Six beach chairs with different colors on the beach

Fort Myers and Sanibel: A snowbird travel guide

About Fort Myers and Sanibel

Fort Myers is located on the western coast of the Florida peninsula along the Caloosahatchee River. It is known as the gateway to southwestern Florida, and it was one of the first forts built during the American-Indian Wars. Today, it’s home to many current and former athletes and is a very popular tourist destination for snowbirds. Sanibel is a popular city on Sanibel Island, which is located about 30 minutes south of Fort Myers. A barrier island off the Gulf of Mexico, it is known for its shell beaches and wildlife refuges.

Why travel here

With hundreds of naturally preserved islands, beautiful white sand beaches, forests, parks and wildlife, the Fort Myers area lets snowbirds spend their days enjoying the warm coastal waters, collecting shells on the beach, fishing and exploring some of the many unique and diverse local communities. There are many places to stay at and visit during your trip.

Accommodation and travel options

The Fort Myers and Sanibel area is known for its diverse communities. Whether you are looking for a beachfront resort, island getaway or downtown condo, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from. Some of the most popular communities include:

  • Fort Myers and Fort Myers beach
  • Sanibel Island
  • Pine Island
  • Cape Coral
  • Boca Grande and the Outer Islands
  • Bonita Springs and Estero
  • Lehigh Acres

There are hundreds of accommodation listings for you to choose from. From bed and breakfasts to condos, hotels, cottages, vacation rentals, campgrounds and RV parks, you can choose the type of accommodation that suits your needs and your budget.

If you are travelling by air, you can fly directly to the Southwest Florida International Airport, which is located in Fort Myers. Only 30 minutes from Fort Myers beach and 45 minutes from Sanibel, it’s a convenient travel option that offers flights from Canada.

Located close to major interstate highways, Fort Myers is easily accessible by car and is an ideal location for road trips to other areas of Florida. A three-part causeway bridge to Sanibel was recently constructed. The city is located a few hours’ drive from Orlando, Tampa Bay and Daytona Beach, and it is minutes from Cape Coral. Bus and trolley routes will take you around the Fort Myers and Sanibel area. Service also extends to the region’s airport.

Things to do

There are hundreds of things to do in the area, which is a prime reason why snowbirds tend to travel here. Here is a listing of some of the most popular activities:

  • Arts and entertainment: From the Shell Factory & Nature Park to Florida Southwest Symphony, Murder Mystery dinners, art studios and theatre, you will have no trouble finding things to keep you entertained.
  • Attractions: The area is filled with great attractions, such as Zoomers Amusement Park, island tours, casinos and museums. It’s also home to the Minnesota Twins spring training facility, a great place for a ball game.
  • Beaches and parks: It’s easy finding a beach to relax on in Fort Myers. Some of the best include the North Cape Flats, Great Calusa Blueway, Tarpon Bay beach and Everglades Wonder Gardens.
  • Outdoor activities: From adventure tours, boating, deep sea fishing, golfing, kayaking and even swimming with dolphins, there is something for everyone.
  • Shopping: Whether you like designer brands or boutique shops, the communities surrounding Fort Myers have great shopping.

When to visit

One of the most attractive features of this area as a snowbird destination is that southwest Florida rarely experiences hurricanes directly. December to February is the busy tourist season, but if you can wait it out, March to May is considered the best time of the year to visit, with fewer crowds, less rainfall and temperatures in the mid to high 20s.

Learn more about Fort Myers and Sanibel by visiting