Known for soft sand, stunning sunsets, clear, warm and calm waters, it’s no wonder Florida’s Gulf Coast is the place to go with young kids. With hundreds of miles of shoreline, we visited a different beach almost every day during our stay in Fort Myers and each had its own delights to explore.
Here’s my top 5 Fort Myers beaches to visit with kids:
1 – Fort Myers Beach
With miles of wide, soft, sandy beachfront, shallow water and endless activities, this beach will not disappoint. As I’ve said before, FMB was by far our favourite spot with young kids thanks to the amenities and ease of access for families. Arrive early (by 9:30 a.m.) to avoid the heavy traffic on the one lane bridge and guarantee a parking spot close to the beach. Parking at Lynn Hall Memorial Park is ideal with family washrooms, showers to wash off sand, quick access to the beach and lots of shade. And don’t miss the centre of FMB, Times Square — lined with patios, great restaurants, and live music Friday and Saturday evenings for older kids (and adults!) to enjoy.
2 – Sanibel Island
Hop on a rental bike and cross the Causeway bridge for a day of exploration on Sanibel Island. With a hefty toll ($6 per car) and long wait times, you’ll be all smiles as you pedal by and wave at the traffic. Older kids will keep busy sifting through the mounds of seashells in search of the perfect keepsake. But be wary of kicking off your flip-flops — the sharp shell edges make this beach less than ideal for barefoot walking and younger kids.
3 – Captiva Island
Head over for a late lunch or early dinner and stay for the ‘captiva’-ting sunsets. Grab yourself a seat and drink at The Mucky Duck for a picture-perfect view and live music; all while the kids play in the sand.
4 – Bunche Beach
With easy access to the wide, open beach and shallow water, this is a perfect quick stop with kids. Parking on the street is minimal and — unless you’re close — with only one pay machine, the parking lot is simpler for families. Head left on the beach for a nice walk and keep in mind this is a natural preserve/wetland, leaving the sand a bit muddier and not regularly maintained. Kayaks are available for rent at the main parking lot for a paddle through the waterways and out into the Gulf.
5 – Naples Municipal Beach
Head to the Pier at 12th Ave S for stroller access, family washrooms and incredible views. Most downtown streets offer free parking so do a quick loop for a spot. Bring a rod or watch the locals fish, while pelicans and dolphins do the same. Be sure to turn around and catch the outrageous homes lining the beachfront. Need a break from the sun? Check out my ‘Naples with Young Kids’ post for all there is to do.
Have a favourite beach near Fort Myers? Leave a comment below.
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