Clear blue waters and soft, white sand greet visitors to southwest Florida’s pristine beaches. With our guide to the top beach hotels in Fort Myers, you can bask in the sun and surf off one of the state’s top destinations. From the cabana-lined Fort Myers Beach to the more secluded Sanibel and Captiva Islands, guests can pick from lavish resorts, comfortable suites, and economic oceanfront rooms.
The fully furnished condos at GullWing feel more like an apartment than a hotel. Each suite comes with a fully equipped kitchen, small dining area, and comfortable living room, making GullWing apt for week-long stays. Large windows and screened-in balconies fill the rooms with natural light and offer beautiful views of Estero Bay or the Gulf of Mexico, depending on booking choice. The wide stretch of beach directly in front of GullWing is mere steps from the deck and pool area. Guests will appreciate the amenities of home with the luxuries of a beachfront resort.
A favorite of couples and honeymooners, Lover’s Key Resort is secluded and romantic. Located on its own island across from Lover’s Key State Park, the resort has stunning views of both the lush vegetation of the park and the inlandwaterways of Estero Bay. This resort appeals to vacationers looking for privacy and top-notch accommodations. Just over the bridge from Fort Myers Beach, Lover’s Key Resort’s private beach feels a world away. The lagoon-style pool and waterfall also highlight this lavish spot. Complimentary breakfast is provided at nearby Flipper’s on the Bay – one of the area’s best waterfront restaurants.
Those looking for a Florida beach vacation on a budget will appreciate The Outrigger Beach Resort. Rooms range from standard accommodations to beachfront options, ensuring a tropical vacation with a comfortable range of prices. Add the tiki-themed Outrigger Bar – a gathering place for tourists thirsty for tropical drinks – and it is clear why this spot is one of the more popular hotels along Fort Myers Beach. The Deckside Café also feeds sandy bar patrons with Florida favorites: grouper sandwiches and peel-and-eat shrimp. The relaxed vibe and prime location of The Outrigger make for a day by the pool or an afternoon spent exploring Fort Myers Beach’s shops and restaurants.
On the more isolated Sanibel Island lies Island Inn, home to both old Florida charm and modern accommodations. The recently re-modeled 100-year-old inn retains the quaint beach theme that has earned it frequent repeat customers throughout the years. Stay in a standard room or suite, or spring for a beachfront cottage, which can accommodate a group of six and has a large screened-in porch just feet from the gulf. The Island Inn’s pool is also a highlight, as the gated deck area is practically on the beach and filled with palm trees. The Traditions on the Beach restaurant provides a delicious seafood menu and nightly entertainment, making it a perfect spot for dinner and drinks before falling asleep to the sound of the surf.
Located on the north end of Fort Myers Beach, close to the city’s lively Times Square, Diamondhead is a luxury resort made for families. Children will be entertained by the resort’s organized activities – including ice cream sundae making and arts and crafts – while teens will appreciate the on-site parasail and kayak rentals. With kids occupied, adults are free to enjoy Diamondhead’s Esterra Spa or Chloe’s Fresh Seafood and Steaks. The proper living space also makes for a spacious, comfortable vacation. All of Diamondhead’s rooms have a view of the gulf, showing that a resort that caters to families is not without stunning views and pristine beach access.
It’s hard to believe that Florida’s Captiva Island is only a 35-minute drive from Fort Myers, and that the massive 330-acre South Seas Island Resort occupies nearly half of the island. Two-and-a-half miles of private beach, a nine-hole golf course, three pools, and a wildlife sanctuary highlight the all-encompassing resort. Captiva is a haven for wildlife, making South Seas a prime location for spotting manatees, birds, and dolphins. Vacationers have their choice of six dining options, including two scenic waterfront restaurants. Days at South Seas are filled with yoga classes and private tennis lessons from the resort’s tennis academy. Renting options range from standard rooms to full homes.
The Pink Shell’s location on the narrow north end of Fort Myers Beach makes it a resort for fans of both gulf and bay. The on-site marina on Estero Bay offers sailing lessons, while the gulf side of the resort includes three pools and a stretch of sand feet from the water. The location also means that the Pink Shell is more private than some of the larger resorts on the island, and the on-site Aquagene Spa radiates a calm atmosphere. All of the amenities of a full-service resort are on display at The Pink Shell, but this beach hotel is really worth staying at for its serenity, especially during Fort Myers Beach’s busy spring season.
Sanibel Island’s Casa Ybel Resort is an off-the-beaten-path treat that immerses guests in its beautiful grounds. Unlike the high-rise resorts of Fort Myers Beach, this locale houses vacationers in two-story stilt buildings. The suites look onto the gulf, as well as Casa Ybel’s manicured grass and palm trees. Sanibel’s already secluded vibe is enhanced by this resort’s layout, which forms private areas for visitors to sit and enjoy the sun. The Casa Ybel-owned stretch of beach and Olympic-sized pool border the comfortable rooms, poolside bar, and the fine-dining Thistle Lodge. Those seeking peace and quiet among Sanibel’s renowned beaches and wildlife will appreciate Casa Ybel’s prime location. Price: Luxury
This quant 30-unit inn creates an intimate setting beside the gulf. The no-frills Song of the Sea is cozy and located on an quiet part of already-calm Sanibel Island. A free bottle of wine at check-in and complimentary bikes and beach chairs are friendly touches to this spot. Vacationers will scarcely want to leave Song of the Sea, and have little reason to, with free continental breakfast and built-in kitchenettes. Enjoy the amazing views and beachfront location of some of the larger resorts, with the homey touches and friendly staff that make Song of the Sea a more personable option.
Sundial is Sanibel’s largest resort, combining the island’s impressive vistas with useful amenities for families. Three restaurants, five pools, six tennis courts, and two bars fill the resort. The on-site Sanibel Sea School entertains children and families with touch tanks and aquariums. Dining options at Sundial are particularly expansive, from the Slice of Paradise – which serves pizza, hot dogs, and ice cream – to the new Shima Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar. Fans of casual dining will appreciate Turtle’s Bar: one of the best poolside restaurants of any resort. It serves mussels, calamari, and gourmet salads and sandwiches. Comfortable suites at Sundial face either the gulf or the resort’s gardens, making sure every room has a pleasant view.