July 19, 2024
Forget The Caribbean! Island Hop Southwest Florida’s Stunning Beaches Instead

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Forget the Caribbean?! Yeah, we said it.

Between spotty sargassum and possible hurricanes, there are other stunning beaches to hit up without needing to pack a passport.

Florida may see some crazy headlines, but it’s actually a really fun place to visit. It’s not only Orlando and Miami either; the state is teeming with gorgeous beaches wrapping around the oddly shaped state.

Vivid blue waters of Anna Maria Island, Florida

Speaking of hurricanes, one underrated Florida beach city that has seemed to fall off the face of the Earth is Fort Myers, a beautiful getaway in recovery mode just like my Mondays in college.

Hurricane Ian devastated Fort Myers in 2022, but it’s starting to get back on its feet, making it the perfect time to visit to score cheap deals and boost the local economy.

Additionally, Fort Myers holds prime real estate. Surrounded by stunning islands, using Fort Myers as a springboard for island-hopping will have you forgetting about the Caribbean in no time!

Fort Myers Is On The Up And Up

Couple walking through vibrant street of Fort Myers, FloridaCouple walking through vibrant street of Fort Myers, Florida

According to the City of Fort Myers’ official website, it’s safe to say they are back in business. With 29 beach entrances open, only Newton Beach Park Beach Access is off-limits.

Small in size compared the nearest major city in Tampa, Fort Myers is not hard to reach. In fact, it has its own airport with plentiful flights, including multiple low-cost airlines for those on a tight budget.

Much like wildfires ravaged Maui, Hurricane Ian plundered the town nearly 2 years ago and there is still visible impact today, such as closed-down resorts along Fort Myers Beach.

Despite this, other resorts would love to have you as this vibrant city with a small town feel is ready to get back where it belongs – on your itinerary.

Blue water and pier in Fort MyersBlue water and pier in Fort Myers

These 3 resorts are highly rated, open for business, and no more expensive than what you would pay in Cancun this summer:

Fort Myers Is The Perfect Gateway For Island-Hopping

No need to overpay for a flight to Caribbean in the hottest time of year to travel both literally and figuratively.

Fort Myers Beach on Estero IslandFort Myers Beach on Estero Island

Southwest Florida is brimming with islands that are not discussed enough as top destinations compared to the Caribbean.

Each with their own unique appeal, some of the most notable islands are:

  • Estero Island
  • Anna Maria Island
  • Boca Grande
  • Pine Island
  • Sanibel Island

Which Island Should You Choose?

Marina in Cabbage Key, FloridaMarina in Cabbage Key, Florida

Estero is where Fort Myers Beach is located, not to be confused with nearby Fort Myers proper.

This long stretch of scenic coastline is lined with resorts (yes, the ones that are open!), beautiful beaches, and popular restaurants like top rated Dixie Fish Company, where one recent guest raved, “Excellent place to visit! Coconut crusted grouper is the way to go.”

Anna Maria Island‘s main draw is astounding postcard-worthy beaches. You know, the kind that make you ‘forget the Caribbean’. See what we did there?

Unlike other Florida beaches with towering condos and hotels, Anna Maria is more authentic and laid-back, with some areas seemingly untouched.

The 3 most popular beaches to visit are Manatee Beach Park, Coquina Beach, and Bean Point Beach.

Aerial view of Holmes Beach on Anna Maria IslandAerial view of Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island

Boca Grande is a secret gem often overlooked by its paradisal neighbors. If you want a really cool stay, check out the historic Gasparilla Inn, dating back to 1912.

Located near Charlotte Harbor, you could also check out the newly opened Sunseeker Resort for a ritzy say by night and island explorations by day.

Pine Island is both historic and dreamy. Home to gorgeous beaches, an array of wildlife and timeless sites like the Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve and Randell Research Center. There is a reason after all many say it has an ‘old Florida’ vibe to it.

Sanibel Island is a wildlife lover’s dream and you won’t have to scour a nearby gift shop to take home any fully intact seashells.

White sand on Bowman's Beach - Sanibel IslandWhite sand on Bowman's Beach - Sanibel Island

Between white sand, endless seashells, and a high probability of manatees, dolphins or sea turtle sightings, you won’t regret choosing Sanibel as your island escape.

They even have a shell museum. What?!

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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