USA, Florida: The Beaches of Ft. Myers & Sanibel | Lee County

Kategorie: Spotlight on ...,Venues

As of June 2011

The Visitors & Convention Bureau states:

*The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel* includes 9 distinct areas on the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands
Fort Myers Beach
Fort Myers
North Fort Myers
Bonita Springs & Estero
Cape Coral
Pine Island
Boca Grande & Outer Islands
Lehigh Acres

Each area has its own personality and special attractions. Separately, they give you a unique opportunity to enjoy a vacation that matches your interests … together they offer a faraway tropical paradise that´s easy to reach.

On The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, you´ll escape to a world where white-sand beaches stretch as far as you can see, and the shore is lined with exotic seashells. It´s a world of tropical wildlife, spectacular sunsets over sparkling crystal blue waters and hundreds of islands to explore.

Experience Florida the way it used to be … with unspoiled natural beauty, and a quieter, unhurried pace; all in a warm, inviting tropical ambiance. While you may choose to spend your time just relaxing on our beaches, we offer so many other activities and adventures, and there is always something fun to do for every member of your family.


And this is just so true.

Although we had 9 days to spend in Southwest Florida these 9 days went by in just a blink of the eye. Of course you rather need a lifetime to experience all the beauty, the diversity and the spectacular nature of Southwest Florida.

Therefore our schedule was quite tight.

We visited Naples, Marco Island and The Everglades.

One day we drove past Bonita Beach, on to Dog Island, across to beautiful Lover´s Key State Park and further on towards Fort Myers Beach. Beaches and cities – as colorful and diverse as you can imagine. From the quiet villages to the In-Locations, where bars and pubs are filled with people. Beachtime. Pastime. Do as you please. Anything is possible.

In case you want to spend time exploring some of the history, this is what you should put on your schedule:

“Without a doubt, the most famous homes in the Fort Myers/Sanibel area are those of winter residents Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, located on 17 acres at the gateway to downtown Fort Myers on McGregor Boulevard. For years, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates have been among the area´s most popular man-made attractions, with guided tours of the homes and gardens of the icons who lived there.

Built in 1886, both the main home and guesthouse on Edison´s 14-acre estate are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Even the road fronting the estates is historically significant. For 15 miles, the boulevard is lined with towering royal palm trees, the first 200 of which were imported from Cuba and planted by Edison himself.f

Visitors tour the inventor´s two-story home, office, laboratory and expermintal gardens, all of which have been meticulously preserved and maintained as when Edison was alive. While the estate´s museum features rare antique automobiles, photographs and exhibits of some of his nearly 1,100 patents, the gardens remain lush with rare, tropical vegetation, including a banyan tree that measures 400 feet around. It´s reputed to be the largest of its kind in the U.S. His friend, industrialist Harvey Firestone, gave the banyan tree to Edison.

Automobile magnate Henry Ford purchased the three-acre estate next door to Edison´s in 1916. Named *Mangoes*, the home has undergone extensive renovation to restore it to the days when Ford and his wife Clara lived there. In addition to tours of the home, visitors also may view a 1914 Model T, a 1917 Ford truck and a 1929 Model A.” (by Lee County, Visitor & Convention Bureau, FL)

We did not have the chance to visit Edison´s and Ford´s sites but upon departure from Fr. Myers we were lucky to see an exhibition at the airport:

Another day went by in Cape Coral. Beautiful homes, waterways. (I learned that Cape Coral has more canals then Venice, Italy). Cape Harbor. Cruising around the Rose Garden area. So beautiful.

And a wonderful and extremely tasty lunch at The Joint. Delicious food, perfect service, awesome location: Highly recommended!

There are many shopping opportunities as well: Miromar Outlets (recommendable) and Tanger Outlets, just to name two of the multitude of shopping malls.

Most of our time we spend exploring Sanibel and Captiva. Once you cross the bridge to Sanibel Island you find a Visitor Center to your right. Stop by and take some brochures and maps to get acquainted with the location, as there is so much to see and do on these two islands.

First of all they are very famous for their extraordinary shells.

*When Anne Morrow Lindbergh visited Captiva Island and penned her famous book, “Gift From the Sea,” in 1955, she wrote: “The beach was covered with beautiful shells and I could not let one go by unnoticed. I couldn’t even walk head up looking out to sea, for fear of missing something precious at my feet.” (by Lee County, Visitor & Convention Bureau, FL)

Shell seekers come from all over the world to assume the famous *Sanibel Stoop* or *Captiva Crouch* position to find those precious gifts from the sea. And *YES*, we did, too.

*She Sells Sea Shells* is a famous shop on Sanibel to purchase some of the wonderful shells. If you want to have a closer look at the largest collection of shells in North America stop by at The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum ( ).

For more information on shelling please check on

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel:

“This 6.400-acre wildlife refuge, named for Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and pioneer environmentalist Jay Norwood Darling, features wonderful bird watching spots, delightful footpaths, winding canoe trails and three trails that can be accessed from Wildlife Drive. The four mile, round-trip Indigo Trail leaves from the Education Center parking lot and ends at the cross-dike, which extends from the Drive. Along the trail, visitors often spot wildlife such as alligators, night heron, or white ibis. The Wulfert Keys Trail off the Drive is a ¼ mile trail leading to a view of Pine Island Sound. The Shell Mound Trail is a ¼ mile, universally accessible, interpretive boardwalk where visitors learn about the ancient Calusa Indian tribe and the native vegetation while reading interpretive panels along the boardwalk.” (by Lee County, Visitor & Convention Bureau, FL)

Some of J.N. *Ding* Darling´s cartoons you can admire at ´Tween Waters Inn.

We took the drive one late afternoon and it was wonderful. Not the least crowded. We could take our time to stay at one of the lakes and watch the magnificent wildlife. YES: Highly recommended.

Unfortunately there were no Olive Garden Restaurants on either Sanibel or Captiva. Well, therefore we had to check out the local eateries as well. Which we did.

Lazy Flamingo,  Sanibel: A nice location with good seafood.

We visited the second location as well (on the right hand side before you leave Sanibel and get to Captiva), but did not even order there and left again as we did not feel comfortable there.

The Island Cow: Our favorite restaurant. We lunched and dined there several times. Good quality, good prices, and –most of the time- good service! Highly recommended. (Please visit: )

Finally our vacation came to an end. Unfortunately. We had a great time, especially on Sanibel / Captiva.

This is definitely a destination I want to return to and which I can highly recommend in case you are looking for quietness, relaxation, beach, nature and wildlife.

Of course there are still so many things we haven’t seen or done: One of the reasons we WILL return 😉