In Southwest Florida, Islandology is always within reach. It’s our way of life. You won’t find high-rises and big crowds, you’ll find endless white-sand beaches, lush wilderness and exotic wildlife. Islandology is about being comfortable with your surroundings and enjoying all the simple pleasures that come with a day at the beach or a night under the stars. Before your family makes the trip, make a few plans. For there are many ways to experience our way of life.
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 collect.
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 family fun and island living that defines Islandology. For a healthy break from the outdoors, open your mind to the IMAG History and Science Center in Fort Myers. This interactive museum has plenty of kid-friendly exhibits to inspire the next generation of scientists. For another deep dive, Sun Splash Family Waterpark in Cape Coral lets you cool off during quality time with the fam. Dozens of water slides, a children’s play pool and lazy river help you squeeze every drop out of vacation. And for a swashbuckling experience where you play a starring role, try Salty Sam’s Pirate Cruise on Fort Myers Beach. Step aboard a 65-foot replica Spanish galleon for this comedy adventure that includes live cannons, a mutiny against the captain, games and plenty of nautical nonsense.
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). The island vacation of your dreams is here, in a destination that’s just a short drive from Miami, Orlando and Tampa.