All the latest inspiration and guidance for help you plan your next family hoilday

One thing you'll definitely want to do in the Fort Myers area is to kick back on some of its sun-soaked beaches.

But, with miles of white sandy shoreline, hundreds of islands to explore, and opportunities for outdoor adventures galore, you may struggle to decide which beach to visit first.

To give you a helping hand, here are some of the best beaches in the Fort Myers area for families of all ages, whatever your taste.

Fort Myers Beach

Best for younger families

Fabulous Fort Myers Beach is pretty hard to beat as a great all-rounder for families. As well as sparkling waters and sandcastle-perfect golden sand, you’ll find watersports including kayaking and parasailing available here, and the nearby pier is a great place to people watch or take a leisurely stroll.

The water here is calm and shallow too, making it perfect for younger children or less confident swimmers.

Here are some of the specific areas within Fort Myers Beach that we particularly love:

Lynn Hall Memorial Park

Given its prominent location in front of Times Square (the heart of Estero Island’s downtown), this section of the beach can get a little busy - but the crowd is mostly families and couples. You’ll be able to park (for a fee) at the Lynn Hall Memorial Park where you’ll also find facilities including showers, toilets and changing rooms, as well as a picnic spot and BBQ grills. Younger children will love the playground here while Times Square is filled with restaurants and shops if you fancy eating out.

Crescent Beach

Technically still part of Fort Myers Beach, Crescent Beach is found just south of the Fort Myers fishing pier and is an extremely popular spot with families. As with the rest of Fort Myers Beach, you’ll get picture-perfect sands and crystal-clear water but with the added bonus of volleyball courts, picnic areas and family-friendly beach bars nearby.

Newton Park

Newton Park is home to the former beachfront cottage of businessman and author Jim Newton who was friends with many of the city’s famous former residents including Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. You can learn more about their friendship in our exclusive Arrive Like a Local activity pack.

With few hotels nearby, this quiet stretch of sand is perfect for a relaxing family afternoon at the beach. Be sure to pack snacks and cold drinks, though, as there are limited facilities here. Picnic tables, showers, restrooms and drinking fountains are available.

Lovers Key State Park

Best for active families

A short drive south of Fort Myers Beach, Lovers Key State Park is a great choice for active families. You could all rent a paddleboard or kayak, or set out on an outdoor adventure and explore some of the five miles of trails just off the beach. Keep an eye out for local wildlife while you're here, including the gopher tortoise.

Prefer something less strenuous? Lovers Key State Park is also one of the best spots for shelling in the Fort Myers area, so why not start a family competition to see who can find the most unusual specimen?

Lovers Key State Park is generally quieter than the Fort Myers Beach area and you’ll find that any crowds are generally based close to facilities and entrances. So, if you’re looking for some seclusion and peace and quiet, simply walk a little in either direction before setting up for the day. As a State Park, there's an entrance fee but this includes parking and a free shuttle to the beach.

Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park

Best for photo opportunities

This is the first beach you’re likely to come across on the beautiful Sanibel Island. Home to a fishing pier, historic lighthouse and a nature trail accessible via a boardwalk, Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park is a great, easily accessible spot on Sanibel. And you'll be able to snap some excellent family photographs here.

Expect powdery sand, lots of small shells for children to collect and good facilities. Plus, as it's close to the causeway, you also have the added benefit of being able to avoid most of the end-of-day traffic as day-trippers head home.

Bowman’s Beach

Best for seclusion

If you're visiting Sanibel Island on a day trip, Bowman’s Beach is your best bet for finding easy parking - although it’s worth pointing out that you will need to walk for around five to ten minutes across a bridge and sand dunes to reach the shore. If travelling with younger kids, it's worth bringing along a beach cart or wagon to make the walk more manageable.

Once you’ve arrived, you’ll find a gorgeous natural beach and unobstructed shoreline views, plus plenty of amenities including picnic tables, BBQs, showers, toilets and a playground. However, there aren’t any shops nearby so come prepared with snacks and drinks.

Sanibel Causeway Islands Park Beaches

Best for watersports and paddling

Along the Sanibel Causeway, you might notice two islands. These are simply named “A” and “B” and things are a little different here. Both islands are home to some absolutely fantastic sandy stretches where you can park right on the beach with no fee and leashed dogs are also allowed to join in the fun.

There are toilets, picnic tables and drinking water readily available on Island B making it more accessible and practical for families than Island A which has none of the above. The waters surrounding both islands are perfect for families as they remain shallow for a long way out.

This shallow water also makes it a great place for older children to try out kiteboarding. Alternatively, for a more relaxing activity, rent a paddleboard or canoe and see if you can spot any of the manatees or dolphins that live in the water.