Not all beaches are created equal. Even the “best” beaches have different attributes that appeal to different people. Some may want a beach with a fast-paced nightlife, packed with plenty of restaurants and bars to keep you busy when you’re not on the sand. Others may prefer a quiet, laid-back beach experience with minimal contact with other humans. Either preference is just fine, and the following list of the best beaches in Southwest Florida has a little something for everyone.
Fort Myers Beach
Fort Myers Beach usually finds its way onto the list of the best beaches in the United States. That’s because it’s a 7-mile long stretch of white sand and perfect water. There’s plenty of activities for kids of all ages, from parasailing to jet ski rentals, and if you’re looking for something to do off the beach, Fort Myers has plenty of boutique shops just a short stroll away from the sand. At night, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and bars to keep you busy.
Lovers Key State Park
If the hustle and bustle of Fort Myers Beach don’t appeal to you, you can find plenty of seclusion at Lovers Key State Park. As the name suggests, Lovers Key is a fairly remote and uncrowded stretch of beach on the southern end of Fort Myers. You can find plenty of spots along the 2-mile stretch to chill out with your significant other, and if you fancy a little adventure you can always rent some kayaks from a local concession stand. It’s also a great place for shelling.
Lighthouse Beach Park
Speaking of shelling, Sanibel is perhaps the best place in the world for collecting seashells. Lighthouse Beach Park will provide plenty of opportunities for collecting, but you can also do plenty of swimming in the clear waters or snag a fish or two from the pier. As you do all of this, you’ll have the beautiful Sanibel lighthouse, built in 1884, as your background for all those family photos (or selfies).
Cayo Costa State Park
If seclusion is your cup of tea, Cayo Costa State Park is the place for you. You can only access the 2,400-acre island by boat or ferry, so you won’t have to worry too much about crowds (although it can get a tad busy on weekends and holidays in the summer). You can spend all day swimming, shelling and bird watching. Plus, if you decide you don’t want to go back to the mainland at the end of the day that’s OK, too—you can always book a campsite on the island and spend the night!