Bring Paradise to Life in Florida’s Enchanting Islands

Florida’s famous for its beaches, but the mainland can get a little crowded during the summer months. Why not venture just a few miles off the coast and explore the state’s numerous tropical islands? Whether you want to relax in the sun or hit the surf, you’ll find your dream vacation somewhere in this list.

1. Treasures of the sea in Sanibel Island

What could be a more iconic beach vacation than spending a day or two gathering seashells? These ocean-born treasures wash up every day on Sanibel Island beaches, making it one of the premier destinations for people who love collecting their own vacation mementos. Due to its petite size, Sanibel remains largely untouched from the hustle and bustle of the Florida coastline, making it an ideal destination for a peaceful family getaway.

Don’t miss: the abundant sailing and kayaking opportunities for people of all skill levels. If you like snorkeling, there are several created reefs that let you get closer to the colorful ocean life than you’d ever imagined.

2. Pack your fishing rod for Pine Island

Take a tour of local fruit farms and see how these colorful tropical delicacies are grown. At the end, you may be able to buy the freshest and juiciest produce you’ve ever tasted. While the island offers several exciting beaches, its main attractions are the three Pine Island Aquatic Preserves. Here, not only will you find the best fishing in Florida, but you’ll also come across many different kinds of wildlife.

Don’t miss: the Mangomania Mango Festival’s 21st anniversary. This fruit-based fantasia is held July 15th and 16th and includes an astonishing array of preparations of this iconic tropical fruit.

3. Embrace true relaxation in Gasparilla Island

This tiny treasure is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets. Gasparilla Island is one of the barrier islands off the coast, giving you unencumbered views of the Gulf of Mexico. After enjoying a day on the beach, get a taste of history and Carribbean culture in Gasparilla’s largest town, Boca Grande. While you’re there, catch up on local folklore about legendary pirate Jose Gaspar, the island’s namesake.

Don’t miss: Gasparilla Island State Park. This charming and accessible park offers abundant swimming and snorkeling opportunities. It also has a picturesque lighthouse featuring traditional architecture.

4. Capture the enchantment of Captiva Island

Similar to nearby Gasparilla Island, Captiva Island has a rich pirate-filled past. There’s a touch of mystery in the air that adds color to the gorgeous beaches and idyllic island life. Photography enthusiasts will love capturing the local tropical plants and wildlife as well as Captiva’s famous five mile long beach.

Don’t miss: the exciting gallery and museum offered by Captiva Island’s historical society. Here you’ll find numerous exhibits from the early days of the island’s colonization.

5. Unbeatable beaches in Estero Island

The gentle slope of powdery white sand angling to picturesque, but not rough surf has lured generations of vacationers to Estero Island. Singles looking to explore beachfront lifestyle and families juggling diverse interests have both created memories of a lifetime here. The Wyndham Garden Fort Myers Beach hotel offers the classic Gulf experience, where you can enjoy whimsical tropical drinks by the pool, and numerous dining options within an easy walk.

Don’t miss: Lovers Key State Park, located on Fort Myers Beach. Here you can see wonders of tidal lagoons up close on a network of boardwalks and end the day watching the sunset on a white sand beach.