Sand Sculpture

fort myers & sanibel accolades

We’re proud of our community, and not without good reason. The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel are consistently named among top vacation destinations in the United States, thanks to the beautiful locale and the welcoming residents. Here are the awards and accolades to prove it.

Traveling Mom: 11 best places to travel in the Eastern U.S. in 2018 

Captiva, Fl. - (Jan. 1, 2018)

Just off the Gulf coast of Florida, you’ll find two beautiful islands surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches in the U.S. These islands are a great option if you want to avoid busy theme parks and spring break crowds. While Sanibel and Captiva Islands may have a more relaxed atmosphere, there is far more to do than sunbathing and sipping umbrella drinks. These islands provide excellent activity choices for families looking for a bit of adventure while on vacation. On these islands, you’ll want to ditch the car, to walk, bike, parasail, and much more! 

Trip Advisor: 30 top USA cities to visit in 2018 

Cape Coral, Fl. - (Jan. 2, 2018)

Looking for a picture-perfect Florida city vacation? Try this laid-back boating community known as "The Cape," with miles of canals to explore and stunning sunrises to be seen over the Caloosahatchee River. There’s also the Sun Splash Family Water Park, golfing, tennis, and easy access to pretty Sanibel Island and the surrounding Gulf beaches.

Architectural Digest: The 9 most stunning islands off U.S. shores 

Gasparilla Island, Fl. - (Jan. 2, 2018)

The Florida Keys may be more famous, but that just means this barrier island off the Gulf Coast remains a secret hideaway for insiders. It’s been a low-key luxury vacation spot since J. P. Morgan and the Vanderbilts started visiting in the pre-Prohibition days. Check into the Gasparilla Inn for a taste of that Jazz Age life.

Coastal Living: 20 best places to live on the coast in 2018 

Captiva, Fl. - (Jan. 2018)

If you are a nature fanatic, you may never want to leave this five-mile isle known for its quirky neighborhood feel. With just one main road running corkscrew-like along its length, Captiva’s wild wetland gifts reveal themselves from the deck of a paddleboard, the cockpit of a kayak, or the seat of a canoe. And while the island is home to an opulent collection of homes along its “Gold Coast” at the southern end, the official Captiva uniform is absolutely shorts and flip-flops. 

The best places to travel to in the U.S. in February 

Fort Myers, Fl. - (Jan. 14, 2018)

It’s peak bird-watching season in south Florida, and the sightings are best along a secluded coastline near Fort Myers. Known for its relaxed way of life, Sanibel — sixty percent of which is protected for wildlife — offers a wealth of stunning natural scenery (not to mention pristine turquoise beaches). Birdwatchers should head to J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge to spot rare Purple Gallinules or Roseate Spoonbills. Up for more wildlife? February is also the peak time for seeing manatees, hundreds of whom show up to enjoy the Gulf’s warm waters.

9 best family beach vacation destinations for families 

Sanibel & Captiva - (Jan. 20, 2018)

There are so many beaches that feel private and secluded on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, located right outside of Fort Myers. My favorite spot to take the kids is near the Sanibel Lighthouse where the waves are calm and the shells are plentiful. Rent bikes for a day to explore the entire island, making sure to stop at the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Center. Our family’s favorite beach to watch the sunset is at the Mucky Duck in Captiva. The Sanibel SeaSchool is an interactive way to get the kids involved in marine ecosystems while having fun.  
Where to stay: The South Seas Island Resort will be the luxurious island escape of your dreams. This expansive resort has everything you need on property for the entire family to have an excellent beach vacation. 

25 Best pet-Friendly Vacations in America 

Fort Myers & Sanibel - (Jan. 23, 2018)

We love Fort Myers for its great shopping, fishing, and beaches. Bring Fido to Barkingham Dog Park or Woof-a-Hatchee Dog Park, both fenced and off-leash parks with watering stations and separate areas for big and small dogs. Two of the more fascinating attractions in the area are the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Though not dog-friendly, we’d be remiss to leave them unmentioned. These neighboring properties were the winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, and you can still explore the laboratory, homes, and gardens. With a pet-friendly rental, it’ll be no problem to leave your dog at the house while you experience these and other great Fort Myers attractions. Just be sure to bring them a treat when you return!

MSN: The Best Chocolate Shop in Every State for 2018

Fort Myers - (Feb. 13, 2018)

There are a lot of reasons to visit Florida, but Norman Love Confections in Fort Myers is right up there with Disney World and the beach. The chocolates here are pure art, with expert marbling and brilliant colors in each and every bonbon, and the taste is similarly world-class.

Norman Love Confections

VIVA Lifestyles & Travel: The World’s Best Hotels in Every U.S. State, Mapped

Boca Grande (Feb. 25, 2018)

Now I love a hotel stay as much as the next person, but time after time I've checked in with high hopes and left feeling — well — a little underwhelmed. This may have something to do with me leaving travel plans to the last minute, but having spoken to several hotel bookers, I know it's a common story.

Florida - The Gasparilla Inn & Club


Travel Channel: Best Pet-Friendly Beaches

Dog Beach - (Feb. 2018)

Can dogs get sunburned? Are doggie sunglasses a yuppie perversion or genuinely helpful? Are all pooches natural swimmers? These are the kinds of questions that keep beach-loving dog owners up at night. (In case you were wondering, the answers are: definitely, genuinely helpful, and not necessarily.) Check with your vet or a website such as for more info on keeping your pet safe on the shore and in the water.

Dog Beach, Fort Myers Beach, Florida

At Dog Beach, a county park specially designated for dogs and their owners, dogs can roam leash-free from dawn to dusk. There's even a Kayak With Canine program so you and your furry pal can paddle off into the sunset together. There are no restroom facilities for humans, and no running water for either species, so come prepared.

Travel Channel: 10 Terrific U.S. Beach Festivals to Check Out

Captiva, Sanibel, Downtown Ft. Myers - (Feb. 2018)

For those who think the beach is boring, plan your coastal getaway around a sand castle contest, multi-day concert, kite-flying extravaganza or even a mullet tossing competition (yes, you read that right).

Come hear the next hottest act at Island Hopper Songwriter Fest in September. Various venues and beaches in Fort Myers and Captiva Island showcase up-and-coming performers and those just taking a break from touring with national acts. Think Jimmy Buffett in Nashville with Florida sand and perfect sunsets

Island Hopper Songwriter Music Fest

Odyssey: 7 Best Breakfast Spots in Southwest Florida

Fort Myers - (March 21, 2018)

The best breakfast spots in Southwest Florida. I try to write what I'm passionate about and this week I am getting down to the basics and writing about what makes my heart happy — food. More specifically, breakfast!

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and is arguably the best meal of the day as well. Next time you wake up hungry (I'll be honest, I wake up hungry every day) skip the normal IHOP chain and try one of my favorite breakfast spots in SWFL. Your stomach will thank you later.

Amy’s Over Easy, Bennett’s Fresh Roast, Bonita Brunch, Marti’s Family Dining, McGregor Café, Munch Box, Sunflower Café

BEST: The 50 Most Beautiful Beaches for a Sunny Getaway

Sanibel - (March 30)

Sometimes you just need a sunny beach and a frosty drink ASAP. We totally get it. What's that feeling we're envisioning with beautiful waterfront views and the sand between our toes? That's right: It's called RELAXATION. Here are some of the best beaches to book a vacation to right now.

Sanibel Island is a low-key spot on Florida's west coast that's known for its beautiful shells. People come from all over to do the "Sanibel stoop," which is what island dwellers call combing the beaches for one-of-a-kind nautical finds. 

Sanibel Island, Sundial Beach Resort and Spa, West Wind Inn