The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel

Fort Myers & Sanibel Tourism 

The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel has long been considered a treasure on the sandy Southwest Florida coastline. Warm tropical breezes, sunshine, abundant wildlife, and a bounty of land and sea activities are enjoyed here year-round. Innovative icons the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford owned homes here to offer themselves a respite from frigid northern temperatures and some sand between their toes inspiration. Many centuries prior, the Calusa Indians made this area their home, utilizing the favorable climate and abundant natural resources to thrive and prosper. Fort Myers and Sanibel’s colorful past and eco-conscious sensibilities are always on full display, so come discover their way of life.

This is no secret treasure, mind you. Limited beach development and conservation has preserved the beauty of these beaches that draw nearly 5 million visitors annually. One in five jobs in the counnty is supported by tourism, with 26 percent of tourist tax collected (approx. $10 million annually) used to maintain these world class beaches.

With two-thirds of visitors opting to stay in hotels, it is imperative that Kind Traveler participating properties have all achieved Florida Green Lodging designations. This program’s environmental guidelines enable the hospitality industry to evaluate operations, set goals and take specific actions to continuously improve environmental performance. It’s not just seasonal sun-seekers that drive the need for sustainability, 95 percent of locals have agreed the Lee County Sustainability Plan is necessary for the future growth of the community. Recently, Conservation 20/20, along with other government agencies, has worked to conserve 120,000 acres of natural habitat for, not only beach dwellers, but protected species in the area including Burrowing owls (largest pop. in Florida), manatee, Loggerhead sea turtles and the Gopher tortoise. 

Land lovers will have plenty of terrain to explore with Fort Myers and Sanibel’s hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails and nature preserves. Sanibel Island, where two-thirds is protected land, is a designated Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, with more than 25 miles of easily accessible bike paths that stretch and thread through subtropical hammocks, preserved wetlands and along main thoroughfares. Pine Island to Matlacha is a favored ride, this roundtrip 28-mile easy-going jaunt will take you past leaping dolphins and tidal swamplands to Matlacha’s bike-friendly streets, adorned with pastel beach shacks and many artist-owned galleries and shops. Paddling, hiking and biking trails, observation towers, and a four-mile scenic drive will keep you on the lookout for wading birds and other exotic wildlife at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Explore 7,600-acres home to 51 types of reptiles and amphibians, 32 mammal species, and more than 245 species of birds. Prairie Pine Trail offers 20+ miles of friendly trails, including an ADA accessible loop, and an on-leash dog path. A must do is the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, 190 miles of paddling and kayaking trails and tributaries weaving through mangrove-lined estuaries and across open Gulf waters. This kayak and canoe excursion puts paddlers face-to-face with indigenous wildlife, foliage and shell mounds, offering a peek inside Old Florida, the way the Calusa experienced it. 

No discussion of Fort Myers and Sanibel would be complete without mentioning the beaches and numerous islands and coves. Finding a stretch of unspoiled and unoccupied beach shouldn’t be hard to do. Just don’t forget your (biodegradable and eco-friendly) sunscreen! 

Captiva Beach is also well known for dolphin sightings; they thrive here year round due to an abundant feast of fish in local waterways. Family-friendly Fort Myers Beach offers seven miles of powdery white coastline with unique dining and shopping. Use the boardwalks to step over tidal lagoons on your way to Lovers Key State Park, an isolated strip of white-sand beach skirted with sea oats, and yes, it is quite romantic.

Further south you’ll find Bonita Beach, and an off-leash dog beach park, so your furry friends can stretch their legs and take a dip. Be sure to reserve time to paddle or kayak Pine Island Sound or Cayo Costa State Park, keeping an eye out for manatee and other unforgettable marine life. Set out by boat, watching as dolphins jump in your wake, and explore some of Southwest Florida’s most secluded scenery, available only to those with their sea legs. End each day by kicking back and drinking in a pastel sunset like no other.

Fort Myers is located 16 miles from Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), Fort Myers Beach, 20, and Sanibel Island is approximately 30. 

COMING SOON: New Kind Hotels and Kind Charities empowering you to positively impact the local community and environment of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.

KIND FACTORS:

  • 150 Miles of designated bike paths and trails 
  • 1 in 5 jobs supported by tourism
  • 24% of tourism tax is used to maintain beaches
  • Eat Local Lee connects local families with locally produced food 
  • 120K acres of land conserved 
  • Dozens of nature preserves
  • Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail offers 190 miles of non-motorized watercraft areas
  • One of the country’s most sustainable recycling and solid waste management systems
  • Abundant wildlife and several protected species
  • 95% of residents indicated sustainability was important for the future of Lee County