By Coastal Living
May 28, 2014

As the name suggests, any family vacation spent on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel should include plenty of beach time. Some 50 miles of pristine coastline is readily accessible divided among hundreds of unspoiled islands and natural white-sand beaches. Time here means epic sandcastle building battles and phenomenal shelling opportunities, which just so happen to make wonderful and free souvenirs. Visit Sanibel, Captiva and the Cayo Costa Islands for great examples of why our beaches are some of the world's best.

The same can be said for wildlife viewing in and around The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. Witness dolphins darting in and out of the water alongside your charter cruise as you island hop in the Gulf. Paddle inches from giant Manatees lazily swimming the Great Calusa Blueway. Spy over 220 species of migratory birds in the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States.

As for fun off the beach and away from the water, art galleries of every color and variety burst from the seams on Matlacha and Pine Island. For kids, the Imaginarium's hands-on museum experience includes motion experiments, archaeological digs and a marine life touch-tank. And no visit is complete without a tour of the winter homes of Thomas Edison and his good friend, automaker Henry Ford. Their estates, filled with tropical gardens, laboratories and museums, prove the only limit on success is one's imagination.

All of these experiences create memories – the kind that turn mom, dad, sister and brother back into family. Only one question remains. Can you fit it all in? It's time to make The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel a tradition. Visit to start planning your vacation today or for a free Lonely Planet guidebook.