When you step onto our beaches, it’s always best to go with the flow. But if you’d rather plan each day, or you’re just pressed for time, that’s okay, too. These simple suggestions will help you hit some can’t-miss spots on the holiday weekend.
A late arrival leaves plenty of time for shelling. Head to Blind Pass Beach or go to Bowman’s Beach, which has a big parking lot for $5 an hour. As long as you’re on Sanibel, save time for Pinocchio’s ice cream – get a taste of the famous Dirty Sand Dollar flavor. At sunset, stick around on Blind Pass or Turner Beach, or drive to the Mucky Duck where a cold drink makes the sun even warmer.
Saturday is a good day to spread out on Sanibel Island. Start your morning with breakfast at The Lighthouse Cafe. From there, rent a bike and explore the island. Cruise through J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge to see Southwest Florida’s tropical ecosystem. Then, get on the water any way you can, whether it’s a charter, kayak or boat rental. The dolphins and manatees will thank you.
A Heavenly Biscuit breakfast on Fort Myers Beach is as divine as it sounds. Then go to the beach – or better yet, chart your own course and go island hopping. It doesn’t have shells, but the Inn on Cabbage Key has a literal cheeseburger in paradise. In fact, Jimmy Buffett’s signature is on the wall, but you’ll need a boat to get there. If you like history, spend time at The Edison & Ford Winter Estates. The two iconic inventors’ lives and work are showcased along with a botanical garden and their workshops.
Some government parks will be closed for the holiday, but you can pack a picnic and head to Lover’s Key State Park. Or get active on the boardwalk at Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve. Anglers can cast a line off Sanibel Pier – and Fort Myers Beach will be a hotspot for sand. But you can always take a boat to one of the outer islands for a private beach all your own.