Sanibel-Captiva & Fort Myers Beach, FL  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Sanibel-Captiva & Fort Myers Beach Area Features

Take It All In…While Touring the Islands!

Venture out and you’ll see the best spots around!

A good way to learn about a new area is to enlist the help of the locals. They can take you to places you wouldn’t necessarily find on your own, tell you stories about the area’s past and maybe even give you some insider tips. In Fort Myers Beach and on Sanibel and Captiva, there are plenty of options if you’re interested in taking a guided tour. Or, with a little pre-planning and perhaps a bit of local advice, you can rent a bike or a kayak and discover interesting areas on your own. Whether on land, or by sea you’ll see extraordinary sights and learn some really cool things along the way.

Set Sail for Nature

Does checking out the natural setting around you sound appealing? If so, numerous local boat companies embrace the stunning environment and offer boat tours. Journey into the gulf to see dolphins and other sea creatures while on a leisurely cruise. Dolphin cruises bring you close to the mammals that continually captivate spectators. Their intelligence, communication styles and playful antics have endeared them to many, and the love for these mammals continues to grow. Plus, they’re fun to see in the wild. Closer inshore, you may also get the chance to view some manatees in their natural habitat. Catching a glimpse of the beloved “sea cow” is often a vacation highlight for many area visitors. Board a boat and let an experienced captain take you to the places where these animals of the sea are likely to be found.

Shelling Tours of the Islands

Shelling is a very popular activity on Sanibel and Captiva due to the large variety of shells that come ashore. By going on a shelling tour with an expert, you’ll not only be led to areas that have an impressive amount of shells, but you’ll learn a little bit about your finds. Plus, there are laws that govern shelling—some can’t be collected—so it’s good to have a knowledgeable resource available. You’ll find many guides for a shelling expedition. Some are more scholarly such as the tours led by scientists from the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, while others impart tips on collecting while shellers are escorted to a one of the nearby Pine Islands via boat. Just remember to only take empty shells and never keep a living shell.

Paddle Your Way to New Discoveries

Get close to nature by kayaking or paddling a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) around the waters of Sanibel and Captiva Islands and Fort Myers Beach. These paddlesports are not only peaceful and fun activities but they are also great ways to get some exercise. A few local companies offer tours that will take your group on an adventure into remote areas that visitors typically overlook. Tour guides will share their knowledge of the flora and fauna that you’ll see while paddling along the coastline. There’s a good chance you’ll see manatees on tours like this!

All Aboard the Tram

Probably the most popular eco-tour for area visitors is along Wildlife Drive aboard the tram. Offered by Tarpon Bay Explorers, this 90-minute excursion departs several times a day, stopping along the route to let guests get out and explore. While onboard the tram, sit back in comfort and listen to local lore, brief histories, and wildlife facts. The tram will also take you past mangroves and mudflats while operators talk about the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and point out interesting creatures. Not only does taking the tram cut down on vehicular traffic on Wildlife Drive (reducing our carbon footprint), but ticket sales for the tram benefit the refuge. Plus, you’ll have your hands free to take some photos of the area’s amazing plants and animals.

Zoom Around on a Segway

A unique way to take in the sights is on a Segway tour with Billy’s Rentals. The same benefits offered on a walking tour are available—stopping where you like, lingering over a new sight, and hearing stories and facts from the guide—but you can cover more ground. After a quick lesson in using the Segway, you’ll be zipping off to discover the islands. It’s a fun activity that’s easy for people of all ages to do and it doesn’t require much effort!

Explore on Your Own by Bike!

If your preference is to freely explore and discover the islands on your own, a rental bike is recommended to make the most out of your experience. Numerous shops on the islands rent them (check our coupons for discounts) and some even deliver the bikes to you. Sanibel has over 22 miles of paved bike paths that stretch from one end of the island to the other. Exploring Wildlife Drive by bike is a favorite activity enjoyed by both locals and visitors—and it’s only $1 per person.  Near Tarpon Bay Road, you can stop at local attractions such as the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) with a butterfly house and native plant nursery, the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, and the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) where you can see how scientists and vets work to save local wildlife. Plus, some of the views you’ll encounter along your ride are breathtaking. In addition to water, sunscreen and helmets (mandatory for those under the age of 16), be sure to bring your camera!

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