Ft Myers Beach and Sanibel Island
These are at the top of my favorite family destinations for our family vacations in Florida.
The “Sunshine State” seems to be exactly what we need when we need a break from the Minnesota winters.
Here are my travel tips and suggestions for your next family vacation to Ft Myers Beach and Sanibel Island:
Where to go:
Ft Myers Beach, Sanibel and Captiva Islands
When to go:
Fall or Winter is the best time to go
How long should you stay:
A one week vacation on the beach is perfect!
Recommended places to stay:
Budget place on Ft Myers Beach: The Outrigger The Outrigger has a beautiful and very large white sand beach. Perfect for families. They have efficiencies with full kitchens which I always opt for when traveling with kids. I suggest the Beach Front Efficiency – the views are worth it.
Note: Make sure to check the size beds in the room you are booking if you are tall. The standard guest rooms only have double beds.
High End on Ft Myers Beach: Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina The Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina is a large resort with all the amenities you could need: spa, marina, watersports, kidds kammp, sailing and shopping to list a few. The beach is amazing and the pool is what a kid dreams about. This resort also offers kitchens in all of the villas.
The price is always better than a hotel plus you get the convenience of a kitchen or entire house. You may not always have all the amenities of a resort but you will like you are in a home away from home.
Note: Most Sanibel Island condos has a minimum booking of one week.
Check the reviews for all of these recommendations on www.tripadvisor.com
What are the top things to do and travel tips:
Beaches, beaches and beaches!
Ft Myers Beach Pier has great white soft sand. It is wonderful family beach. Good family food option = Citrola’s Times Square Grill & Pizzeria
Sanibel Island is world renowned for shelling and the secluded beaches. There are no mega resorts here and no huge beach crowds. Parking is sometimes tricky and you do have to pay $6 to go over the Sanibel Causeway but it is well worth it!
One of the most beautiful is Bowman’s Beach. There are a lot of shells in the sand here, bring your watershoes to protect your feet when walking on the beaches.
Arthur Frommer’s (Frommer’s Travel Guides) Favorite Travel Destination Sanibel Island, Florida
This destination topped Bali and Paris, that says quite a lot from a guy who has been everywhere!
Sanibel is a wonderful quaint island with great restaurants (no fast food), shopping, and no traffic lights. Speaking of traffic, it can get really backed up. Get on the island early in the morning and don’t leave the island between 4-6pm, stay and enjoy the sunsets!
Our favorite family restaurant on the island is Cheeburger Cheeburger or the Bubble Room. Our favorite place to shop (no young kids or you will need to keep a close eye on them) is She Sells Sea Shells. Must go through the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge – spectacular birds in the refuge. There are a few alligator lookouts but we didn’t see any.
Captiva Island is very similar to Sanibel and you just have to keep driving on Sanibel-Captiva Road to get to it.
This island is even less crowded and more secluded. Some of the beaches on Captiva have pretty big waves, you can even surf. If you want to get away even further, head to North Captiva Island. After a day at the beach, The Green Flash Waterfront Restaurant on Captiva is great for lunch or dinner.
Lovers Key State Park has a beautiful two mile long beach that you can ride a tram to the different beach areas or walk on a boardwalk. The beaches are great for swimming and there are many picnic areas. You can rent kayaks, canoes and even bikes. There is a small gift shop with snacks and ice cream treats but you should be sure to pack a picnic and make it a day trip with so much to do here.
Lakes Regional Park is one of the top things to do in Fort Myers that is not at a beach. Great family park for all ages of kids. Free entrance, you only pay for parking. There are two splash water areas, one is geared for smaller kids and the other for older kids (under 12). There are two playground areas. There are two ice cream stops. Go to the one by the train, real ice cream is served there and don’t order ice cream if you are going to rent a bike because your time will start but you can’t use the bike until the ice cream is gone. The bike rentals are a fun way to get around the entire park.
Go on the miniature train ride through the north end of the park. We even saw an alligator in the lake while riding on the train. You can go in the Train Museum with a purchase of a train ticket, it has a lot of history in it and the kids love to see all of the train sets. Check out the reviews on Trip Advisor for Lakes Regional Park
Have a great family vacation to Ft Myers Beach and Sanibel Island!
Contact me if you have any questions or would like additional information. I am here to help plan your next family travel destination.