Best Area Beaches
to Explore By Boat
Listed below are the best beaches in Fort Myers that are open to the public. Although many are accessible from the mainland, with the exception of North Captiva Island and Cayo Costa, visiting each of these beaches by boat adds to the adventure and overall experience.
Note: Our boats are NOT allowed in the Gulf of Mexico or Mattlacha Pass on the east side of Pine Island.
Cayo Costa (harbor on ICW, take tram to Gulf side)
North Captiva Island (harbor off ICW)
Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park (north, non-gulf side)
New Pass at Lovers Key State Park (stay in pass, south side)
Big Carlos Pass (stay in pass, south side)
Picnic Island (anchor/approach on the east side)
Bunche Beach Preserve
Bowditch Point Park
Best Area Places
to Go Boating
Southwest Florida has many beautiful locations that are only accessible by boat, including laid-back settlements and long stretches of coastlines left to Mother Nature’s influence. These secluded locations offer plenty of areas for dolphins, birds, sea life, and other animals to play. Additionally, hundreds of islands are scattered throughout the Gulf waters. Many beautiful and secluded islands offer plenty of opportunities for boaters to enjoy some island hopping. Popular island-hopping stops include visiting the islands of Cayo Costa, Boca Grande, and Cabbage Key.
There are far more islands than one can explore in a single day. In addition, many of these islands are uninhabited, offering authentic wildernesses to explore and quiet beaches for picnics and relaxing.
The next best place to go boating in the Fort Myers area is Sanibel Island. This island is not far off the coast of Fort Myers and is famous for the beautiful and unique shells found on the beaches. This island is a shell collector’s dream destination as shells have been left behind on the beaches from the ocean’s tides. So, if you are looking for unique shells like no other you have found before, a visit to Sanibel Island is a must. Cape Coral Boat Rentals customers can access Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park from the north, non-Gulf side.
Cruise on in - Waterfront Restaurants
There’s nothing like a pleasure cruise along the Caloosahatchee River or the Intracoastal Waterway to work up an appetite. Whether it’s a cheeseburger in paradise at Cabbage Key, Ralph’s Killer Shrimp at Rumrunners or anything at The Boat House up the Caloosahatchee, it all tastes better when you arrive by boat.
Fort Myers offers a treasure trove of boat-accessible options, ranging from ultracasual to special-occasion chic.
The main thing to keep in mind is that many of these establishments have only a few slips and popular spots fill up quickly – especially on weekends – so call ahead to ensure there’s room and to get precise nautical directions before making the trip.
Combine a trip to Cabbage Key with a visit to Cayo Costa State Park. The Cayo Costa Harbor is on the ICW side of the island. Once there you take a tram ($2 cash per person) to the Gulf side beaches. 9 miles of beaches await!