures and favorite pastimes. Fish and boat, dive and swim, kayak and paddleboard. Off the water, hike, bike and find your center with beach yoga.

 

Pieces of Nature

Hundreds of uninhabited islands dot the sun-splashed coastline. Many of them are accessible only by boat or seaplane, and all provide sanctuary to wildlife. Every year, baby turtles make their first journey to the gulf and migratory birds flock to the islands. It’s not uncommon to see iguanas sunning themselves and crabs scuttling across the beach. Bobcats, alligators and river otters inhabit protected mangroves.

Watch dolphins play in the wake of your boat. Paddle inches from manatees bobbing throughout the Great Calusa Blueway. Spot roseate spoonbills and more than 245 other species of birds in the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the USA.

The campgrounds of Caloosahatchee Regional Park put you in the center of outdoor action with mountain biking, horseback riding trails and pristine water views. Follow the waterways on a six-hour guided kayak trip to Hickey’s Creek Mitigation Park. At Lakes Regional Park, enjoy scenic boardwalks, fishing and the kids’ water playground.

 

Beyond the Beach

While the beach is always nearby, away from the sand, you’ll find other delights. Shop local businesses, peruse art galleries and enjoy a night out at the theater. In restaurants large and small, chefs prepare fresh-caught Gulf of Mexico shrimp and fish.

There’s also a local legacy of invention: Robert Rauschenberg found artistic inspiration on Captiva Island. Anne Morrow Lindbergh penned “Gift from the Sea” on the same shores. The brilliant minds of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford enjoyed their visits so much that they put down roots here. Explore their estates, filled with tropical gardens, laboratories and museums.

To fully experience the natural islands and beaches, choose from accommodations ranging from hotels and cottages to villas and private homes.

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Fun Fact

The beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel have more shell varieties than any other in North America.
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More shell varieties wash up on the shores of Fort Myers and Sanibel's beaches than any other place in North America.

The Fort Myers River District
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