The Most Beautiful Beaches In and Near Fort Myers, Florida

Sanibel Island is home to some of the finest beaches in the Fort Myers area
Sanibel Island is home to some of the finest beaches in the Fort Myers area | © Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 7+ / Alamy
Photo of Mandi Keighran
14 July 2021

Awash with gorgeous beaches, Fort Myers offers everything from family-friendly spots to secluded romantic getaways.

Fort Myers, known as the gateway to Florida’s south coast, is renowned for its pristine coastline dotted with some of the Sunshine State’s best beaches. From family-friendly resorts and State Parks – home to wild dolphins and gopher tortoises – to the best pet-friendly beaches in Florida and magical lagoons where you can paddle with manatees, these are the most beautiful beaches in and around Fort Myers that you simply shouldn’t miss.

Fort Myers Beach

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Visitors to Fort Myers Beach Florida enjoy sun and water
© Ilene MacDonald / Alamy Stock Photo

The coastline of Estero Island is the stuff beach holiday dreams are made from – think soft white sand, warm shallow waters, fresh seafood direct from the Gulf of Mexico and plenty of family-friendly resorts. The beach itself is popular for swimming, paddling and kayaking, whilst you can also book a dolphin eco-tour on a Waverunner. Nearby, you’ll find Lovers Key State Park – known for its population of gentle West Indian manatees – which can be viewed from a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. If you’re visiting Fort Myers Beach in March, make sure to check out the annual Shrimp Festival.

Bonita Beach

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looking down wooden steps leading to beach, bonita beach, florida
© Stephen Orsillo / Alamy

This stretch of sandy coastline in Bonita Beach Park has everything you need for a fun family day out. There’s a beach with a boardwalk and swimming area, rolling sand dunes amidst coastal vegetation, a gazebo and eight picnic shelters with grills. There are plenty of beach and water activities on offer, from kayaking and canoeing to jet-skiing and parasailing, as well as a sand volleyball court and a playground for kids.

Lovers Key Beach

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USA. Florida. Fort Myers beach, Lovers Key State Park. The beach. Tourists.
© Photononstop / Alamy

Before 1965, the beaches of Lovers Key State Park could only be reached by boat. Now, this particular beach is named after the lovers who once made the trip to this remote spot in search of privacy. Today, Lovers Key Beach is much easier to reach, but it’s no less romantic – and it’s a popular destination for watching the sunset and beachside weddings. From the shore, you might even spot wild dolphins. Further inland, you’ll find a network of magical lagoons and canals populated with gentle manatees.

Bonita Beach Park

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Inflight Osprey bird (Pandion haliaetus) Bonita Beach park, Barefoot Beach State Preserve, Bonita Springs, Florida, USA
© Douglas Sacha / Getty

Located between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs, Bonita Beach Park is a fairly quiet beachfront park that is popular for swimming, beachcombing and birding. The park has a number of designated birding trails that wind through diverse habitats, including mangroves, mudflats and pine and cypress preserves, where you can spot both local and migratory birds. The beach itself takes its name from the Spanish word for “beautiful” and it certainly lives up to its name with white sands lined with lush vegetation and crystal clear waters.

Lighthouse Beach Park

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Beach in Lighthouse Beach Park on the eastern tip of Sanibel Island on the Gulf of Mexico in the United States
© James Schwabel / Alamy

Sanibel Island, just a short drive from Fort Myers, is known for its luxurious resorts, shell beaches, an iconic lighthouse that dates back to 1884 and numerous wildlife refuges, including the sprawling J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The 32-acre (13ha) Lighthouse Beach Park sits at the southern tip of the island and is a popular destination for families, thanks to picnic facilities, pier fishing, shady trees and protected swimming. The beach is also easily accessible, with courtesy beach wheelchairs provided by the city with 24-hours notice.

Barefoot Beach Bonita Springs

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Barefoot Beach, Bonita Springs, Gulf Coast, Florida, USA
© Ian Dagnall Commercial Collection / Alamy

The coastline of Collier County is dotted with pristine beaches – but Barefoot Beach Preserve is perhaps the best of them all. It’s located on 342 acres (138ha) on one of the last undeveloped barrier islands on Florida’s coast and its shallow waters make it ideal for family-friendly swimming. The sandy beach is also a habitat for the endangered gopher tortoise and there are plenty of burrows on the nature trail running along the sand dunes. You can also spot Atlantic loggerhead sea turtle trails and there even be a school of bottlenose dolphins frolicking offshore.

Bonita Beach Dog Park

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Bonita Beach dog park aerial photo Lovers Key
© felixmizioznikov / Getty

Does your dog love the beach as much as you? One of Florida’s best pet-friendly beaches – and one of the state’s only no-leash beaches – Bonita Beach Dog Park is also known as Lee County Off-Leash Dog Area. The beach, close to Fort Myers Beach, is open dawn to dusk and the secluded shoreline and shallow waters are perfect for dogs to explore. Just remember to pick up after your dog; with plastic bags and dog waste disposal stations on the beach, there’s no excuse for leaving a mess behind.

Little Hickory Island Beach Park

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If you’re in search of a secluded beach near Fort Myers, head to Little Hickory Island Beach Park, which is on a barrier island in front of Big Hickory Island. Also known as Access #10, this pretty white sand beach offers an isolated oasis with all the conveniences of toilets, picnic tables and shelters. It’s a favorite destination for surf fishing and there are also bike paths and a launching pier for canoes and kayaks. The views over the Gulf of Mexico are also some of the best in the area.

Lynn Hall Beach Park

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Beach goers are seen at Lynn Hall Park on Fort Myers Beach on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 morning. Lee County opened up the beaches it manages Wednesday to public after they were closed because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The beach that is managed by the town
© Sipa US / Alamy

Times Square lies at the heart of Estero Island’s downtown and is the best place to head for restaurants, boutique shopping and street performers – PierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar has been a favorite with locals and tourists for more than 20 years. Next to this vibrant pedestrian area, you’ll find Lynn Hall Memorial Park, which is home to the iconic Fort Myers Beach Pier. It’s easily accessible by the beach trolley and has volleyball courts, excellent fishing, public toilets and bathhouses.

Crescent Beach Family Park

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The Williams family from Fort Myers were some of the first people at Bowditch Point Park on the north end of Fort Myers Beach on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 morning. Lee County opened up the beaches it manages Wednesday to the public after they were closed
© Sipa US / Alamy

Just south of Time Square is this family-friendly beachfront park with a small stretch of sandy beach. It’s a popular spot for families, complete with plenty of recreational facilities, including two sand volleyball courts. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the landscaped park, or head to one of the nearby restaurants lining Estero Boulevard. The Salty Crab Bar & Grill is located directly on the beach and serves delicious seafood, such as the house special of garlic mussels.

Why not make a weekend of it? Choose between a stay at one of the best hotels in Fort Myers or one at these perfectly-located beach hotels. To keep things easy, you can make your booking right here on Culture Trip. There’s plenty to keep you busy too, from trying out the top things to do and see in Fort Myers to eating delicious food at one of the best restaurants around.

These recommendations were updated on July 14, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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