We visited Fort Myers & Sanibel Island on a sponsored press trip but all opinions are my own.
If you are considering a trip to Florida, Fort Myers & Sanibel Island should be at the top of your list! There are so many things to do in Fort Myers & Sanibel Island; whether you are traveling to the area with kids, to get married, or spend alone time with your significant other there is something to do for everyone. We recently spent 5 days exploring Fort Myers & Sanibel Island and here is our itinerary.
How We Got There
Since we live in South Florida getting to Fort Myers & Sanibel Island was a quick 2.5hr drive from home. If you are traveling here out of town there is an airport in Ft. Myers, the Southwest Florida International Airport, which is serviced by Air Canada, America, Eurowings, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Silver, Southwest, Spirit, United and Westjet. However, this airport could be more expensive to fly into and with it’s close proximity to both Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa International Airports it would make sense to check flights into all three to determine which would be cheaper as renting a car would be necessary regardless of the airport you fly into.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina and when they say the only thing they overlook is the beach they mean it. This was the best hotel we have ever stayed in. They have condominium style rooms which we love as they give our family much more space plus amenities like a full kitchen if we choose to stay in and cook. Check out my full review of the hotel including all the free activities they offer here.
What We Did
Day Zero: Check-In & Movie Night
After driving to Ft. Myers Beach after work we checked into our hotel and had dinner on site at Bongos.
A few nights a week the hotel has movie nights by the pool. Tonight’s movie was catered to younger kids, it was Sherlock Gnomes. Since it was raining they moved the movie indoors but still had the free popcorn that’s made fresh from their popcorn machine. The night before Justice League was playing, so their movies catering to multiple age groups.
Day One: Dolphin + Shelling Tour, The Bubble Room
Our first full day started bright and early with Captain Randy who took us on a Dolphin and Shell Tour. His boat ramp is located on Captiva Island which is at the end of Sanibel about a 45-min drive from the hotel with a $6 cash only toll to cross the bridge. The drive was so worth it, it is was by far the best wild animal encounter we have ever had. We saw dozens of Dolphins throughout our day, many who followed the waves of the boat for 20+ minutes, constantly jumping in and out of the water.
After being wowed by the Dolphins Captain Randy took us to a secluded island where we could collect shells. There was literally only one other family of four there and it was so nice basically having the entire beach to ourselves. The whole beach was filled with shells of all shapes, sizes and colors.
When our trip with Captain Randy was over we were hungry so we headed to The Bubble Room. If you make it to Capitva Island you must eat here, it is truly an experience like no other. After we ordered we walked around the 3-story, 5 dinning room restaurant to look around. I don’t even know how to explain all that is in the restaurant but it more than kept the girls entertained while waiting for our food. Be sure to save room for dessert, it’s definitely the 2nd best thing they offer after the décor.
Day Two: Bike Ride + Sanibel Light House + Zoomers
We love renting bikes and seeing cities through riding around so when we found out there was a bike path to Sanibel Lighthouse and Beach we knew that would be the way for us to get there. We drove over to Sanibel Island and rented bikes from Billy’s Rental. Billy’s rents a wide range of bikes including those with baby seats, single-speed, trailer attachments for kids and even the weehoo that we rented and used to have Jordyn ride with me. It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. She was able to pedal too but not be cooped up in a trailer and feel like she was contributing.
We did a 2-hour rental, which was enough time for us to ride to the Lighthouse, hang out for an hour and ride back. For the two bikes with children’s seat, the rental cost was $27 and they do provide helmets if you need them.
After all of our hard work biking through Sanibel Island it was time for lunch! We decided on The Island Cow, a cute little restaurant just two minutes from the bike rental shop. There are literally cows all over the restaurant, both inside and out and the girls were fascinated by the décor.
We headed back to the hotel and the girls took a nap while us adults relaxed for a bit. When they woke up we headed to Zoomers Amusement Park and had such a fun night. Zoomers has go-karts for adults and kids, kiddie rides, mini golf, water boats and an arcade.
You can purchase tickets individually or you can buy a wristband for unlimited rides. Since a lot of the rides are geared towards kids you can buy a companion pass, which is much cheaper and allows you to go on rides as long as you are accompanying a child. There is only 1 ride for kids under 36” so if you are bringing a younger child know they can only go on the train and play arcade games.
Day Three: Hotel Activities: Parasailing, Jet Skiing, Beach + Pool + Escape Room
The Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina has so many activities on-site that we knew we wanted to spend at least one day enjoying everything they had to offer. We started the day Parasailing with Estero Island Parasail which we were able to book directly on the beach at our hotel. Up to 3 people can fly together but only Jordyn and my husband went, Kennedy and I watched. Adults are $80 while children under 10 are $55 and if you want to go along for the ride but not fly it’s $20 and there was no discount provided for children. They also offer a photo package for $30, which includes one video, and while you can’t see the photos before you buy (they just give you the SD card from the camera) I’d recommend it. Even though I didn’t go and was able to take videos of them, each video had the crew member assisting them in it so he would have been in all the photos too. The photographer is also able to take photos from places on the boat you as a passenger aren’t allowed to be. Here is a photo from our package:
Since parasailing apparently wasn’t thrilling enough for Jordyn she asked to go jet skiing afterwards. Kids 3 and up are allowed to be passengers so her and my husband rented one for 30 minutes.
Hotel guests are able to rent stand up paddle boards (SUPs) and Kayaks for free and we took full advantage. The beach was perfect for the SUPs, the water was extremely calm and shallow. We even came across a few dolphins and a stingray on our paddle!
After hanging out at beach for the first half of the day we moved to the pool. The pool at the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina is so nice, even when there are a lot of people you don’t feel like it’s super crowded. A waterfall splits the pool with one side being much deeper than the other. There is also a kid’s splash pad, shallow enough for even the littlest babies.
After so much time in the sun we all needed a nap so we went back up to our room to relax and take a snooze. When we were well rested we headed to Escape Room Ft. Myers where we tried to escape the Play Room. We have been dying to do an Escape Room and were so happy to finally find one that allowed kids and bonus kids under 5 are free! In this escape room there are kids costumes such as superman, princesses, etc. and the kids def tried them all on and played dress up. It was so much fun and was the perfect activity for the raining evening we were experiencing in Ft. Myers. We even broke the record for escaping the room in the shortest amount of time for our group size!!
Day Four: Lovers Key State Park + Canoeing, Love Boat Ice Cream + Pool + Fine Folk Pizza
There are so many outdoor and water activities in Ft. Myers so on this day we tried our hand at canoeing at Lovers Key State Park. We were able to rent a canoe for half the day for $48 (they only charged us the 1-2 person rate due to the kids ages). Where you pay and get the paddles is not where you get the canoe into the water and while the employee told us it was a 2 minute walk I really wish we would have driven since carrying the two paddles, 6 bench pads, and everything else wasn’t the easiest and the kids don’t walk the fastest.
Be prepared to get the canoe into the water on your own, they are just laying on the gravel with no employees on that side. They ask you not to drag the canoe on the gravel but if you are canoeing on your own I don’t see how it would be possible to pick it up by yourself. There is no shade on the 2.5 mile trial so be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen and bring water, sunglasses, and a hat (we failed on the hat part). We even saw a few pros with chair umbrellas that clipped to the seats on their kayak/canoes, I wish we had those! It’s Florida and the outdoors so insect repellent is also a must. There are manatees, dolphins, and even alligators in the mangrove trial but we only saw a manatee. You can also see plenty of jumping fish and birds diving into the water to eat them!
After canoeing we planned to go on one of the hiking trials in the park but it was so hot we decided on ice cream instead. Everyone said Love Boat Ice Cream had the best homemade ice cream so we went there and it did not disappoint. We have never been to an ice cream store with so many flavors, there is something for everyone. Avoid coming late in the evening unless you want to wait on a long line, we drove by the night before on the way to the Escape Room and the line was outside wrapped around the corner.
Of course the girls wanted to go in the pool when we returned to the hotel so we hung out there until it was time to get ready for dinner. For dinner we ate at Fine Folk Pizza and they really get eating out with kids. Forget coloring books and crayons, they give kids a dough tossing lesson while you wait for your food. It was so funny watching Jordyn try to catch the dough and having the tossing experts put a show on for the rest of us. When the lesson is over they allow the kids to keep their dough so while Kennedy was asleep during the show when she woke up she was able to make whatever she wanted with her dough.
Day Five: Fishing + Drive Home
We would be driving home today but not before one last adventure. After checking out we headed back to Captiva Island for a fishing trip with Captain Randy. He provides everything, rods, bait, etc., so we just had to show up.
During the trip we moved to different spots but unfortunately we didn’t catch anything. Still we had a great time and came across more pods of dolphins as well as spotting some manatees! If you needed to freshen up after fishing there is a really nice bathroom with a shower by the boat dock you can use before flying/driving home.
Fort Myers and Sanibel Island was such an amazing trip and just goes to show you don’t have to go far to have a great time! Looking for additional resources for planning your trip? Check out the official website of Fort Myers and Sanibel Island for help planning your trip and to access special deals!