Anyone who has traveled to the Fort Myers Beach and Naples area of Florida know how much the area has to offer. From great fishing, snorkeling and diving, to top notch water sports it's no surprise why tourists and residents alike want to spend time on the beaches.
Located approximately two to three hours drive south of Tampa, Fort Myers Beach and Naples Florida both sit on the western coast of the state of Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico. While this might not have the immediate name recognition of Miami or Orlando, there's plenty to do on and off the beach at these locations. From nationally famous snorkeling and dive spots to a wide variety of parks, there's something for every interest. Add in popular local water sports like parasailing and jet skis along with gorgeous sunset cruises out on the water and it's not at all hard to see why visitors and locals alike love visiting the beaches along this 35 mile strip.
The town of Fort Myers Beach sits at the northernmost stretch of beach that runs consecutively along the coast from there down to the town of Naples Florida. The area is full of public beach access points designed to make it easy for locals and tourists alike to get out onto the water. Whether you are looking for some saltwater fishing action, a relaxing bit of boating, or some fun activities, you won't have much problem finding your way to the water.
Jet skiing is very popular along both the Fort Myers Beach and Naples Florida beaches. The city of Fort Myers Beach even brags of having three local parks which are right next to (and include) the beach. If you're afraid of getting too much sun, put on a hat and wander through the historic downtown, check out the Mount Key Archaeological State Park, or arrange a guided Everglades tour.
There are other attractions available if you're going to be near the southern end of that Florida beach stretch, closer to the Naples Florida region. Whether you want to hit the beach for some beach sports like parasailing and riding jetskis before seeing the other sites or after, you won't find yourself wanting for things to do. While it's not for everyone, if you want some guided tours through Florida swamp parks, Naples is just a stone's throw away from the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and the Big Cypress National Preserve. In fact, Naples sits just on the outside of the Everglades, and is one of the largest Florida cities left along the coastline before you actually run into the Everglades just a little further south.
If you want a break from water sports but the swamps just don't hit you as a good time, consider taking a guided dolphin tour of the Gulf of Mexico which are offered in both Naples and Fort Myers Beach. These tours will often be a one to two and a half hour guided tour around Estero Island where you won't only see dolphins but you'll also have a chance to see sting rays, sea turtles, a huge variety of birds, as well as other animals in a protected natural environment.
There is also the Delnor-Wiggins State Park, which is a state park but still offers beach front area. Barefoot Beach is considered by many to be the best beach in the city of Naples, and Naple's Botanical Gardens are not to be missed when everything is in full bloom. Naples Florida beaches also have the advantage of not being commercialized and full of retail stores – all of these are back away from the beach in accordance with city rules.
Parasailing is extremely popular, and this activity can be arranged in many places both for the solo flight as well as for doubles. Most places highly recommend reservations ahead of time as the popularity of this beach sport can make it so available spaces fill up very quickly. While some people use the platform method which starts off with the individual parasailer standing on a platform while the towing boat gains speed.
Once the boat is up to a high enough speed the cord connecting you to the boat will pull tight and you go airborne to enjoy a fantastic aerial view of the Fort Myers Beach area or the Naples Beach area depending on where you are.
Many providers now use specialized boats which have the platform right on them and from which you can slowly be raised into the air from the boat itself until you are soaring high above the Gulf of Mexico waters – and depending on the length of the cord you could be up to 800 feet high! Costs can vary greatly from one provider to another, but in many areas the average experience is for 12-10 minutes with 15 being a pretty common average, and costs range from $50 to $80 per person, per trip.
Some places might be a little cheaper, some a little more expensive, but Fort Myers Beach and Naples Beach parasailing can also involve different standard time lengths. Some only bring you up for 10 minutes, and others for 20, so make sure to have this information along with the cost.
You will also want to experience jet ski rentals while enjoying the Florida beaches. As comedian Daniel Tosh once pointed out: "Have you ever seen anyone unhappy on a wave runner?" Fort Myers Beach jet ski rental is another one of those things that vary greatly in price, but depending on who you rent from don't expect less than $40 an hour, with $50 to $75 being a pretty common range for jet ski rental rates. Charges can be for per each half hour or per hour, so make sure to check on this. Sumps Pass Marina and Thunder Marina are two of the most popular in the region and can often be the best places to rent jet skis or sign up for a parasailing adventure or sunset cruise.
Finally, if you want to truly enjoy the beauty of a Florida sunset after a long day of beach activities, take a serious look at one of the many sunset cruises that are so popular in the area. These can range from $30 a person for the bare bones two hour experience of watching the sunset from out on the water to $69 a person for sunset cruises that may include amenities like snacks, drinks, or a meal. Shop around for the best deal as even between Fort Myers Beach and Naples Florida there can be some major price differences.
Depending on whether you are visiting the area briefly or spending some time down around Fort Myers Beach and Naples, you may want to contact beach side hotels and see if there are coupons or combo packages. Some hotels may offer discounts on jet ski rental, parasailing trips, or even local sunset cruises or diving. The region has a lot to offer tourists and locals alike, and there is no way even with a full week to even briefly cover everything there is to see or do in that region.
So the next time you're itching for some serious beach sports in the Florida area, make sure to remember everything that Fort Myers Beach and Naples Florida have to offer.