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Five Fantastic Boating Destinations Around the Gulf Coast of Florida
It should come as no surprise that Florida, especially it’s Gulf Coast, is one of the top boating destinations in the world. Boasting beautiful seaside vistas, hundreds of varieties of fish, and amazing wildlife sanctuaries, a boating trip in the Gulf Coast Area is bound to be a memorable experience. With locations in Naples, Marco Island, and Fort Myers, Walker is thoroughly equipped to offer opportunities to experience the Gulf Coast. However, of all the incredible destinations for boating in the Gulf Coast area, these five stand out as being truly special.
Sanibel and Captiva Island
Located just West of Fort Myers, the islands of Sanibel and Captiva are two of the “Top 10 Best Florida Beach Towns,” according to USA Today. These islands’ location in the Gulf mean that fishing and diving is a must, while the deep blue water further out into the Gulf provides some of the best Grouper fishing in the state. Miles of beautiful beaches can make for a relaxing day by the Gulf. The Tween Waters Inn and the South Seas Resort are both great places to dock and enjoy grouper sandwiches, and a walk on one of the Sanibel’s many beaches though the South Seas Resort requires prior contact with the Harbormaster for docking. Delightful seaside restaurants abound, and the shopping opportunities are ample, making Sanibel and Captiva a wonderful choice for a day trip.
Several miles up the Caloosahatchee River, the town of Fort Myers provides entertainment for the whole family in the form of water parks, gardens, and the Florida Repertory Theatre, which brings high-quality professional theatre to the Gulf Coast. The Fort Myers River District also provides ample opportunities for sight-seeing, while the IMAG History and Science Center can provide hours of informative entertainment for children of all ages. Downtown, you’ll find nightlife in the form of speakeasies and cocktail bars, some with live music. The Yacht Basin in Fort Myers is a large protected marina operated by the city of Fort Myers, and this is a fantastic place to dock and explore the downtown area. The Gulf Harbor Marina and the Marina at Edison Estates also allow for docking, and Edison Estates provides opportunity for a true Florida dining experience at Pinchers. On the Gulf Coast, Fort Myers is a must-visit.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back atmosphere, then Pine Island is certainly for you. Kayaking or canoeing is always an option here, with the waterways of Matlacha Pass and the Pine Island Aquatic Preserve creating a great space for manual boating. Pine Island Sound provides not only an abundance of Snook, Tarpon, Redfish, and Sea Trout, it is also a prime space for bird-watchers and nature-lovers alike. The three aquatic preserves, fruit groves, and fishing opportunities make Pine Island the perfect destination for a low-stakes adventure.
For lovers of wildlife, there is perhaps no better destination than Bonita Springs, home of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. This Conservancy encompasses the restoration of natural habitats, as well as educational programs and a lecture series. Bonita Springs also harbors some off-the-leash excitement in the form of Dog Beach Park, a beach which is entirely leash-free. The Everglades Wonder Gardens provide a chance to actually experience a lush Florida jungle, complete with tropical birds and reptiles, and some forty alligators. A trip to Bonita Springs can easily satisfy an animal lover, and this is not to mention the art and culture, which thrives in Bonita Springs thanks to the Art League of Bonita Springs.
Though it is a longer trek than any other of these options, what Florida boating list is complete without Key West, Florida’s southernmost city? The art and culture in Key West are immense, and the town is full of art and photography galleries, antique shops, even an art bar. If you’re looking for encounters with dolphins, Key West offers chartered tours and swim-with-dolphins experiences. Watersports enthusiasts need not be alarmed– Key West offers everything from snorkeling opportunities to beautiful water in which to jet ski. If dinner and a show is more your speed, however, many restaurants are perfect when paired with the Waterfront Playhouse. There are several places to dock, such as the Margaritaville Key West Resort and Marina, or the Ocean’s Edge Key West Hotel and Marina. No matter what your goal, a trip to Key West promises to be an unforgettable experience full of fun and thrilling entertainment.