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(2021 - Fall/Winter Issue)


There’s something about the air in southwest Florida. With that first breath, you immediately feel both tranquil and invigorated. It’s liberating when sunshine, instead of sleeves, covers your arms.

On the beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, it’s all about being an outside kid. There are just too many intriguing shells, sandy walks, flamboyant birds, alluring waterways and tropical breezes to want walls on this winter retreat.


Sanibel’s white-sand beaches are where it’s at for that first lazy vacation day. Wander down the famous shelling beaches to collect a few souvenirs—perhaps even a rare spotted Junonia shell—and let the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico wash off the last traces of the real world. Spread out the towel for a nap. Cycle through quiet neighbourhoods, to the mangrove wilderness of J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The short hiking trails here are dotted with great blue herons, gregarious colonies of white ibis and the occasional basking alligator. Say thank you, when you pass a roseate spoonbill, for her splashy ensemble.

As daylight wanes, it’s time for the sunset show over the Gulf. A dinner cruise aboard the luxury yacht Sanibel Harbour Princess is a great way to welcome in the evening. Don’t forget to look for the elusive green flash (it is real). Later, back on the beach, it’s time to lean back and watch the nighttime show, courtesy of our Milky Way galaxy.

Bonus: Book a private charter boat for a sea-shelling quest to remote beaches.


Now that you’re relaxed and fully Floridified, it’s time for the social scene on spirited Fort Myers Beach. Devour a freshly caught bit of yellowtail or grouper at a beachside joint. Jump into a game of volleyball. And once you’ve had your fill of people watching, drift south to Lovers Key State Park to connect with West Indian manatees and great  egrets. Mangrove-lined waterways beckon paddlers, and the park rents kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and canoes. Meandering boardwalks usher land-lovers to the sand, complete with scuttling crabs. Take a moment to enjoy a shady view from the elevated gazebo to figure out why they call it Lovers Key.

Bonus: For a more demanding paddle, follow the Great Calusa Blueway water trail from Lovers Key to Mound Key, which was once the centre of the Calusa Indian kingdom, dating back over 2,000 years.


If you’re craving salt spray on your face and sunshine on your back, it’s time for a boating adventure day. Rent or charter a power boat, or even a private sailing sloop, to traverse the remote beaches at Cayo Costa State Park and other nearby islands like Cabbage Key and North Captiva Island (a good lunch stopover with restaurants). Yellow-crowned night herons fish the shallows, brown pelicans dive face first from 18 metres in the air, and curious dolphins greet you along the way. Out here, the open water clears the mind, and charges the soul when it feels like anything, absolutely anything is possible.

Bonus: Head out to sea and learn to sail at the Steve and Doris Colgate’s Offshore Sailing School, “America’s Number One Sailing School.”

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Discover the nature and beauty of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel

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