MARCO ISLAND, FLORIDA
Marco Island has six miles of beautiful beach and more than 100 miles of waterways within its 24 square miles. Who does not dream of a vacation or home on an amazing Florida beach? It just so happens that Southwest Florida claims bragging rights to the top Florida beaches with more than 100 miles of shoreline. Its barrier islands and coastal shores lay out an incredible spread of sand and shells that are the fantasy of any and all visitors who have yearned to dig their toes into the warmth of a Florida beach. Marco is located in the Gulf of Mexico near Naples and is part of Florida's Ten Thousand Islands. Marco Island a prime destination for boating and fishing. The island is known also for its vibrant arts scene and well-varied dining options. The main island holds two communities, resort town Marco and the time-stilled fishing community of Goodland. Isles of Capri is another community of mostly a wintering population and worthwhile restaurants to the north of Marco Island. Small planes can land at the Marco Island airport, but most air passengers arrive through the Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers.
One could call Naples, FL, the Beverly Hills of Southwest Florida because of its well-to-do population of CEOs, statesmen, and even a few celebrities. Located near Marco Island to the south and Bonita Springs to the north, it stretches languidly along the inviting blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Private planes and small charters fly into the Naples airport, but most air passengers arrive to Fort Myers Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW). Today the states final frontier is known for its million-dollar waterfront homes, great golfing, art galleries, posh resorts, beautiful vacation rentals,world-class shopping, and fine dining.
BONITA SPRINGS, FLORIDA
Bonita Springs is called Gateway to the Gulf of Mexico because its white sugar-sand beaches and calm Gulf of Mexico waters lie the shortest distance from the interstate. Little Hickory Island, today home of the waterfront Bonita Beach community, developed as a commercial fishing village. The town is located near Estero, Florida (its neighbor to the north) and sandwiched between Fort Myers, north of Estero and Naples, to the south. Bonita Springs warm tropical climes create an ideal tourist destination with year-round outdoor living, boating, swimming, fishing, golfing, tennis, and biking.
Estero lies between Fort Myers and Naples and besides having long, white sand beaches, it is home to two major attractions: the Germain Arena, home of the Florida Everblades hockey team and, nearby, Miromar Outlets, one of the largest, most elegant and upscale outdoor shopping centers in the state. The community name derives from Spanish for "estuary" The heart of Estero is the spring-fed Estero River, which flows to Estero Bay. Until the 1970s, most settlement and development in Estero was near the river.
FORT MYERS, FLORIDA
The Downtown Fort Myers River District forms the core of a city that stretches for miles south along the Caloosahatchee River and east to the rural interior. The City of Fort Myers is located between Cape Coral, across the river to the north; Lehigh Acres to the east, and Bonita Springs to the south. Accommodations from vacation rentals to hotels cluster around the Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) and in South Fort Myers, which is the gateway to the Gulf of Mexico beaches and tourist destinations of Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island. Downtown Fort Myers still has many lovely old buildings, many with a Spanish influence. It's also a destination for museums, dining, nightlife, and monthly music and art festivals.
CAPE CORAL, FLORIDA
Sometimes called the Venice of Florida, the City of Cape Coral is reputed to have 400 miles of canals with access to the Caloosahatchee River and the Gulf of Mexico. Convenient to some of Southwest Florida's vacation giants and renowned beaches, it is located near Fort Myers (just across the river), Pine Island (to the west), and North Fort Myers (to the east). The city boasts a large and eclectic collection of independent restaurants including Italian, Mexican, Cuban, German and, of course, American, reflecting its equally diverse population.
SANIBEL ISLAND, FLORIDA
Sanibel Island is legendary for its miles of white, shell-strewn beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, its abundant wildlife, and its nature preserves -- including the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the island. Located near Ft. Myers Beach, Sanibel Island joins to the mainland by a causeway consisting of three bridges and two small islands. A high-span bridge, the gateway to your Sanibel vacation, offers an unparalleled panorama of San Carlos Bay, which is dotted with uninhabited mangrove islands and is a magnet for anglers and boaters. At the island's opposite end, the Sanibel-Captiva bridge over Blind Pass connects to nearby Captiva.
Travel experts say a sunset Captiva style is the most romantic in the world. Same goes for the island's long stretch of soft, white beach. Sanibel Island's little sister island and they are joined by Blind Pass Bridge, Captiva, Florida, is a smaller and more intimate place to spend a vacation. Captiva has fewer stores and restaurants, but since it is located near Sanibel Island, visitors have easy access to all that both islands have to offer. The restaurants one does find on Captiva are typically quirky and often waterfront. Whether facing the beaches or the back bay Marinas throughout the island supply all a tourist needs for an adventure vacation, including water taxis, kayaks, island-hopping by yacht, boat rentals, and fishing charters. Captiva serves as a springboard for boating trips to the upper, unbridged islands of North Captiva, Cabbage Key, and Cayo Costa.
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