Outdoor travel adventures are good for the soul. Today’s consumers are craving uplifting, revitalizing and positive travel experiences, and outdoor adventures bathed in year-round brilliant sunshine are an excellent way to satisfy this desire.
Agents seeking a destination for their clients where picturesque surroundings, natural environments and unique wildlife thrive can introduce them to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. Located in Southwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico, this easy-going community of more than 100 islands features countless activities that embrace the best of being outdoors. Here are the top six outdoor adventures in Fort Myers and Sanibel for agents to keep top-of-mind for their clients.
Hit The Beach
The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel is privileged to enjoy 50 miles of natural white-sand beaches where guests of any age can have fun in the sun. In a time of social distancing, wide swaths of beach are very welcoming, allowing visitors to comfortably spread out on sun-splashed shores.
Outdoor activities include swimming in clear and gentle waters, relaxing on the beach, volleyball, and watersports for all skills levels, including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, parasailing, windsurfing, snorkeling, sailing and boating. Island-hopping in Pine Island Sound encourages exploration of Cayo Costa, North Captiva, Cabbage Key and Boca Grande. Scenic views, glimpsing dolphins and schools of fish, lunch on one island and dinner on another are part of the experience.
Beaches brimming with mostly-intact shells beckon visitors to collect these interesting treasures along the sand. Shells in diverse colors and shapes wash up daily on the area’s Gulf shores by the hundred-thousands, and the thrill of the search is part of the appeal. This activity is particularly popular on Sanibel and Captiva islands. Early morning at low tide is best. Visitors can also arrange a private charter to more remote shelling locations.
J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Bird-watching is the main attraction in Sanibel Island’s 7,600-acre J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the U.S. Visitors can bike and hike the trails, and see 245 bird species, plus abundant varieties of plants and animals.
Within the refuge are launch spots to the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, a 190-mile marked trail meandering through scenic coastal waters and inland tributaries in Southwest Florida. Both novice and advanced kayakers and canoers enjoy leisurely gliding along the water while admiring the scenery, shore birds and marine life. Dolphin and manatee sightings are common.
Cayo Costa State Park
Cayo Costa State Park on Cayo Costa Island unfolds along nine miles of untouched beaches. This state park is only accessible via boat or kayak; there are shuttles/ferry service and boat charters to get there from Captiva Island.
Visitors can swim, snorkel and scuba dive off the coastline; fish for flounder, trout, snapper and redfish; search for clam, scallop and oyster shells; and delight in wildlife viewing of manatees, dolphins, sea turtles and shorebirds. Trails for walking, hiking and biking lead through the island’s interior for the chance to see rare and endangered birds. Picnicking under wind-sculpted trees, and camping in cabins near beach and nature trails are also popular family-friendly outdoor pursuits.
Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Journey into the heart of the Everglades in this natural protected wetlands in Estero. The boardwalk winds 2.5 miles through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, around a marsh, and into North America’s largest old-growth Bald Cypress Forest. The stunning rugged beauty is matched by the abundant animals to be discovered – hundreds of alligators, otters, white-tailed deer, red-bellied turtles, and a wide variety of wading birds, songbirds and raptors. Be sure to bring binoculars and your camera while exploring the sanctuary’s unspoiled wilderness.
Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
This wetland preserve in Fort Myers is so named because the slough catches and filters rainwater as it empties into Estero Bay. Spanning 3,500 acres, the preserve is home to a diverse collection of plants and animals. Travelers quietly observe gopher tortoises, alligators, turtles, otters, and more than 400 types of birds in the area surrounding the trails. There is also a 1.2-mile boardwalk and five observation decks within the park.
Rotary Park, Preserve and Butterfly Garden
Part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, the 97-acre Rotary Park, Preserve and Butterfly Garden in Cape Coral welcomes visitors seeking good-for-the-soul strolls. Embarking on rugged trails brings into view gopher tortoises, alligators, snakes and migratory birds. Travelers who climb observation towers are rewarded with postcard-worthy views. The wheelchair-accessible Glover Bright Trail passes though mangrove wetlands. Travelers can also tour the Tom Allen Memorial Butterfly House.
These immersive outdoor adventures are just some of the many reasons why visitors are inspired to book vacations on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. The area’s natural treasures make it easy for agents to sell the destination to families, couples, adventure enthusiasts and all types of travelers seeking to revitalize the spirit and make incredible memories.