The 7 Best Beaches in Fort Myers Florida (Plus 5 More Nearby) — Naples Florida Travel Guide (2023)

Heading to southwest Florida and looking for the best beaches in Fort Myers? This guide has you covered!

Southwest Florida is known for its idyllic coastline that slopes gently into the Gulf of Mexico. The waters here are shallow, and those gentle slopes are what make shelling these shores so perfect.

One of the main reasons that people visit Fort Myers and the Lee Island Coast is for the gorgeous beaches, and the beaches in Fort Myers Florida and nearby Sanibel are uber popular and offer a wide range of options for every beach lover.

After all, with 271 days of sunshine per year, any time is a good time to enjoy the sandy shores and blue-green waters.

Between Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach, there are quite a few pristine shorelines to choose from. You can kayak at Bunche Beach, admire the beauty of Lovers Key State Park, and enjoy a family beach day at Crescent Beach Family Park.

And depending on where in the city you plan to spend most of your time, you’ll find some of the best beaches near Fort Myers are actually in nearby Cape Coral, Englewood, Bonita Springs, or north Naples.

If you’re looking for the best beaches in and near Fort Myers, this guide has you covered with some amazing options. You’ll also find tips on visiting, info on parking, amenities and more!

But first, it’s important to get the lay of the land!

The 7 Best Beaches in Fort Myers Florida (Plus 5 More Nearby) — Naples Florida Travel Guide (1)

About the Beaches of Fort Myers Florida

The beaches in southwest Florida are some of the best in the Sunshine State. That said however, with so many miles of coastline along the Gulf shore and around the many barrier islands off the coast of Fort Myers, Englewood to the north and Marco Island to the south, it’s important to remember that not all beaches are created equal.

Not to sound like a beach snob, but seriously… not every beach is the kind you want to lounge on for days. Am I right? A great beach for launching a kayak in Fort Myers may not be the best beach for lounging. You want soft dry sand for that!

If this is your first visit to Fort Myers, you may not realize that the downtown Fort Myers itself in located inland on the Caloosahatchee River, not actually on the Gulf of Mexico. The city sits where the River meets the Gulf and looks out across the Sanibel Island to the west, St. James City on Pine Island to the northwest, and Cape Coral and North Fort Myers to the north.

Now that we have geography out of the way, remember one thing: Fort Myers’ beaches are at Fort Myers Beach to the south!

7 Best Beaches in Fort Myers

The 7 Best Beaches in Fort Myers Florida (Plus 5 More Nearby) — Naples Florida Travel Guide (2)

For the city’s top beaches, check out these 7 beaches in Fort Myers FL:

Bunche Beach

Bunche Beach is located on the stunning San Carlos Bay, and it is one of the best beaches in Fort Myers. You can enjoy all of the usual beach activities there, including swimming, suntanning, and shelling. Quite a few starfish and crabs have made their home at Bunch Beach and let’s talk about shelling. Some beaches — like the ones on Sanibel — are generally better for shelling, but if it’s the King’s Crown shell you’re looking for, check out Bunche Beach.

But by far one of the best things to do at Bunche Beach is kayak! Not only can you kayak in San Carlos Bay, but you can also kayak in the waterways that head inland.

The best way to experience kayaking at Bunche Beach is actually by starting inland and paddling your way out towards the gulf. You can begin your adventure at the dedicated kayak launch site near Kayak Excursions (which also happens to be a great place to rent a kayak if you need one). Then, you can simply follow the winding waterway out to San Carlos Bay. Along the way, you’ll see thriving mangrove trees, wading and migratory birds, and other southwest Florida wildlife as well.

LOCATION: 18201 John Morris Rd, Fort Myers

FEE: $2 per hour parking fee via cash and major credit cards. Lee County annual parking stickers are also accepted.

PARKING: 100 cars can park between the site and the beach however there’s no parking on the west side of John Morris Road

Newton Park

Newton Park on Fort Myers Beach is a perfect beach for history lovers and families with children! This historical beach run by the city of Fort Myers Beach is the former beachfront home of Jim and Ellie Newton, who were friends and acquaintances back in the day with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh, and others he called "Uncommon Friends."

There are restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables at the Cottage, and easy beach access. The property’s Seven Seas cottage is available for special events and features a covered thatched hut and bocce courts.

LOCATION: 4650 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach

PARKING: $3 per hour metered parking (bring quarters), with a two-hour time limit

The 7 Best Beaches in Fort Myers Florida (Plus 5 More Nearby) — Naples Florida Travel Guide (3)

Lovers Key State Park

Since Lovers Key State Park is a state park, its lands get a little bit more care and protection than other beaches. For that reason and the unique amenities here, Lovers Key State Park is one of the best beaches in Fort Myers Beach. It’s open 365 days a year, and therefore the perfect fix for even the most spontaneous beach day!

The best thing to do at Lovers Key State Park is simply take some time to relax, whatever that means to you. You can go for a refreshing dip in the Gulf, pick a spot on the two-mile long main beach and read a book, toss a football around for a while, or simply take a nap in the sun.

Away from the beach, there are over five miles of hiking trails through vegetation, perfect for spotting wildlife, and you and the other humans won’t be the only ones enjoying the beauty of Lovers Key State Park. There’s always the requisite gopher tortoise making their way in the brush, herons and osprey on the hunt, and sometimes the occasional manatee in the shallows. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for these cool animals!

In addition to the main beach, a separate dog-friendly beach — the Bonita Beach Dog Beach — is exclusively for dogs. Dogs can run off-leash and frolic in the water here. Although it’s technically part of Lover's Key State park, access to the Dog Beach is free.

LOCATION: 8700 Estero Blvd. Fort Myers Beach

PARKING: $8 per vehicle which includes a free shuttle to the beach. Plenty of spaces for the State Park.

Bowditch Point Park

Situated on the northernmost tip of the Fort Myers Beach Peninsula, Bowditch Point Park is a little further from the action of the resorts. This means that you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and instead listen to the sound of the crashing waves.

Bowditch Point Park offers all of the usual beach activities, including swimming, suntanning, shelling, and sandcastle building. But it also boasts the added bonus of hiking, as there are a few greenery-laden walking trails that wind their way throughout the park.

But one of the biggest perks of Bowditch Point Park is its sunset viewing conditions. Since this Fort Myers beach is away from the crowds, you’ll be able to be completely immersed in this nightly natural show. Just grab a blanket, take a seat on the west side of the park, and watch the sun dip below the horizon.

LOCATION: 50 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach

PARKING: $2 per hour parking fee via cash and major credit cards. Lee County annual parking stickers are also accepted. No trailers or vehicle trailer parking is permitted.

BOAT DOCKING: Free day docks are open for boaters at Bowditch Point. The docks feature 10 slips for boats up to 28-feet in length and a paddlecraft launch onto the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail. There is no overnight dockage, and no fishing is permitted from the docks.

Crescent Beach Family Park

Crescent Beach Family Park is actually a little sliver of Fort Myers Beach just south of the Fort Myers fishing pier. But this this section of shoreline is distinguished from the remaining seven miles, because it’s typically where many families hang out – as the name of the park implies. It’s one of the public beaches Fort Myers has that are super family-friendly.

Like Fort Myers Beach, Crescent Beach Family Park offers ideal conditions for swimming, suntanning, sandcastle building and shelling. And while those activities alone could keep you and your little ones occupied for an entire day, this particular beach has a few added bonuses.

During your time at Crescent Beach Family Park, you can also make use of the two sand volleyball courts. After all, what’s a better bonding activity than a friendly family game? And once you’re all worn out from a few rounds, you can enjoy a packed snack at one of the four designated picnic areas at this lovely little beach. It’s also walking distance to several of the fun Fort Myers Beach bars like the Salty Crab and the Smokin’ Oyster — which are also family-friendly and appropriate for families with older children and teens.

LOCATION: 1100 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach

PARKING: $2 per hour metered parking spaces with a two-hour time limit

The 7 Best Beaches in Fort Myers Florida (Plus 5 More Nearby) — Naples Florida Travel Guide (4)

Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach is undoubtedly the most well-known beach in the Fort Myers area. Part of the reason for its popularity is it recognizable name, but most of it comes from the picture-perfect seven miles of shoreline.

You can easily spend the entire day experiencing the beauty of Fort Myers Beach. You can take a dip in the sparkling gulf waters, relax on the golden sand, test your sandcastle building prowess, and pick up loads of gorgeous shells. And if you’d like to kayak or parasail your way around Fort Myers Beach, you can do that too!

During your time at Fort Myers Beach, you’ll definitely want to walk over to the Fort Myers Beach Pier. It’s a great place to go for a leisurely stroll, admire views of the beach, watch the friendly pelicans fly around, or do a little fishing.

And while Fort Myers Beach is particularly stunning and entertaining, it’s also extremely safe. With calm, shallow waters, it’s the perfect place for kids or inexperienced swimmers.

After spending hours enjoying Fort Myers Beach, the best way to finish it off is with a beautiful sunset. As a matter of fact, Fort Myers Beach is one of the most amazing places to watch the sunset in town!

LOCATION: Times Square Parking Lot (1133 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach) or beach access points south to Lover’s Key

PARKING: $2 per hour metered parking spaces with a two-hour time limit

Little Hickory Island Park

If you’re looking for a hidden spot away from the crowds, you may have your work cut out for you — after all, there’s a reason the beaches in Fort Myers are known as some of the best in the world. But if you’ve been to Lover’s Key — or are planning on it — go a little farther south past Lover’s Key State Park and spend the day at Little Hickory Island Park, a gem of a beach away from the crowds of Fort Myers Beach to the north and Bonita Beach to the south.

Its isolated location just off Little Hickory Island makes it perfect to get away from the crowds. There are picnic shelters and tables, public restrooms, and a great view of the Gulf.

LOCATION: 26082 Hickory Blvd, Bonita Springs

PARKING: $2 per hour parking fee via cash and major credit cards. Lee County annual parking stickers are also accepted.

Best Beaches Near Fort Myers, Florida

Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel

If you’re staying in downtown Fort Myers and want to check out a beach on Sanibel Island, Lighthouse Beach is one of the best beaches near Fort Myers and the closest beach to the mainland.

Located at the easternmost tip of Sanibel Island, Lighthouse beach is unique for a few reasons. First, it has some of the best shelling on Sanibel. Seriously… any time of day or night, and especially after a good storm!

Second, Sanibel Lighthouse Beach is the only beach near Fort Myers (other than Bowditch Point on Fort Myers Beach) that wraps around the entire tip of an island, giving it a number of unique beach areas, a fishing pier, and lots of room to explore and run around.

In fact, because of the unique layout, there are even several walking trails that wind their way through the trees and cut through from the outer beach to the fishing pier. It’s a popular spot for boat tours and shelling cruises since it’s right across from Fort Myers and the lighthouse makes the popular spot for sunset pics.

Bring a picnic lunch and plan to spend the day, watch the sunset, and even do some shelling at dusk if you love finding some of nature’s tiniest creatures after dark. A visit to Lighthouse beach is one of the best things to do in Sanibel!

Bonus — Lee County beaches are dog-friendly!

LOCATION: 110 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel

PARKING: 152 Parking Spaces with Limited RV parking spaces. $5.00 per hour parking fee, and parking permits accepted. FREE Handicapped Accessible parking.

The 7 Best Beaches in Fort Myers Florida (Plus 5 More Nearby) — Naples Florida Travel Guide (5)

Barefoot Beach Preserve, Naples

South of Fort Myers Beach, just on the other side of Bonita Beach is one of the best beaches in Naples, in case you thought Naples might be too far to drive. The entrance to Barefoot Beach is in Lee County, but by the time you make your way through the residential neighborhood to the Barefoot Beach Preserve, you’re in Collier County, home to some really beautiful beaches.

This 345-acre natural beach is always a top-rated beach with plenty of room for every beach goer to feel they have the place practically to themselves. Barefoot Beach is one of the last undeveloped barrier islands on Florida’s Southwest coast.

Just north of the Preserve is Bonita Beach Park, which has public rest rooms, showers and concessions.

LOCATION: 505 Barefoot Beach Blvd, Bonita Springs

PARKING: 96 parking spaces. $8 beach parking fee without Collier County resident beach parking permit

Algiers Beach, Sanibel

One of the prettiest beaches on Sanibel Island, Algiers will forever hold a place in my heart as the place where I found my first — and only — Junonia shell, the rare find that’s the envy of SWFL shell collectors!

Beside being great for shelling, Algiers is one of the beaches near Fort Myers that’s perfect for sunbathing, shelling, and swimming. You can’t say that about just any beach. The beach itself sits squarely on Sanibel’s south (belly) side, so currents are generally mild and the water is always pristine and free of debris. It’s a good spot to find sand dollars.

Plus, Lee County beaches are dog-friendly!

LOCATION: 2001 Algiers Lane, Sanibel

PARKING: 46 Parking Spaces with Limited RV parking spaces. $5.00 per hour parking fee, and parking permits accepted. FREE Handicapped Accessible parking.

Yacht Club Beach, Cape Coral

Located in a residential neighborhood in Cape Coral just across the river from Fort Myers, a visit to the Yacht Club Public Beach is one of the fun things to do in Cape Coral if you don’t feel like driving to Fort Myers Beach or Sanibel. The beach is on a narrow strip of sand on the Caloosahatchee River, and it’s a large beach at that. But generally it’s not crowded and the water is clean and refreshing.

There is a playground for the kids, a restaurant and tiki bar for drinks and eats, a fishing pier, and a marina with a boat ramp. A pavilion with grills is available on a first come first served basis along with public restrooms. Parking is free and can be a bit of a challenge during ‘season’.

LOCATION: 5819 Driftwood Parkway, Cape Coral

PARKING: Free parking

Boca Grande Beach

The beaches on Boca Grande are a beautiful soft white sand and are rarely crowded. Cross the causeway/bridge from Placida for $6.00 and look for parking near your chosen stretch of beach, though beach parking is very limited. The Lighthouse beach is lovely and also has public restrooms. The water all along the beach here is clear, calm, warm and ideal for shelling.

Bonus: the beach is dog friendly for dogs on a leash.

LOCATION: Boca Grande

PARKING: Free public (though limited) parking along most of the beach, except at the Lighthouse Beach where parking is on the honor system for $3.00.

The 7 Best Beaches in Fort Myers Florida (Plus 5 More Nearby) — Naples Florida Travel Guide (6)


Fort Myers beaches all boast sunny skies, sandy shores, and sparkling water. They’re absolutely picture-perfect! During your time in town, you can claim one as your go-to shoreline or go beach hopping to all of the locations on this list!

Whatever you decide to do, the best beaches in Fort Myers are sure to provide amazing beach day spots.

Things to Do

Lori Sorrentino

Fort Myers, beaches, best beaches, Sanibel, Boca Grande, Cape Coral, day trips, Fort Myers Beach


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