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Floridas Beaches at the Gulf of Mexico


Beaches


Pristine white sand scattered liberally with colorful shells of infinite variety allow the visitor to feel they are truly in paradise. Whether you’re looking for great shelling, abundant fishing or a romantic private retreat, nothing can equal a day along Southwest Florida’s beautiful shoreline.



1. Cape Coral Yacht Club Community Park /

"Cape Coral Beach"

Dolphin Drive, approx. 5 ml / 10 min from our house. The Yacht Club Community Park is located directly on the Caloosahatchee River in a beautifully landscaped setting. The public beach offers visitors 634 feet of pristine beach with picnic shelters, BBQ grills, restrooms, fishing pier, playground area, restaurant and marina. Other on site amenities include free racquetball courts, shuffleboard courts, horseshoe pits, and public boat ramp.

The pool is a heated, outdoor facility open to the public 7 days a week with a daily admission fee.

Swim classes are offered for ages 6 months through adult, along with deep water aerobics and arthritis exercise. Call 542-3903 for more information.


Cape Coral Yacht & Racquet Club

The Yacht & Racquet Club has one tennis pro and three assistant pros on staff and offers both private and group lessons and league play. A junior program and lessons are also available for children of all ages. The pro shop features clothing, equipment and gifts along with racquet stringing. Memberships can be purchased, non-members pay a daily fee to participate.

Call 574-0808 for more information


2. Bowditch Point Regional Park

Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, approx. 14 ml / 26 min

This lovely 17-acre park fronts both the beach and the bay, welcoming the visitor with an unspoiled wide sandy beach and beautiful views of nearby barrier islands. There is parking available behind the pavillion.

Beach lovers can also catch the trolley from the Main Street Park and Ride parking lot, which runs every 15 minutes. Do not forget you repellant!


3. Lynn Hall Memorial Park

Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, approx. 14 ml / 26 min

A great family beach, Lynn Hall Memorial Park at Fort Myers Beach is also a favorite among teenagers and young people. The centerpiece of the park, Fort Myers Beach Pier, is awash with fishermen and local waterfowl. The pelicans especially enjoy the pier, and every post seems to have its prerequisite occupant perched on top. The proximity of the beach to shops and restaurants gives it added appeal. Easy metered parking available at Mango Street, just south of the park.


Beaches


4. Bunche Beach

John Morris Road, Punta Rassa, approx. 14 ml / 25 min

While not located along the gulf, Fort Myers does possess a wonderful bayside beach known as Bunche Beach. Few tourists find their way here, although it's fairly well known to locals. This makes it a great beach for people looking to avoid the crowds at nearby Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel. The wide sand beach attracts families and young people, who bring their dogs, fishing poles and picnics, then spend the day.


5. Lover's Key State Recreation Area

Estero Blvd.,Ft Myers Beach/Bonita Beach, approx. 18 ml / 35 min

The beach is our favorite of all the beaches in Southwest Florida. You pay an entrance fee which includes non-limited parking and the trolley ride to the beach. Restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables, seat in the shadow, barbecue grill. The beach gradient is shallow, which allows for safe shallow water play for smaller children.

Canoe rental and beach chair rental is available. Acres of nature trails and pristine beaches make Lover's Key one of Florida's best beachfront parks. Here you can canoe along mangrove lined estuaries, walk miles of secluded, white sand beaches, hike along miles of wetland trails, and enjoy hours of nature study. Many species of waterfowl call the park home, and sightings of the endangered manatee are frequent along the shore and in the nearby waterways. Located in southern Lee County just south of Fort Myers Beach, the park also offers some of the area's best fishing... Depending on the season do not forget you repellant!


6. Bonita Beach

Hickory Blvd, Bonita Beach, approx. 22 ml / 45 min

A toned-down version of its neighbor to the north, Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Beach offers the visitor beautiful coastline combined with a quiet, homey atmosphere.


7. Little Hickory Island Beach

Hickory Blvd to the south, Bonita Beach, ca. 27 ml / 50 min

Ten beach access points are located along three miles of Hickory Blvd., some with parking and some for pedestrian traffic only. High sand quality and general peace and quiet make these great places to go and just enjoy the beach. Be sure to bring a cooler, as most of the beach access points have no concessions or nearby stores.

SANIBEL
Directions: Cape Coral Bridge to Fort Myers, onto McGregor Blvd. south direction. Follow the signs "Sanibel / Captiva" pass Sanibel Causeway. The toll to cross the Sanibel Causeway onto the island is $6 per car; there is no toll to return to the mainland.

8. Causeway Beaches

Sanibel Causeway, approx. 17 ml / 30 min

Located on both sides of the causeway to Sanibel, this beach is a great place to catch sight of dolphins playing in the bay. The sand is hard packed, so bring a chair. Renowned for its great fishing, anglers line the shore during early morning and evening hours. The causeway attracts crowds at sunset because visitors can easily drive to the edge of the beach for spectacular views.


Sanibel und Captiva

Twelve miles of breathtakingly beautiful beaches run along the south face of Sanibel Island, creating one of the most sought after vacation locations in Florida. In addition to its relaxing atmosphere, Sanibel has consistently been voted the best place for shell collecting in the United States, and the third best in the world. As you walk along the shoreline, it's easy to observe shell seekers meandering along hunched over in the posture the locals have nicknamed the "Sanibel stoop." While much of the gulf front property is privately owned, five public beach areas make it well worth the drive (and the bridge toll) if you're not staying on the island.


9. Lighthouse Beach & Fishing Pier

Sanibel Causeway links, Periwinkle Way, approx. 19 ml  / 35 min. Located on the southern tip of Sanibel by the historic Sanibel Lighthouse, this is a great family beach. A shell and animal guide located in a hut along the path to the lighthouse explains some of the objects you'll find along the beach, and a nature trail and fishing pier offer additional points of interest. Parking lots directly on the beach vicinity.


10. Gulfside City Park

Periwinkel Way, links in Casa Ybel Rd, approx. 19 ml  / 35 min. There are picnic tables, BBQ, restrooms, showers.


11. Tarpon Bay Beach

West Gulf Drive, approx. 24 ml / 50 min. Short walking distance - approximately 10 minutes - from the parking lot.


12. Bowman's Beach

Sanibel-Captiva Rd left onto Bowman's Beach Road, approx. 27 ml / 55 min. From the parking lot you have to pass a bridge to the white beaches - approximately 8 minutes walk. Outdoor shower and BBQ available.


CAPTIVA

Situated at the north end of Captiva Road, Captiva Beach is the most popular beach access on Captiva Island. Small groves of trees grow right up to the wide, slightly gray beach creating an atmosphere of isolation and timelessness. Vacationers and locals alike can spend many a happy hour meandering this wild setting. As on the rest of the barrier islands, sea turtles occasionally nest on Captiva Beach between May and November.


13. Turner's Beach (Blind Pass)

Blind Pass Bridge, ca. 26 ml / 1:00 h

Once one island until a hurricane in 1926 split them, Captiva and North Captiva Islands are unsurpassed in their natural beauty and serenity. Sparsely populated and densely wooded, the islands offer six miles of relatively unspoiled beaches. Captiva is connected to Sanibel by bridge, making it easily accessible. North Captiva can be reached only by private boat or through one of the charter services on Captiva.


14. Captiva Beach

Sanibel-Captiva Road, ca. 30 ml / 1:10 h

Situated at the north end of Captiva Road, Captiva Beach is the most popular beach access on Captiva Island. Small groves of trees grow right up to the wide, slightly gray beach creating an atmosphere of isolation and timelessness. Vacationers and locals alike can spend many a happy hour meandering this wild setting. As on the rest of the barrier islands, sea turtles occasionally nest on Captiva Beach between May and November.





Insider Tips:


Gasparilla Island is a barrier island located in southwest Florida between Fort Myers and Sarasota. The largest town on the island is Boca Grande and the island is also the site of the Gasparilla Island State Park. It is one of several barrier islands extending along the Florida Gulf Coast and it is separated from the mainland by Charlotte Harbor and the Pine Island Sound. Gasparilla Island is considered one of the most beautiful Barrier Islands on the Gulf Coast. According to folklore, Gasparilla Island got its name from Jose Gaspar, a famous local pirate who had his base on the island and is said to have hid his immense treasure there. Gasparilla became an important stop for phosphate shipping until the dredging of the Port of Tampa and a major vacation destination for the wealthy from Tampa and Fort Myers. Shipping dramatically declined after the turn of the 20th century, but tourism remains very important to the island's local economy.

Access to Gasparilla Island is via the Boca Grande Causeway at CR775 and Placida (the ride takes approx. 1,5 h, 60 ml) - or by boat. Condominiums and modern homes sprawl along the island, although the town of Boca Grande looks much as it did for a century or more. Although quiet and peaceful most of the year, the island’s relaxed atmosphere is disrupted in Spring when fishermen descend with a vengeance on the island that is considered one of the best tarpon fishing spots in the world. A world class tournament celebrates the annual tarpon run each July. On Gasparilla Island, gorgeous white sand beaches leads to the turquoise waters of the Gulf, where swimming, shelling, fishing, sailing, surfing and scuba diving are just some of the activities available. One of the island’s most interesting features is the still-working US Coast Guard wooden lighthouse, built in 1890. It is located on the southern end of the island in the Gasparilla Island Lighthouse and State Recreation Area, and is open to the public daily from November to April, and Monday through Friday from May to October. This area has a very scenic view of Boca Grande Pass, a swift waterway that is the entrance to Charlotte Harbor. Two picnic areas in the park offer pavilions and scenic views of the water.

... and if you are wondering how an iguana might look, here you will find the answer. They are totally harmless. Please do not trap iguanas - they are herbivores, and although they can get big, they’re really nothing to worry about.