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Ahead of the Curve: The Right Beach for You

In this perfect-weather month, here's a guide to the different sand spots that'll suit your needs.

Adam McCauley

Beaches are a big draw just about year-round in Southwest Florida, but April might be the best month to spend with your toes in our sugar-sand shores. With an average temperature of 84 degrees and with relatively few rainy days (only about 2.4 inches of rain each April), the weather is pretty much perfect. And the temperature of the Gulf is inching into that sweet spot between the warm-for-Wisconsinites of December and the bathwater of July.

So the question in April is not whether you should go to the beach but rather which beach you should go to.

Crowds and amenities

Naples Pier—Probably the best place to people-watch in Southwest Florida. Not recommended if you want to put a towel down and read a book quietly, but if you want to see the sights both on the Gulf and on the sand, this is the place to do it.

Lowdermilk Park—Naples’ most family-friendly beach. With a large parking lot, a concession stand, large bathrooms, showers, playgrounds, gazebos and more, this is the place to bring the kids or grandkids, plus all their friends.

Barefoot Beach—While it can get crowded, it takes a little work to get to Barefoot Beach and $8 for non-Collier County residents—so there are usually fewer people out and about. But with all the great amenities of Lowdermilk, it’s worth the drive.


Vedado Way—Off Gulf Shore Boulevard North in the Moorings, Vedado Way has a decent amount of parking spaces but is very rarely crowded. It’s surrounded by exclusive condo communities that are home to many seasonal residents who are often back North after Easter.

Bowman’s Beach—Known mostly for fantastic shelling, Bowman’s Beach is also a great place to get away from people. You’ve got to walk about a quarter of a mile from the parking area to get there and often you can stake out yards of beach space all to yourself.

Pet friendly

Dog Beach in Bonita Springs— The only spot in Southwest Florida where your furry friends are free to be off leash and in the water. Though it’s not well marked, you can find it on Estero Boulevard just before Lovers Key between Bonita and Fort Myers Beach.


Fort Myers Beach—Starting from the Junkanoo and heading north, you’ll find a long stretch of beach bars and hotels where the party is going just about all day. That’s especially true during spring break. So if you want to avoid the college debauchery, steer clear until later in the month.

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