The Beaches of Southwest Florida

The state of Florida has nearly 700 miles of sandy shoreline, and conditions range from sugar-like dune systems in the panhandle to tiny slivers of sand stretching along the coastal Everglades.

In an article entitled Beauty and the Beach, the Fort Myers News Press recently compiled a list of five of the most popular beaches in Southwest Florida. Although by no means a complete list, there is something in the list for any taste as you unwind and try to get outdoors for a little post-holiday fun.

It’s also a great reminder of how great the weather is in SW Florida this time of year.

SW Florida has 50 miles of white sand and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  The area is one of the few places in Florida where you can wear a bathing suit to the beach year-round and swim.

Cayo Costa State Park

In the northwest corner of Lee County on the south end of Boca Grande Pass, Cayo Costa State Park and is one of the largest undeveloped islands remaining in Florida. The beaches are practically untouched, and there’s no electricity or hot water for campers. The only way to get to the island is by boat or paddle craft, so the journey itself adds to the adventure.

Lovers Key State Park

This beach has been on America’s best beaches television countdowns. The beach spans 2.5 miles along the Gulf of Mexico and has an abundance of wildlife, pedestrian and bicycle trails, interpretive programming and regular outdoors events.

The park also contains two family beach essentials: restroom facilities and concessions.

Bunche Beach Preserve

This beach has a little bit of everything: great nature scenes, plenty of open space for families, decent shelling and space for water sports such as kayaking, fishing and skimboarding.

The preserve consists of 717 acres of wetlands and shorelines. Mangrove trees stretch across most of the lands, and there are a handful of coastal tidal creeks that are great for paddle exploration trips. Swimmers must take care to avoid stumps, rocks and other natural debris that is left in place at Bunche Beach for ecological reasons. The preserve is at the west end of John Morris Road.

Sanibel Island

This island is world-renowned for shelling. The continental shelf extends about 80 miles off the island, and those shallow waters are a haven for all sorts of prize-producing mollusks. Currents push water from the south toward Sanibel, which sits in a more east-to-west fashion than most islands in this region, especially near the Sanibel Island Lighthouse at the south end.

Tigertail Beach

This beach is nestled along the northwest coast of Marco Island, south of Naples. Besides abundant wildlife and natural beauty, Tigertail also has a huge lagoon that offers protected sailing for windsurfers and kiteboarders.

It’s always best to have a shoreline downwind in case you lose control or get overpowered by heavy wind. The lagoon features offers protection no matter which way the winds are blowing.

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