4 great beaches for families near Fort Myers, Florida

These Southwest Florida Beaches Pack a lot of Paradise

Fort Myers, Florida was a place I’d never really dreamed of visiting. Now I want to move there (no joke)! After a great deal using points on nonstop flights to Southwest Florida, I found myself researching a place I knew little about. 

During my research, I kept finding two themes- great beaches and great sunsets. I made it my goal to experience the best of both! That said, here are 4 of the best beaches for families near Fort Myers, Florida.

family, beaches near Fort Myers Florida, Sanibel Island
Fort Myers Beach at sunset

Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach felt like a mix of Bob Marley and Bob Dole! Ha! The northern end of the island is home to numerous bars and restaurants that let you dine or drink beachside. The southern end of the island is mostly home to condos and quiet beaches. North or south, a sunset view is on the horizon (literally) and you’ll be glad to pull up a chair. 

While Sanibel gets noted for a sheller’s dream, I found numerous sand dollars on Fort Myers Beach, washed up on the shore. Beach access points are throughout the island but they do contain metered parking and it’s $2/hour. 

Lovers Key State Park

Lovers Key State Park is an island that received its name because it was so remote, only lovers would make the trek by boat. Now the drive to Lovers Key is just a quick jaunt south of Fort Myers Beach. There are so many things to do within the State Park: hiking, birding, and kayaking, just to name a few. We chose to spend our time on the beach! 

best family beaches near Fort Myers Florida, 
Lovers Key State Park has 2 miles of unspoiled beaches - 4 great beaches near Fort Myers Florida

Lovers Key State Park charges an admission fee of $8 per car. From the main parking area, you can walk to mid-beach or you can take a tram to the south beach. Our family chose to take the 15-minute tram ride. The south beach contains a concession stand and restrooms. From there you can walk over 2 miles of unspoiled beach. 

Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island was listed in Patricia Schultz’s 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Driving into Sanibel, you’ll quickly understand why. The island has strict zoning laws so it feels much more secluded than it is- couple that with white sand beaches and millions of seashells and you have a place that the entire family will enjoy- young or old.

One public beach is located at Sanibel Lighthouse. This bay contains the same beautiful beach but is nearly wave-free, making it great for the little ones. This area also is home to a short fishing pier. If you’re looking for a beach that is away from the high-rises and nightlife, you may consider staying on Sanibel Island!

Other beach access points are located throughout the island. For a great sunset view, consider driving just across the bridge to Captiva Island. Turner Beach has plenty of parking and a great view.

Sunset on Turner Beach, Captiva Island.  Just north of Sanibel Island and one of the best beaches in SW Florida.

Tip:  The beaches at Sanibel are popular with seashell-hunters for a reason, but delicate feet may appreciate a pair of Crocs or swim shoes.  Here’s my guide to your first-time visit to Sanibel Island.

Naples Beach

While Naples is known for its designer shopping outlets and historical fishing pier, it should also be known for its 7 miles of white sand beach. Naples is known for its wealth, and the well-kept beaches are a testimony to this. There is public access at many different points, but entering at Lowdermilk Park gives you access to two playgrounds and sand volleyball courts, plus concession stands and restrooms. You’ll have to pay a meter, but your family will be happy to have more than just the beach available!

What’s your family’s favorite beach near Fort Myers, Florida? ?Any tips you would add?

For your continued reading: 3 Family-Friendly Places to View Wildlife in Southwest Florida.


The best beaches for families in SW Florida- The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel are great for families - here are some tips for when you visit.
Great kid-friendly beaches in the Fort Myers area - add this to your must-visit while in Southwest Florida- family, beaches near Fort Myers Florida, Sanibel Island, Lovers Key State Park

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