The Best Beaches in Fort Myers and Sanibel
If your idea of a perfect beach includes white sands and clear, calm waters, Fort Myers and Sanibel have you covered. Here, you’ll have your choice of beaches with Gulf of Mexico views, great fishing and shelling, a family scene, or the ideal bar for watching the sunset.
6491-6499 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA
Popular for fishing and shelling, this beach stretches under the Blind Pass Bridge, placing it on both Captiva and Sanibel islands. Swimming here is somewhat dangerous because of swift currents, but walking the shallows looking for pretty shells is a fine way to spend an hour or two. You can park on either side of the bridge to access the beach, but know that there aren’t any restroom facilities on the Sanibel half.
2525 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, USA
Located on seven-mile-long Estero Island, Fort Myers Beach is precisely the sugar-sand playground you come to Florida’s Gulf Coast to enjoy. Named among the best in America, the beach is long and wide, making it perfect for a stroll or bike ride—especially at low tide. Vendors here sell everything from umbrella and chair rentals to parasailing adventures and eco tours. There are also accommodations, including hotels, inns, and small, family-run motels to fit nearly every budget.
14790 Captiva Dr, Captiva, FL 33924, USA
Sugar sands, shallow waters, and consistently smooth seas are just a few factors that make Captiva Beach a Southwest Florida favorite. The shelling is great here, especially after storms, but it’s the sunsets that make it famous—and why Captiva is considered one of the most romantic beaches in the state. For a swim, stroll, or sunset viewing party, it can’t be beat. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the dolphins that are regularly spotted offshore.
8700 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, USA
Take the boardwalk—or the tram that runs alongside it—to reach this stunning state park, which stretches for two miles on the southern end of Fort Myers Beach. The gently lapping waters on the barrier island push ashore all manner of natural treasures from the Gulf of Mexico, making Lovers Key a magnet for shell hunters. You’ll also find a concession stand that runs kayak tours, as well as bike, canoe, kayak, paddleboard, beach chair, and umbrella rentals onsite.
Captiva, FL 33924, USA
To reach this state park off the north end of Captiva Island, you’ll need to travel by private boat or Captiva Cruises ferry. Once there, though, you’ll find 2,400 spectacular acres, including nine miles of pristine beach perfect for shelling and swimming. Keep your eye out for manatees and dolphins, which are often spotted in the surrounding waters. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even pitch a tent or rent a primitive cabin and spend the night in the real Florida.
27954 Hickory Blvd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134, USA
Named after the Spanish word for “pretty,” this beachfront park lives up to its moniker. Located just south of Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Beach tends to be quieter, drawing a laidback crowd and lots of families. Rather than hotels or resorts, actual homes line the shores. When you visit, head straight to the park, which functions as an undeveloped oasis on the southern tip of the beach. There are grills and tables so pack a picnic, then spend some time on the playground or sand volleyball court.
1700 Bowmans Beach Road
It’s a five-minute walk from the parking lot down to the immaculate sands of this popular shelling beach on the western end of Sanibel Island. Stretching for several, uninterrupted miles, the beach is the perfect place for doing the “Sanibel stoop”—strolling the sands crouched over, searching for beautiful shells. Among the beach’s amenities, you’ll find picnic tables, grills, bathrooms, and bike racks, making it easy to settle in and spend the day. There’s also plenty of space to stretch out and find your own slice of paradise.
110 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA
A family favorite on the southern tip of Sanibel Island, Lighthouse Park Beach is home to the island’s famous lighthouse. It’s also a popular spot for shelling, windsurfing, and fishing off the pier. Restrooms and picnic facilities are available, and leashed pets are welcome.