Florida: a taste of old-school adventure

Fort Myers and Sanibel


You can join the Mouse-ear army with its laser-focus aim on Orlando, but why not go for something with fewer lineups? Or no lineups? The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel (on Sanibel Island) offer a taste of old Florida and old-school adventure. We’re talking the kind that involves wonder in the natural world and a little sandcastle mojo.

Top Adventures

Shelling is a serious pursuit, with aficionados heading out before sunrise with flashlights. For families, it’s searching for buried treasure at its best. Sort through the thousands of shells that wash up on the sheltered beaches and islands every day and you’ll uncover prized finds like lightning whelks, nauticas and banded tulips, along with rarer discoveries like Junonias and lion’s paws. (While live shelling is banned here, collecting uninhabited shells is unlimited). Beyond scanning the beaches, there are also shell-focused cruises and the mollusk-centric Baily-Matthews Shell Museum that features highly prized specimens and a live shell tank.

The region is also home to the Great Calusa Blueway, a 300-kilometre network of canoeing and kayaking trails. Follow the paths of the Calusa Indians or GPS-linked sites among the creeks, bayous and mangrove forests where dolphins, manatees and ospreys might just follow you back.


Shelling is ideal for kids under eight; waterways for older kids and teens.

Family-Friendly Eats:

Hurrah, a kids’ menu with a local touch: crispy catfish and local shrimp with fresh fruit make the list at the quirky and popular Island Cow on Sanibel Island.

Bonus Activity

Explore technology from the old days at the Edison Ford Museum, where exhibits include early telegraphs, movie projectors and Edison’s custom-made Model T. On Saturday mornings, a Young Inventors’ Tour offers great hands-on science projects.

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