The Best Places to Spot Wildlife in Fort Myers and Sanibel
Collected by Terry Ward , AFAR Local Expert
If you’re determined to see Florida’s iconic animals, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you visit the wildlife refuges, nature centers, or boardwalks, you’re likely to spot manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, alligators, and several birds.
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA
Florida’s nature is alive and well at this wildlife refuge, located on the north side of Sanibel Island. Rich with mangroves and seagrass, the protected, subtropical habitat is home to more than 230 species of birds as well as alligators,...
3883 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA
At the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW), the staff nurtures injured animals from Sanibel and the surrounding areas with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into the wild. Among the "patients" you may meet here are gopher...
1815 Fowler St, Fort Myers, FL 33901, USA
Located in downtown Fort Myers’ River District, this special facility is the place to learn about native Floridian butterfly species. During visits, guests can also observe how the critters are raised and released into the wild. The center...
900 Tarpon Bay Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA
Located within the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, this popular outfitter offers thrilling wildlife tours. The Kayak Trail Tour often passes dolphins and manatees, while the Sunset Rookery Paddle, which goes to the...
2776, 15001 Punta Rassa Rd, Fort Myers, FL 33908, USA
For whatever reason, Sanibel Dolphin Tours is based out of Fort Myers. While there are other, less confusingly named tour operators in the area, this one limits itself to private groups of six people, ensuring an intimate experience. During...
2500 SE 24th St, Cape Coral, FL 33990, USA
Located in Cape Coral, this fascinating wetland offers a window into the real Florida and its denizens. Just be liberal with the bug spray when you visit. Families will enjoy taking the boardwalk trail through the preserve for a chance at spotting...
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