So are you planning your next big trip abroad? Are you confused about where you want to spend your vacation and have memorable moments with your friends and family? Then the answer is Fort Mayers and Sanibel Islands. These amazing and beautiful islands are located off the mainland and use the wide inlets from The Gulf of Mexico. However, most of the visitors these days use the international airport in Florida or the interstate to get to these beautiful islands. You get lively beaches, the best shelling tours in Florida, and wildlife that is just a seamless and wonderful experience. Let us have a look at some of the best features that these islands have to offer:
- Sanibel Island unlike all other barrier islands that are there in Florida runs east to west. Allowing it to catch the currents from both directions south and north. Since there are no underwater shelves in its coastline all the seashells are washed ashore making it a paradise for seashell collectors. This extraordinary geography makes it more interesting and a really good vacation option. After a high tide or storm, the beaches get filled with seashells, which is why this seashell capital attracts tourists from around the world.
You can see how these serious collectors would gather up at dawn with all their equipment and would search for rare and beautiful seashells. There are over 300 types of seashells that are there on Sanibel island.
You can also enroll with the Baily-Matthew National Shell museum in order to learn more about how you can collect some of the most beautiful shells along with environmental education and hands-on learning tasks. You will learn a lot more things about wildlife and the sea life that you can observe on these beautiful islands.
- As these islands are a paradise for shell collectors you can get in touch with some seasoned shell collectors on the islands. You can share your experiences and learn from them about the art of collecting the best seashells that are there on the island shore.you can even talk to them about the best time for shell hunting and what region has the best shells. This is a really great way for you to step aside from your daily routine and have a relaxing and memorable experience. Recently one of the artists on the island created a Volkswagen that was encrusted with over 20,000 shells that were found locally.
- Cayo Costa State Park is spread in 2426 acres that offer the visitors the option of hiking trails, biking, camping facilities, and an extraordinary experience of 9 miles of an undeveloped beach. Since this undeveloped region can only be accessed by boat there are just a few visitors there. Therefore, if you like quiet places and less crowded areas this would be a really great place to visit. You also have Captiva cruises that offer the visitors narrated trips to the whole park along with all the relevant information. It is recommended that you get your own water, food, and shades as you go on the cruise.
- Between the barriers and the mainland, you have one of the largest islands of Florida which is Pine Island. Since the shoreline is full of mangrove tangles you see Pine Island is relatively less crowded, is less developed than some other nearby regions, and is free from huge resorts.
Since ancient times, Pine has been used for fishing. You can walk the Calusa Heritage Trail there in order to learn and witness how and why these people used to dig miles of canals along with big shell mounds. This indicated how complex and sophisticated their society was.
Moreover, there is the modern marvel that is the Tarpon Lodge that is famous for its restaurant that serves local dishes such as black grouper, tripletail, etc. Most of these fishes are caught the night before which is why you get the freshness as you enjoy your meal there.
- Sanibel is a really great location for animal lovers as well. Since ⅔ of the island is protected land you can imagine how diverse and exotic wildlife is there on the island. You have J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge that has approximately 245 species of birds that you can observe in their natural habitat. All the visitors to the island are also encouraged to learn more about these birds and wildlife so that they can contribute what they can in order to save and protect these endangered birds. You can see white Pelicans along with Roseate Spoonbills on this island as well. There are some endangered species such as loggerhead sea turtle, small tooth sawfish, and wood storks that are there on these islands being protected in their natural habitats.
Pine Island’s shallow and wide sound is also a suitable habitat for manatees and almost every fish species that are there in Florida.
- These islands are complete packages as you get something for science and historical people as well. You can visit the Edison and Ford Winter Estate which is a museum complex that showcases these world-renowned scientist’s family history, winter homes, and their labs in which they worked. There are huge tropical gardens along with fruit trees making it a rich and beautiful experience.
The 1918 Model T Truck is a treat for car aficionados as well. The truck was used by these inventors for their camping trips and cross-country travels. With its really cool features, the scientists enjoyed their wilderness exploration with ease and comfort.
- On these amazing islands, you get some of the most beautiful fishes making it a heaven for people that love fishing. Which is why people are visiting these islands since the ice age. Isn’t that quite amazing? You have pre-Columbian era relics that are there in the museums there introducing and showcasing the rich history of these islands. This is why fishing has been one of the most prominent and widely enjoyed activities that you can do on these islands. You can always find fishing families that work and stay in offshore cabins with metal roofs and wooden walls.
- One of the most prominent buildings of these regions is the lighthouse that is there on Sanibel Island since the 1880s. However, the building is closed due to safety reasons but the visitors can still go near the structure and enjoy the view there. Similarly, there is Port Boca Grande Lighthouse a squat building is a renovated lighthouse that is open to the public. Visitors can even watch the non-native iguanas that are there near and inside the lighthouse. Besides all this, you have the water tower that is just above the ancient Calusa Shell mounds.
- Lastly, you can enjoy the island to the fullest in your budget. There are various options that you can choose from the private islands, the temporary islands, and the new islands. You can choose your vacation according to your style as well. You can choose for less developed and less crowded areas while you can go to the central islands if you need more popular and happening places. You have Useppa that is quite exclusive and can only be visited by the club members. There is the Cabbage key that is a more affordable option for accommodation.
These are some of the most amazing and important highlights of these islands. As you consider all these factors you can plan your trip accordingly and enjoy your vacations with your friends and family.