Southwest Florida Visitors' Guide: Beaches

BY January 12, 2017

One step onto Southwest Florida’s shores, and you’ll be hooked. Our soft-sand beaches and warm-year-round waters offer a level of relaxation that’s difficult to match elsewhere. Stretch out on the secluded beaches of Lovers Key, or stroll 7 miles of surf along Fort Myers Beach. Head to the shore at dawn to see dolphins lolling in the shallows, or venture down at dusk to see crabs scuttling across the sand. Interested in taking home a sandy souvenir? Comb the beaches of Sanibel Island, renowned for its world-class shelling. And the absolute must-see? The social-media-worthy sunsets that make our coastline so famous.

Each visit to our beaches is packed with little moments that are cherished for years to come.





SOUTH MARCO BEACH ACCESS is located on South Collier Boulevard, with parking available a short walk across the boulevard on Swallow Avenue. Includes restroom facilities. Parking: $8. (239) 252-4000. Open 8 a.m. to sundown.

TIGERTAIL BEACH, a county park located at the end of Hernando Drive, has restrooms, boardwalks, a picnic area, playground, butterfly garden and concession stand offering beach equipment rentals, food and drinks. Parking: $8. (239) 252-4000. Open 8 a.m. to sundown.


CLAM PASS PARK is a county park on Seagate Drive. Trams transport visitors over a three-quarter-mile boardwalk to a beach with a picnic area and concession stand. Chairs, cabanas and kayaks available. Restrooms and foot showers available. Parking: $8. (239) 252-4000. Trams run daily from 8 a.m. to sunset.

DELNOR-WIGGINS PASS STATE PARK is at the intersection of 111th Avenue North and Gulf Shore Drive. Facilities include picnic areas, restrooms with wheelchair access and outdoor showers. Use of the boat ramp is $5 plus tax. Park rangers conduct nature programs. Admission $4 per car carrying one passenger; $6 per car carrying two to eight passengers; or $2 per pedestrian, bicyclist or extra passenger. (239) 597-6196. Open 8 a.m. to sunset.

LOWDERMILK PARK is located along Gulf Shore Boulevard at Banyan Boulevard. The park offers 1,000 feet of beachfront, outdoor showers, gazebos, picnic tables, a playground, volleyball court, concession stand and duck pond. Wheelchair-accessible restrooms. Metered parking. (239) 213-3029. Open sunrise to sundown.

NAPLES PIER, at 12th Avenue South in Old Naples, has restrooms and a snack bar. Dolphins are seen frequently. Metered parking is located nearby, with additional parking and access points along Gulf Shore Boulevard. Recently renovated. (239) 213-7120. naplesgov.com/parksrec

NORTH GULF SHORE BEACH ACCESS, located at the end of Seagate Drive, is open 8 a.m. to sunset. Metered parking. (239) 252-4000.

VANDERBILT BEACH PARK, at the end of Vanderbilt Beach Road, is a tree- and residence-lined county beach. Vanderbilt offers parking with handicap accessibility to the beach. Snacks and watersports rentals available at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples and Vanderbilt Inn resorts. Metered parking or parking garage available. (239) 252-4000. Open 8 a.m. to sundown.

VIA MIRAMAR BEACH has public access on Gulf Shore Boulevard North, just south of Harbour Drive, with ample parking and an outdoor shower. A short walk south takes you to the jetty at Doctors Pass, which provides Gulf access from Naples Bay. Metered parking. Open sunrise to sundown.



BAREFOOT BEACH PRESERVE. Look for the signs at the intersection of Barefoot Beach Boulevard and Bonita Beach Road. Enter past the security booth and continue 2 miles. This 342-acre preserve contains a coastal hammock and a 1-mile nature trail. Facilities include changing rooms, showers, restrooms and a snack bar. The preserve also offers nature interpretation stations. Collier County beach parking permits or $8 per vehicle for parking. (239) 252-4000.

BONITA BEACH PARK off Bonita Beach Road at 27954 Hickory Blvd. Facilities include picnic tables, grills, a playground, a sand volleyball court and restrooms. Parking: $2 per hour. Lee County parking passes no longer accepted. Open from 7 a.m. until dusk.

DOG BEACH, where dogs may run free. Located at 8800 Estero Blvd. No facilities, although parking is free. (239) 707-1874. Open from 7 a.m. until dusk.

LITTLE HICKORY ISLAND BEACH PARK is between Bonita Beach and Lovers Key. Popular beach for fishing. Restrooms, picnic tables and shelters available. Parking: $2 per hour.


YACHT CLUB COMMUNITY PARK, 5819 Driftwood Parkway. Located on the Caloosahatchee River, the area features picnic tables, restrooms, outdoor showers, tennis courts, a free boat ramp, barbecue area, public pool and large beach pavilion available for rent. Marine biology classes offered. Free parking; $10 per boat trailer to park. (239) 574-0806. Pool hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


BOWDITCH POINT REGIONAL PARK. Take Matanzas Pass Bridge to the beach; turn right at foot of bridge and follow Estero Boulevard to the end. Seventeen acres of recreational area and nature preserve. Includes restrooms, picnic tables, concessions, grills, hiking paths and wheelchair-accessible beach access. Parking: $2 per hour. (239) 765-6794. Open 7 a.m. until dusk.

BUNCHE BEACH PRESERVE on San Carlos Bay, on John Morris Road off Summerlin Road before the Sanibel Causeway, overlooks Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island. Here, 718 acres are nature preserves, making it a popular location with fishermen and paddlers. Restrooms available; limited parking. (239) 765-6794. Open 7 a.m. to dusk.

FORT MYERS BEACH is just east of Lynn Hall Memorial Park and features plenty of beach bars and cafés. Rent WaveRunners, go parasailing, jet-boat and more. Park at Lynn Hall Memorial Park, in a private lot or at meters under the bridge; or ride the trolley. (239) 765-6794.

LAKES REGIONAL PARK is located off Gladiolus Drive. Amenities include bathrooms, bike and boat rentals, freshwater fishing, pavilions for rent, and biking and walking trails. No swimming. Train ride runs along the lake. (239) 533-7575.

LOVERS KEY STATE PARK comprises two barrier islands between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Beach. Parking is plentiful. The park features pavilions, nature trails, a concession stand and a bridge linking the islands. Canoe, kayak, paddleboard and bike rentals available. Public boat ramp; suggested donation of $2 to launch. Admission $2 for pedestrians and bicyclists, $4 for single-occupancy vehicles, $8 for motor vehicles carrying up to eight passengers. (239) 463-4588. Open 8 a.m. to sunset.

LYNN HALL MEMORIAL PARK is located in the heart of Fort Myers Beach. Turn right at the foot of Matanzas Pass Bridge, left off Estero Boulevard. Amenities include restrooms, a playground, fishing pier, picnic shelters, grills, and shops and restaurants at Times Square pedestrian mall. Parking: $2 per hour. Lots fill quickly. (239) 765-6794. Open dawn until dusk.


BOWMAN’S BEACH is located off Sanibel-Captiva Road on Bowman’s Beach Road. Popular Sanibel beach, noted for its wildlife, shelling and seclusion. It offers plentiful parking plus restrooms, changing rooms, showers, drinking fountains, picnic tables, grills and parking for recreational vehicles. Parking: $4 per hour. (239) 472-6397. Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

CAUSEWAY ISLANDS. Visitors pay a toll to Sanibel and Captiva islands. Beaches are located on both sides of the road with picnic tables and restrooms on the second island and offer excellent shelling and fishing. Leashed pets welcome. Free parking.

GULFSIDE CITY PARK/ALGIERS BEACH Located off Casa Ybel Road on Sanibel Island. Named after a steamboat once pulled ashore and turned into a house, these beaches offer shaded picnic areas, boardwalks and restrooms. Pet-friendly. Parking: $4 per hour. (239) 472-6397.

LIGHTHOUSE BEACH is at the site of a historic, working lighthouse at the eastern tip of Sanibel. Small fishing pier, restrooms, drinking fountains, hiking paths and parking for recreational vehicles. Parking: $4 per hour. (239) 472-6397.

TARPON BAY BEACH, on the southern end of Tarpon Bay Road on Sanibel. Pets on leashes allowed. Has restrooms and parking for recreational vehicles. Parking: $4 per hour. (239) 472-6397.

TURNER BEACH is at the north end of Blind Pass, which separates Sanibel and Captiva islands. Popular with families and fishermen, although signs caution some areas against swimming due to swift currents. Restrooms and outdoor showers available on Captiva side. Parking: $4 per hour. (239) 472-6397. Open sunrise to sunset.


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