2023 Visitors' Guidebook

Sandy Shores, Barrier Islands + Private Coves

BY September 1, 2023
Southwest Florida’s white-sand beaches
Southwest Florida’s white-sand beaches and easy Gulf access make for a dreamy escape for both visitors and locals. (Courtesy Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau)

Find your perfect slice of sand along the Gulf’s sparkling coast; you’ll leave spellbound. Call or check the organizations’ websites for the latest information.




Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda


Port Charlotte Beach Park

4500 Harbor Blvd., Port Charlotte, (941) 627-1628. Situated on bay waters off Peace River, this park has a fishing pier, boat ramp, canoe and kayak launch, horseshoe pits, bocce, basketball, tennis and sand volleyball courts, a playground, dog park, sheltered picnic tables, restrooms, heated swimming pool and a recreation center with a full kitchen.



Englewood Beach at Chadwick Park

2100 N. Beach Road, Englewood, (941) 681-3742. Features a boardwalk, showers, water stations, volleyball and basketball courts, horseshoe pits, playground area and sheltered picnic tables with grills.



Stump Pass Beach State Park

900 Gulf Boulevard, Englewood, (941) 964-0375. This secluded, white-sand beach is popular for shelling and searching for shark teeth. There is also a hiking trail peppered with picnic tables along the route.



Blind Pass Beach

6725 Manasota Key Road, Englewood, (941) 861-5000. Known as ‘Middle Beach,’ this beach has expansive sands, a trail through mangrove forests and a canoe launch for Gulf-to-Bay access. Park has picnic facilities, a playground and restrooms.





Marco Island


South Marco Beach Access

930 S. Collier Blvd., (239) 252-4000. Parking is a short walk away on Swallow Avenue, and there are restrooms in the parking lot.



Tigertail Beach

480 Hernando Drive, (239) 252-4000. This county park has restrooms, boardwalks, a picnic area, a playground, a butterfly garden and bird watching.





Barefoot Beach Preserve

505 Barefoot Beach Blvd., (239) 252-4000. An access point 20 feet off Bonita Beach Road on Lely Barefoot Boulevard provides an open, peaceful location for sunbathers. Barefoot Beach Preserve Park is located just south of this access point. Just north is Bonita Beach Park, which has public restrooms, showers and concessions. Visitors can expect to see wildlife and sea creatures throughout the preserve. Temporarily Closed.



Bluebill Beach Access

Bluebill Avenue and Gulf Shore Drive, (239) 252-4000. The Bluebill Beach access connects to a white-sand beach, along with restroom facilities, a foot shower and bike rack. Find additional parking at Conner Park, just a few blocks away, with an open play area, a fishing area and a three-quarter-mile walking trail.



Clam Pass Park

465 Seagate Drive, (239) 252-4000. Trams at this popular county park transport visitors over a boardwalk to a beach with a picnic area and small restaurant (the boardwalk is open to foot traffic, too). Beach wheelchairs, chairs, cabanas, kayaks and restroom facilities are also available at this beach set within 35 acres of coastal habitats.



Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

11135 Gulf Shore Drive, (239) 597-6196. This beach’s facilities include boat ramps, canoe and kayak launches. Walking the nature trail and fishing are popular. Park rangers conduct nature programs, and a boat ramp is available for a $6 fee. Parking is limited; if the lot is full, visitors can park at Conner Park and hop on the free shuttle service.



Lowdermilk Park

1301 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., (239) 213-7120. The park offers 1,000 feet of beachfront, outdoor showers, gazebos, picnic tables, a playground, volleyball courts, concession stand and duck pond.



Naples Pier

At the west end of 12th Ave. S. in Old Naples, (239) 213-7120. The iconic Naples pier has restrooms and lots of atmosphere. It’s a great spot for sunset-watching. Metered parking is nearby. Partially Closed.



North Gulfshore Beach Access

4989-4999 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., (239) 252-4000. Known locally as Seagate Beach, this area offers a beautiful walk between two upscale condominiums. Parking is available on Seagate Drive, and the beach is accessible by foot from the end of Seagate and North Gulf Shore Boulevard. c



Vanderbilt Beach Park

100 Vanderbilt Beach Road, (239) 252-4000. Beach wheelchairs, snacks, chairs, cabanas and beach toys are available. Metered parking and a parking garage are nearby.



Via Miramar Beach

2699 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., 213-1820. The tucked-away beach has public access on Gulf Shore Boulevard North, just south of Harbour Drive, with some parking spaces and an outdoor shower. A short walk south takes you to the jetty at Doctors Pass, which provides Gulf access from Naples Bay.




Boca Grande


Boca Grande Beach Accesses

300 3rd St. W., (239) 357-8957. The island offers more than a dozen beach access points, some leading to the Gulf of Mexico and others to Gasparilla Sound. Several of these paths are unmarked, with some only wide enough to accommodate walking.



Gasparilla Island State Park

880 Belcher Road, (941) 964-0375. The beaches here are great for swimming, snorkeling, fishing, shelling and picnicking. The park also features the Boca Grande Lighthouse, built in the late 1800s.



Bonita Springs


Bonita Beach Park

27954 Hickory Blvd., (239) 229-0632. Pavilions, showers and barbecue grills are currently closed due to Hurricane Ian; portable toilets are available. There are 10 access points for easy parking.



Dog Beach

8800 Estero Blvd., (239) 229-0632. Dogs can run free at the beach here. There are portable restrooms and free parking.



Little Hickory Island Beach Park

26082 Hickory Blvd., (239) 533-7275. Located between Bonita Beach and Lovers Key, this is also known as access #10 and is a popular beach for fishing. A saltwater fishing license is required to saltwater fish from shore.



Cape Coral


Four Freedoms Park

4818 Tarpon Court, (239) 574-0804. The park and recreation center, which overlooks Bimini Basin, features a playground area, picnic tables, grills and restrooms.



Yacht Club Community Park

5819 Driftwood Parkway, (239) 574-0806. Located on the Caloosahatchee River, the area features a restaurant and a licensed fishing pier. Temporarily Closed.





Estero Island Beach Accesses

50-950 Estero Blvd., (239) 823-1447. Located north of Matanzas Bridge, seven access points to the Gulf of Mexico are denoted by poles with colored banners. No parking available.



Fort Myers


San Carlos Bay – Bunche Beach Preserve

18201 John Morris Road, (239) 839-7062. The beach overlooks Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island on San Carlos Bay. Its 718 acres of nature preserves, plus fishing and wildlife viewing piers, make it a popular location with fishers and paddlers. Composting restrooms are available. There is limited parking. The entrance is closed every Tuesday and Thursday as of press time.



Fort Myers Beach

Note: Many beaches and access points on Fort Myers Beach were affected by Hurricane Ian. Call for the latest info.


Bowditch Point Regional Park

50 Estero Blvd., (239) 533-7275. Here, you’ll find 17 acres of recreational area and nature preserve. Includes restrooms, picnic tables, hiking paths and wheelchair-accessible access.



Crescent Beach Family Park

1100 Estero Blvd., (239) 533-7275. This park offers four access points to the beach, sand volleyball courts and a landscaped picnic area.



Fort Myers Beach

950 Estero Blvd., (239) 432-2154. Managed by the Town of Fort Myers Beach, this sandy locale was hit directly by Hurricane Ian. Some of the 30 public access points are accessible to beach use, but many are still undergoing repairs from the destruction.



Lovers Key State Park

8700 Estero Blvd., (239) 463-4588. Florida’s top five most-visited park consists of four barrier islands between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Beach. Tram services transport visitors within 800 feet of the beach; paddling equipment is available for rent. The Discovery Center and boat ramp are closed. The park does not have electricity or drinking water, but the gift shop sells cold water and merchandise.



Lynn Hall Memorial Park

950 Estero Blvd., (239) 533-7275. This beach is located in the heart of the city of Fort Myers Beach. Fishing pier, picnic shelters, grills, and restrooms are currently closed due to Hurricane Ian; there are portable toilets.



Matanzas Pass Preserve

199 Bay Road, (239) 533-7275. Running along the east side of Fort Myers Beach, this preserve allows visitors to enjoy native vegetation and views of the pass-through hiking trails, fishing spots and paddle launches. Temporarily Closed.



Sanibel/Captiva Islands

Note: Many locales on Sanibel and Captiva were affected by Hurricane Ian. Call for the latest info.


Alison Hagerup Beach Park

14790 Captiva Drive, Captiva, (239) 472-2472. Also known as Captiva Beach, the northernmost public-access beach on Captiva Island is a romantic spot to catch the sunset. The space offers pay-to-park spots and includes restroom facilities. Restaurants nearby.



Andy Rosse Lane Park

11570 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, (239) 472-2472. A beach access point at the west end of Andy Rosse Lane is accessible by foot. No parking areas provided.



Bowman’s Beach Park

1700 Bowmans Beach Road, Sanibel, (239) 472-6397. This popular Sanibel beach is noted for its wildlife, shelling and seclusion. Changing rooms, showers, drinking fountains, picnic tables, grills and restrooms. Plenty of parking five minutes away.



Causeway Islands

19931 Sanibel Causeway, Sanibel, (239) 839-7062. Renovations are taking place through June 2025. The Causeway Beach parking lot at 888 Sextant Drive next to the boat ramp is open. Leashed pets welcome.



Cayo Costa State Park

4 nautical miles west of Pine Island, (941) 964-0375. Just north of Captiva and just south of Boca Grande is an untouched island paradise that is accessible only by boat or helicopter. It offers 9 miles of beautiful, pristine beaches and more than 2,500 acres of pine forest and mangrove swamp. Temporarily Closed.



Gulfside City Park

2001 Algiers Lane, Sanibel, (239) 472-6397. Locals refer to this as ‘Algiers Beach,’ named after a steamboat once pulled ashore and turned into a home. It offers shaded picnic areas, restrooms and outdoor showers. Leashed pets are allowed.



Lighthouse Beach Park

110-153 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, (239) 472-6397. At this historic lighthouse on the eastern tip of Sanibel, this park has restrooms, amenities and ADA-accessible parking.



Tarpon Bay Road Beach Park

111 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel, (239) 472-6397. Pets on leashes are allowed, and the beach offers picnic areas, restrooms and limited parking for recreational vehicles and handicapped vehicles.



Turner Beach

17200 Captiva Drive, Captiva, (239) 472-6397. At the north end of Blind Pass, this beach is popular with families and fishermen; signs in some areas caution against swimming due to swift currents.


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