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BEACHES OF FORT MYERS & SANIBEL
 
(2021 - Winter Issue)

Writer: ROBIN TIERNEY



 

There is an easy-to-reach paradise on southwest Florida’s Gulf coast that will refresh your spirit.

Head to The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel. Storybook white-sand beaches, lush tropical wilderness, spectacular wildlife, and plenty of islands will undoubtedly exhilarate and recharge your batteries.

Here are three ways to feel the wonder of connecting with nature’s magic kingdom.

 Paddle the Great Calusa Blueway

The Great Calusa Blueway is a spectacular canoe and kayak trail that traverses 305 kilometres through the coastal waters between Pine Island Sound and Estero Bay, up the Caloosahatchee River and through its tributaries. As you paddle this Fort Myers-area treasure, feel the stress flow away with every stroke. See ospreys soar overhead and manatees glide underwater, filling your soul with gratitude.

Guided by markers and a free app, it’s easy to explore these sheltered mangrove trails that lead to tiny creeks and the Gulf of Mexico.

Refresh Your Spirit at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

A 4.8-kilometre causeway leads to the tranquility of Sanibel Island. Nearly 70 percent of this barrier island is preserved as a refuge where you can bask in solitude far from the commotion of urban life.

Home to J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, you can hike, pedal, and paddle marked marsh trails through an array of serenity-now settings. Picture mangrove forests, submerged seagrass beds, cordgrass marshes, and hardwood hammocks.

Watch unscripted nature shows unfold. The aptly named bird called roseate spoonbill sweeps its spoonbill in shallow water, as reddish egrets dance vaudeville-style stirring up fish. Meanwhile long-necked anhingas perch on tree limbs sunning their black wings that are marked with white feathers resembling piano keys.

By night, Sanibel’s minimal lighting morphs into another spectacular nature show: stargazing.

 Embrace Life at Lovers Key State Park

A popular legend ascribes how this wild sanctuary was a haven for lovers. Located between Fort Myers and Naples, Lovers Key State Park stretches across four barrier islands: Lovers Key, Black Island, Inner Key and Long Key. The nature reserve is big on preservation of beaches and mangrove forests. You can channel Mother Nature’s love as you paddle, hike, or simply relax on the four-kilometre sandy beach.

For a thrilling nature show, head to a local favourite locale tucked in the northern interior of the park. While hiking or biking on Black Island Trail, watch for zebra longwings, swallowtails, and monarchs flitting at the butterfly garden. Spot sly egrets fishing and dolphins surfing in turquoise waters ... and muscle-bound alligators lounging in a freshwater pond.

Rest assured—these treasured islands will reboot your spirit.

Travel Planner

Discover the nature and beauty of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel: fortmyers-sanibel.com

 
 
 
 
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