In Jimmy Buffett style, clients may spend days doing absolutely nothing or engaging in serious exploring of these award-winning islands. The Florida of days long past, with unspoiled white sand beaches, exotic wildlife and lush subtropical foliage, can still be found here and it is the perfect oasis where visitors can get away from it all and yet still be close to all of the modern amenities. Many of the area’s 100 coastal islands are uninhabited mangrove clusters while others take visitors breath away with their beautiful beaches.
Island hopping by boat!
Hop on a water taxi, rent a boat, take one of the scheduled services to the outer islands. Collect shells. Visit a museum or historic site. Have a “cheeseburger in paradise” at the Cabbage Key Inn. Swim in the pristine waters surrounding tiny North Captiva Island. Relax on
a deserted beach at Cayo Costa. The options are as endless.
Don’t miss: Pack a picnic lunch and head for a favorite of area boaters, Picnic Island. Visible from the Sanibel causeway, this island is located at Mile Marker 101 off the south end of Pine Island. Camping is allowed.
If clients want to be a castaway, this is their island! Cayo Costa State Park is popular with day visitors for its snorkeling and fishing opportunities. Heartier souls can enjoy the primitive overnight camping in the 12 small cabins or 18 tent campsites. No electricity. Close to nature. Beautiful. The island is accessible only by private boat or passenger ferry. The beach was named among the world’s best hidden beaches.
Don’t miss: Shelling at the south end of the island. It is worth getting up at dawn to have the first pick of seashells.
A hidden paradise located on a unique 100-acre island reminiscent of days gone by. Built by playwright and mystery author Mary Roberts Rinehart in 1938 on a Calusa Indian shell mound 38 feet above sea level, the original inn and restaurant features the famous dollar bill bar and cheeseburgers in paradise. The restaurant walls, beams and ceilings are plastered with dollar bills, a tradition that began in 1941 when a fisherman signed and taped his last dollar to the wall. When he returned, he would have money to buy a beer. Visitors continue the tradition today.
Don’t miss: Boaters love to stop in for a cheeseburger at Cabbage Key.
No boat? No problem!
Adventures in Paradise offers daily cruises, canoe and kayak tours, shelling and sea life encounters, dolphin watch cruises and sunset champagne cruises.
Captiva Cruises offers trips from McCarthy’s Marina on Captiva Island. Clients can enjoy shelling, sightseeing and lunch tours at the outer islands and Cabbage Key.
Island hop along the Great Calusa Blueway
Kayaking the barrier islands is a very popular way to see the area and its wildlife. The Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail has launch sites and landings around the 190-mile marked trail as well as easy access to rental kayaks and canoes. One of Southwest Florida’s most acclaimed nature-based attractions, the Blueway and the Fort Myers/Sanibel Island area has been recognized as one of the best kayaking destinations in North America.
Put-in sites are designated along the trail, as are other amenities such as campsites, restaurants, marinas and cultural and historic sites of the Calusa Indians, for whom the trail is named. Paddlers enjoy the lush, green, Old-Florida dimension of the Blueway, complete with moss-draped oaks along shores dotted with expansive preserve land. On the trail, novice to experienced paddlers can get up close with outstanding flora and fauna while exploring back bays, aquatic preserves, wildlife refuges, creeks, bayous, rivers, and mangrove forests. Many of the trails follow the course charted some 2,000 years ago by the area’s earliest residents, the Calusa Indians.
For more information, visit www.fortmyers-sanibel.com