10 Best Beaches in Fort Myers to Explore By Boat
Fort Myers Beach is located on Estero Island, just off the coast of Fort Myers and Cape Coral. Like all of the inhabited barrier islands of Florida, it is accessible by bridge; however, this seven-mile stretch of beach is most easily accessible by boat. In some locations with shallow depths, you’ll need to anchor further out and wade in, while other areas of the beach allow you to pull up on the sand.
The weather is lovely year-round in Fort Myers, and almost every day is perfect for lounging on the sand. For the best experience possible, consider renting a boat, and explore all the various beaches Fort Myers has to offer.
10 Best Beachs in Fort Myers
Listed below are 10 of the best beaches in Fort Myers that are open to the public. Although they are all accessible from the mainland, with the exception of North Captiva Island and Cayo Costa, visiting each of these beaches by boat adds to the adventure and overall experience.
- Cayo Costa
- North Captiva Island
- Allison Hagerup Beach Park
- Bowman’s Beach
- Gulfside City Park
- Lighthouse Beach Park
- Turner and Blind Pass Beaches
- Fort Myers Beach on Estero Island
- Lovers Key State Park
- Big Hickory
Also be sure to explore our Fort Myers Boating Guide for additional tips and tricks for boating in and around Fort Myers.
1. Cayo Costa Beaches
At Cayo Costa, you will find miles of pristine white sands, aquamarine waters, a saltwater lake, a lagoon, campsites, and cabins. In addition, this location offers bike rentals and hiking trails.
Located to the northwest of the Caloosahatchee River, a trip to Cayo Costa is perfect for smaller boats. Another option is to rent a larger boat with a captain, who is experienced to anchor within the Gulf and can confidently navigate the bay even on very windy days.
2. North Captiva Island Beaches
The only way to get to North Captiva Island is by boat. A large population of locals lives on the north and south ends of the island, both seasonally and year-round. The beaches at these two locations are primarily private and attached to the homes built there.
On the Gulf side, however, the middle section of North Captiva Island is free of homes and residents of any kind. Boaters in the area should be conscious of ‘No Trespassing’ signs and other posted signage prohibiting exploration of certain locations along the beach.
Captiva Island and Sanibel Island Beaches
Both Captiva Island and Sanibel Islands have several of Fort Myer’s best beaches (be sure to explore our comprehensive list of the 6 Best Beaches on Sanibel Island). Like North Captiva Island, however, many sections of the beach here are closed to the public. However, there are five beaches of note that you can reach by boat.
3. Allison Hagerup Beach Park
Glistening white sand and a backdrop of clear turquoise waters are the main draw for every Captiva Island Beach. The recent beach enrichment at Allison Hagerup Beach Park has widened this gorgeous beach, giving visitors even more sand area to enjoy. Accessible from land, the beauty of this stretch of beach is best enjoyed from the freedom of a boat.
4. Bowman’s Beach
Bowman’s beach is the most remote beach on Sanibel Island, which makes it one of the best beaches to visit by boat to avoid the crowds.
5. Gulfside City Park
Mid-island and away from the more populated areas of Sanibel Island, Gulfside City Park has a very wide beach to enjoy. In addition, the shallow water stretches out a good distance from the shore, making anchoring and getting to shore a lot easier.
6. Lighthouse Beach Park
Sanibel Island is home to one of Florida’s 30 lighthouses, and it sits on the island’s south end. There is a public park, along with the white sandy beach that wraps around the end of the island. Hands down, Lighthouse Beach Park is the most visited beach in the area.
This location offers several amenities, including restrooms, picnic tables, and grills. In addition, there is a pier here for fishing. Unfortunately, there are no nearby docks, so you will need to anchor out from shore if arriving by boat.
7. Turner and Blind Pass Beaches
Bracketing the Gulf side of Blind Pass on the north is Turner Beach, and on the south is Blind Pass Beach. This pass divides North Captiva Island from Captiva and is heavily visited from land and sea. The two beaches fill up on the weekend with locals and those in boats and cars from afar. So grab a boat and join the party!
8. Fort Myers Beach on Estero Island
The closest beach to downtown Fort Myers is on Estero Island. Fort Myers Beach stretches seven miles down the coast.
At the north end of Estero Island is also Bowditch Point Park, where you can beach your boat and stay awhile. There is dockage available, which makes Bowditch Point one of the best beaches in Fort Myers because it is easily accessible and close-by to downtown.
9. Lovers Key State Park
The next island to the south of Estero is Lovers Key State Park. It has a long sugar sand beach that is easily accessible by boat. You have the option of beaching directly on the sand or anchoring further out, and there is also a boat ramp and restrooms available.
10. Big Hickory
Big Hickory Island is the next island to the south, and like Lovers Key, it has restrooms and a wide, white beach facing the Gulf of Mexico and New Pass. Smaller than many of the other islands here, it is one of the best beaches in Fort Myers to reach by boat.
Ready to Explore Fort Myers Beaches by Boat?
The above is just a taste of the beaches Fort Myers has to offer, and with a boat rental, you have the freedom to explore all these popular locations and more.
Arguably, the best part about visiting these beaches by way of boat is the ability to find the least occupied section of sand to set up camp for a perfect day on the boat–away from the crowds. With a boat, you’ll have no problem finding the best beaches in Fort Myers to suit you and your crew.