Whether it’s chartering a fishing boat, going on a shelling tour or kayaking through shaded mangroves, life on the water is essential to Islandology. The warm Gulf of Mexico makes for a nonstop day of island hopping or an eventful day on the beach. Those same waters also bring the perfect souvenirs – seashells. Sanibel Island is known as the shelling capital of the world, thanks to the hundreds of shells that wash ashore every day. With so many different kinds and colors to pick up, you’ll find countless keepsakes to combine into a collection of your own.
Nature is a large part of Islandology, too. Hundreds of uninhabited islands dot our coast, each with their own ecosystems and wildlife just waiting to be discovered. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is home to hundreds of species of exotic birds and sea life, all viewable from your vehicle on the four-mile Wildlife Drive. Or, follow the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve boardwalk. This 1.2-mile elevated trail is a great way to explore Florida’s wetlands without getting your feet wet.
Aside from nature, Southwest Florida has a unique blend of romantic escapes and city life that defines Islandology. For years, Lovers Key State Park was accessible only by boat, and it was said that only lovers traveled to the island to bask on its remote beach. Today, it’s still a secluded getaway for couples, great for shelling, swimming and spotting wildlife like manatees and dolphins.
After time alone, explore the Fort Myers’ River District where a thriving arts and entertainment scene includes several galleries and theaters downtown. You’ll find much more than the usual watering hole — laid-back bars are serving delectable cuisine and delicious drinks provided by expert mixologists. Finally, cap the evening with a quiet walk along the wide, inviting sands of Fort Myers Beach and the Gulf of Mexico, the perfect time to reminisce about the day and plan every step together for tomorrow.
With so many ways to explore Islandology on The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, it’s worth staying awhile to do it right. Whether you choose a vacation rental or traditional accommodations like a hotel or resort, you’ll find a variety of lodging options to suit any budget. And it’s all close to Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), where a multitude of direct flights are available daily.
The island vacation of your dreams is here, in a destination that’s just a short drive from Miami, Orlando and Tampa. To start planning your trip, visit FortMyers-Sanibel.com.