From secluded islands to stunning beaches and world-class sunsets, we all can agree that Southwest Florida is a boater’s paradise. Cruising through the waters, feeling the sunshine on your skin, and relaxing on the beach is one of the best ways to unwind. Here’s our top five boating destinations you MUST visit if you’re looking to create memories with your family, and experience the GOOD life!
Introducing the seashell capital of the world: Sanibel Island! This dreamy spot is an outdoor-lovers paradise, and arguably one of the most popular boating spots here in SWFL. Boasting 15 miles of pristine beach, visitors can discover 250 varieties of colorful shells to bring back home- just make sure you bring a bucket too! If seashells aren’t your thing, there’s also various adventures to choose from, like fishing, snorkeling and camping. But before your trip ends, you must visit the historic Sanibel Lighthouse. It’s located on the eastern end of the island, and truly captures how alluring this destination really is!
This slice of paradise is located just North of Sanibel Island, which makes a great destination for those who enjoy ‘island-hopping.’ This smaller island is a haven of tropic bliss, free from the tourist feel like many other Florida beaches. Unlike Sanibel, Captiva Island possesses its own distinct charm, but both offer many activities for those who enjoy the outdoors, like biking, paddle-boarding, bird watching and snorkeling. It’s also home to the world famous Bubble Room Restaurant, known for its quirky, whimsical atmosphere and over-the-top desserts! No trip to Captiva Island will be complete without a stop at this gem.
3. Cayo Costa
Only accessible by boat, this remote and romantic island is located along the Gulf of Mexico just west of Fort Myers. Cayo Costa is Florida in the raw, featuring all it’s natural beauty of pristine, white-sand beaches, piles of seashells and wildlife. This 2,426 acre state park also features wooded trails for hiking and mountain biking. There’s even a collection of quaint cabins and tents if you decide you want to campout for the night!
4. Boca Grande
If you love fishing, you have to check this spot out! Just north of Captiva Island, Boca Grande is the Tarpon Fishing Capital of the world. Each year between April and August, thousands of tarpons harbor here to feed on the crab and shrimp populations. This sweet, little beach town is also home to the Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum, Paradise Island Gallery (for the art lovers), and the Boca Grande Bike Path. There are endless activities for the whole family to indulge in. Full of historic buildings, charming cafés and miles of gorgeous beaches, Boca Grande is definitely worth a visit!
5. Lovers Key/ Estero Bay
We guarantee you’ll fall in love with Lovers Key. This two-mile long beach is home to various wildlife, like dolphins, manatees, bald eagles and many migratory birds. Visitors have access to nature/ biking trails, picnicking, and you can even canoe if you’d like. However you decide to explore this park, you’ll be experiencing one of the most beautiful, tranquil spots Florida has to offer.