Insider Tips to Navigating Southwest Florida's Beaches

What you need to know about sunsets, finding turtles, savoring serenity and other special pleasures.

   I f distance were no object and time could be tamed—say, a click of the heels and you’re suddenly elsewhere—a day on the beaches of Southwest Florida would prove that paradise has many dimensions. Here, some local beach experts, both official and unofficial, offer a few secrets for a day most enchanting. Sunrise Sanibel Island's scenic lighthouse  Start at Lighthouse Beach at the south end of Sanibel Island to watch the day begin. The sun rises over Fort Myers Beach on the near horizon. And nothing says “a day at the sea” better than a lighthouse. First lit in August of 1884, the 98-foot Sanibel Lighthouse was automated in 1946, and until then, the keeper climbed 127 steps to light it. The beach around this landmark contains a finer grain of sand that’s harder-packed, in geological terms a “low-energy beach,” says Kristie Anders, education coordinator for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. So should you want to hit the sand running on your beach day—say, in homage to the energetic lighthouse keepers of Sanibel’s past—you’d be in an ideal spot. If it’s a cold morning, you’d also be in the right place, says Anders. During a cool front, Lighthouse Beach “is in the lee, protected from the (northwest) wind.” But we’re conjuring a warm and perfect day for your Southwest Florida beach tour. Post-jog, you m
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