Image of logo for a Cape Coral home rental agency

Best Beaches in Fort Myers & Sanibel Island

Top 10 Beaches in Fort Myers & Sanibel Island

The beaches of the Fort Myers Cape Coral area combine to make this Southwest Florida area one of the United States most popular tourist destinations.  Whether you're on a family vacation or you're a spring breaker, Fort Myers and Sanibel beaches offer something for everyone.   Let our top ten beaches in Fort Myers guide help you determine the best beach for you.

There are numerous pet friendly beaches on Sanibel Island.  Sanibel allows leashed pets as long as you clean up after them.  Captiva Island does not allow pets.  Dog Beach Park located on Fort Myers Beach also allows leashed pet.  Most allow fishing such as the beaches located on Sanibel Island.  

Most of the area beaches have rest room facilities and offer outdoor showers.  Below you will find a description and list of amenities that each location has to offer.
Top Ten Beach in Fort Myers

Fort Myers Beaches
Sanibel & Captiva Beaches
Cape Coral Beaches
Pet Friendly
Fort Myers Beach Map Guide

Sanibel & Captiva Island Beaches

The beaches on Sanibel and Captiva Island are known as some of the best beaches in the United States for beach combers.   The island beaches are an absolute Mecca for shelling.  

The shallow waters just off shore create the ideal conditions for waves to deposit a fresh new batch of shells on a daily basis.  If you get there early in the morning you will almost be guaranteed to discover an abundance of new shells.  Captiva has some of the more remote beaches that offer better shelling since the competition won't be as fierce.

Click here for current parking rates for Sanibel Island beach parking

Light House Beach & Pier

This Sanibel beach is one of the most popular beaches on Sanibel Island due to it's location and amenities.  The beach can be crowded at times depending on the season.

The beach features BBQ grills, water fountains, picnic tables, outdoor showers, rest rooms, fishing and a nice nature walk.

There is ample parking available with lots located on both sides of the island, which costs $5 per hour.   Parking hours are limited to 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.  Handicap parking is available free of charge.

There is a very good fishing pier located on the east side of the beach off the southern tip of the island.   Fishing can be excellent at times.

Leashed pets are allowed provided no doggie doo land mines are left behind.
Image of a top ten beach on Sanibel Island Fl - Light House Beach

Gulfside City Park Beach

Gulfside Beach is a little more secluded beach than many of the other beaches on Sanibel, mainly due to the limited parking area, so get there early.

Parking is by the hour for $5 and offers 3 free handicap spaces.
There are rest rooms available and an outside shower area.

There are a few picnic tables and BBQ grills available.  Pets are welcome as long as they are leashed and you clean up any mess.

The Thistle Lodge restaurant is located just a short walk down the beach.   The Beach is located on Algiers Ln just off Casaa Ybel road.
Top ten Fort Myers area beach - Gulfside City Park Beach

Tarpon Beach

Tarpon Beach offers hourly parking for $5 per hour.  Parking is limited and a bit of a walk from the beach area.   There are a few spots available for Rv's and there are also 3 free handicap parking spots closer to the beach.

There are rest rooms and an outdoor shower available by the handicap parking area.  Bike racks are available for free at the beach entrance.

Leashed pets are allowed provided nothing is left behind.   There are a few resort restaurants nearby if you don't mind the walk.

The beach is located mid island at the west end of Tarpon Bay Road off West Gulf Dr.
Image of best beach on Sanibel Island - Tarpon Beach

Bowmans Beach

Bowmans Beach is one of the best and more secluded beaches on Sanibel.  You won't find any hotels or resorts on Bowmans.  You can walk a long ways on the north end of the beach before running back into civilization.

There is a sizable parking lot available with a short walk to access the beach.  Parking is $5 per hour.   There are a few oversize parking spots available for Rv's and seven handicap spaces which are free.

There are rest rooms, showers, changing area, and picnic tables with BBQ grills available.  Pets are welcome provided they are on a leash.

The area has a place to launch a kayak by the parking lot and offers a great place to kayak in the large back water lake known as Clam Bayou.

Bowmans also offers a very nice nature trail that stretches for quite a ways.   The beach is located on Bowman Beach Rd to the west of Sanibel Captiva Rd.
Bowmans Beach on Sanibel Island Fl

Turner Beach (Blind Pass)

Turner Beach is located on both sides of the Blind Pass Bridge, on Sanibel & Captiva Island.   There are two small parking lots available on both sides of the bridge for $5 per hour.

Turner Beach is one of the most popular spots for fisherman and beach combers.  Fishing can be very good from off the Blind Pass bridge or from the shore in the narrow Blind Pass channel.

This is also an excellent and convenient place to kayak.   This beach can be a dangerous place to swim because of the current created by the Blind Pass channel, depending on the tides.

Restrooms and showers are located on the Captiva side of the bridge.   There is one free handicap parking spot located on both sides of the bridge.

Leashed pets are welcome on the Sanibel side only,  provided you clean up after them.  There are a couple of good restaurants close to the beach on the Sanibel side.
Best beach on Sanibel Island - Turner Beach

Captiva Beach (Alison Hagerup Park)

Captiva Island Beach is located on Captiva Island at the end of Captiva Drive.   Amenities are limited.  There are porta potties and a few picnic tables.  This is one of the best beaches for finding sea shells.

Parking spots are limited and the following rates apply:
2 hours - $5,  3 hrs - $7,   4 hrs - $8,   5 hrs - $10
If you're luckey enough to find a parking spot be sure to check out the Mucky Duck restaurat, which is located just a short walk to the south on the beach.
Pets are not allowed on any of the Captiva beaches.
Image of the best beach on Captiva Island - Captiva Beach

Sanibel Causeway Beaches

The causeway beaches are a great place to watch dolphins, fish, windsurf or just relax in the sun.

The Sanibel Causeway beaches are some of the most convenient beaches to access.  

The beaches are some of the favorites for fisherman and kayaking due to the easy access.   (Parking spots are within a few feet of the water.)   The fishing can be very good at times depending on the time of year and with the right tides.

There is ample and free parking right off the main road.   There are picnic tables, rest rooms and drinking fountains.

Grilling is allowed and leashed pets are welcome.   Alcoholic beverages and boat launching (motorized) are not allowed.

Best beachs in Fort Myers - Sanibel Causeway Beach

Fort Myers Beaches

The beaches on Fort Myers Beach are much more suited for spring breakers and tourists who want to be where the action is.

The beaches have a bevy of amenities and offer many beach front bars and restaurants.  There are many hotels and resorts located right on the beach.  There are quite a few private and public parking lots available, with the majority being located on the northern side of the island.

There are numerous buses and trams that run constantly throughout the day all along Estero Blvd for the entire length of Fort Myers Beach and Estero Island
There is a FREE tram that is offered from February 12 that runs through April 11, 2018.

The tram has a number of open air cars and is the great way to travel from your hotel or parking lot to all the Fort Myers Beach attractions, shopping spots, and favorite restaurant / watering holes.

The popular Beach Tram connects with Lee County's Tran’s Beach Park & Ride Trolley (Route 490) and the Beach Trolley (Route 410).    The route 490 and 410 trolleys provide transportation to the southern end of Fort Myers Beach and they connect to Lovers Key State Park beaches.

Trolleys are very inexpensive at:   $0.75 per ride, $2 per day or $4 for a 3-Day pass.

Click here to view the beach tram & trolley pick up schedules & travel route maps.
Top ten beach in Fort Myers Bowditch Beach

Bowditch Point Park Beach

Bowditch Point Park consists of a seventeen acre parcel of undeveloped land on the north end of Estero Island.   Seven of the acres consist of recreational park area and the other ten acres are a restored preserve area that has numerous walking and bird watch trails meandering through out.

The beach is a great place to escape the hustle and activity of nearby Fort Myers beach.  Unfortunately they do not allow pets in any of the county parks.

Bowditch is a great place to have a picnic with numerous tables and BBQ grills scattered about.  Parking is available at a very reasonable $2 per hour.  Both the tram & trolley lines offer pickups at the entrance to the park.

There is also a ten slip first come first serve boat dock available that is FREE of charge.  The docks can accommodate vessels up to 28' foot in length.   There is no overnight dockage allowed.

There is no fishing allowed allowed on the boat side of the dock  but there is a second pier where fishing is allowed.

The beach features an outdoor pavilion, toilets, outdoor showers and is handicap accessable.   There is a reasonably priced snack consession available.
Best Beach in Fort Myers - Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach is the most popular, busiest and touristy of all the Fort Myers area beaches.  The beach is almost seven miles long and features pristine powdery white sand.

Fort Myers Beach offers all the amenities and activities that vacationers will need.  There is everything from kayaking, parasailing, jetskiing, eco tours, fishing charters and more available.

There are hundreds of hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars and shopping areas located all along the seven mile stretch of this beach front paradise.

Transportation along the beach is very convenient with numerous FREE trams & inexpensive trolleys stopping every few blocks.  There are many places to park either in private lots or any of the city lots or metered parking spots.  

Click here to view the city of Fort Myers Beach parking restrictions and info.

Dogs are allowed on the beach but they must be tethered on a leash no longer than six feet in length, retractable leashes are not allowed.  Dogs are not allowed to make contact with anyone & owners who violate this oridinance could face a $100 fine.

There are a number of restaurants that allow dogs on Fort Myers Beach.
Top ten beach in Fort Myers - Lovers Key State Park

Lovers Key State Park & Beaches

Lovers Key State Park is one of the best beaches you will  find anywhere for overall activities.   The Park has an impressive 2 1/2 miles of pristine beaches and was selected as the number four rated beach in Florida by the Travel Channel.

The park is much more secluded that the other beaches in the Fort Myers area.   There are over five miles of hiking and biking trails for you to explore.   You'll see an impressive array of wildlife in the park and if you're lucky you will spot some manatees and dolphins in the inner channels.

There is a tram available that will take you from Fort Myers beach & Estero Island to the entrance to the park for a very nominal fee.

Lovers key is a great spot for picnics with a number of grills and shelters available.  They have a 80 person pavilion you can rent for weddings and special events.  If you're a boater they also feature a boat ramp to launch your boat, with a bait shop that is open from 6:30 am until 5:00 pm.

There is a rental concession at the park where you can rent everything from kayaks, bicycles, paddle boards, canoes and more. The concession offers food, beverages and fantastic ice cream.  The concessionaire even offers guided tours.

The park is a great place to fish with many options available.  Shark fishing is not permitted in daylight hours due to the safety concerns.

Pets are permitted on leashes six feet or less in length, in the designated day use areas only.  Pets are not allowed on the beaches or playground areas.

The park is opens at 8:00 am until sundown for 365 days of the year.

Park Admission Fees:

$8 per car with a limit of two to eight individuals per car.

$4 per single individual for cars or motorcycles.

$2 for pedestrians, bicyclists or extra passengers including passengers in cars with a holder of annual individual entrance permit.
Best Dog Beach in Fort Myers - Dog Beach Park

Dog Beach Park

Location:  8800 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach

Dog Beach Park is open from 7:00 am to sunset 7 days per week.  Dogs are allowed to roam free of leashes.  The beach is a no frills park, with a portable toilet as the only amenity.   Parking is FREE of charge.  
The park caters more to pets than the owners with a shower station available for Fido.   No glass or alcohol is permitted although this is an unsupervised park.   You are in charge of yourself and your furry friends behavior.
Dog Beach Park is a tidal flat so you will want to plan your arrival accordingly or bring your scuba gear if you choose to ignore the warning.
Directions:   From Fort Myers Beach - take Estero Blvd. South.  Go over Big Carlos Pass, Little Carlos Pass & past Lovers Key State Park (aka Carl Johnson State Park).
Continue past Lovers Key State Park entrance to just before the next bridge (New Pass Bridge). Just before the foot of the bridge on the west side is Dog Beach Park.

Cape Coral Beaches

Cape Coral Yacht Club Beach

If you're staying in the Cape Coral area by far the most convenient beach is the Cape Coral Public Yacht Club Beach.   The beach is located in the community park.

The park also includes tennis courts, a fishing pier,  playground, outdoor racquet ball courts, senior center, boat ramp, large community pool and an outdoor restaurant.

The park has a ballroom that you can rent for weddings or special occasions.  There is also an outdoor pavilion on the beach where you can barbeque,  have a picnic or host an event.

The restaurant, Boathouse Tikki Hut Bar & Grill, is one of the local favorite hangouts.  The outdoor atmosphere right on the beach is hard to beat.   Pets are not allowed on the beach or restaurant.
Image of the Cape Coral Yacht Club public beach