South Gulf Coast beach holidays
With miles and miles of sandy beaches, nature, golf and spas you’ll be spoilt for choice with things to do and places to see on Florida's South Gulf Coast.
Before bridges connected Estero Island to the mainland, Fort Myers Beach was a 7-mile stretch of coastline known for its shallow water, no undertow and little else. These days, the safe beaches remain, along with family-friendly resorts, charming Gulf-side seafood restaurants and nightlife that gets going just after sunset. Where this island really shines is in the myriad of recreation possibilities outdoor enthusiasts enjoy like a visit to Lovers Key State Park, where back bays and mangrove forests make for great kayaking and wildlife watching. For even more beautiful beaches you can head across the bridge to beautiful Sanibel Island also know for its shelling beaches, if you want to collect the perfect souvenirs to bring back home. For a luxurious escape stay at the South Seas Island Resort at the northern tip of the island.
Further reading: Fort Myers, Florida – Best beach holidays.
The largest Island in Florida’s chain known as Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island, has two public beaches, as well as offshore island beaches and proximity to the popular beaches in Naples. For the beach-goer looking for quiet, pristine beaches and an escape from the party scene of other Gulf of Mexico beaches, Marco offers an ideal destination. Home to several beachfront resorts, Marco Island attracts more families than rowdy holidayers looking for a beach party or an active club scene. But you can have the best of both worlds if you want a little action by simply crossing the bridge into Naples.
Holiday-makers will find several more beaches to explore by crossing into Naples. The city also has more of a nightlife, for those looking to mix a quiet holiday with a bit of action. Naples is home to six public beaches. Lowdermilk Beach features a pavilion with public shower houses, restrooms, picnic facilities and a snack bar. Naples Beach has ten miles of beachfront along the Gulf of Mexico and a large fishing pier. One of the most scenic beaches in Naples, Clam Pass Beach has charming boardwalks and you can also rent kayaks or catamarans.
Florida Product Manager Geoff Dobson says: "Your first stop on Florida's South Gulf Coast should always be Fort Myers Beach and the surrounding areas of Cape Coral and Sanibel Island. Here you’ll find great water sports, laid back evenings and relaxing days on white sand beaches such as the one at Lovers Key State Park. Fancy a day trip? Jump on board the Key West Express and you’ll enjoy a catamaran trip around the coast line and down to Key West; Americas’ southernmost point. It’s actually closer to Cuba than it’s nearest USA city of Miami. If you’re looking for something a little more ‘natural’ you’ll be spoilt for choice with the number of eco-tours and experiences available, from kayaking alongside the Manatees to eco-safaris in the everglades – just be sure to watch out for those crocs and gators!"
Further reading: If you're looking to recharge your batteries further up Florida's coast, take a look at our North Gulf Coast beach holidays guide featuring Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, Sarasota and Destin.
Article written by Lisa Lubin.