Beached out? What to get off the lounger and move in all this Florida sunshine? There is plenty to do, and it is all so accessible you probably won’t know what to do first.
To The Fore
The National Golf FoundationThe Old Corkscrew Golf Club in Estero is one of the area’s stand-outs. It is the only stand-alone Jack Nicklaus Signature Course in area; it’s also a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Not only can you enjoy great golf, you can view nesting colonies of wood storks, egrets and herons set amid stands of cypress, towering pines and mature oaks.
Other courses of note include Raptor Bay, designed by Raymond Floyd, at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs; the redesigned Captiva Island Golf Club at South Seas Island Resort, ranked one of the Top-Five Short Courses in the world by the Professional Golfers Association; and the Pete Dye-designed course at the Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande.
These are just a few choices, there are many, many clubs that welcome visitors and municipal courses where the public can play.
Fishing is huge in the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel In fact, Field & Stream editors named Pine Island among the 25 hottest American fishing destinations. Inshore, off-shore, freshwater, saltwater – your options are endless and the fish are always biting.
On dry land, the inshore saltwater fishing hot spots are mangrove shorelines, beaches, open flats, bridges, piers, docks and the many passes and inlets to the Gulf of Mexico, where you can cast a line for snook, redfish, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, jack crevalle and mangrove snapper.
Offshore fishing is as an excellent way to hook into shark, grouper, bonito, barracuda, permit, black fin tuna, cobia, and Spanish and king mackerel. And then there is tarpon. Fighting tarpon are one of the world’s most sought after fish and sports-fishing for them has a long history as a favourite Lee County visitor activity.
Freshwater fishing in the area runs all year long, with bass, crappie, blue gill and catfish as well as shellcrackers and Oscars always in season. And they bite everywhere. The Caloosahatchee River is the prime fishing spot among hundreds of kilometres of canals and natural and manmade lakes and ponds throughout Lee County. Knowledgeable guides can be contacted through local tackle shops.
Not into fishing? Head out onto the water for kayaking, boating, sailing and windsurfing action. Kayaking is particularly popular here, and the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail is just about the best way to see local wildlife and plant life in its natural glory. This 300-kilometre marked canoe and kayak trail meanders through the coastal waters and inland tributaries of Lee County. Join a guided tour or make your own way through mangrove forests and along beaches and shoreline.
Hangin’ With The Pros
Baseball has a long and grand tradition in Lee County. The area’s first baseball team organized in1896, and was followed in 1925 by the Philadelphia Athletics who were the first major league club to hold spring training in Fort Myers. Today, both the Minnesota Twins (William H. Hammond Stadium) and the Boston Red Sox play in the Grapefruit League. Over the years the Cleveland Indians, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Kansas City Royals have all held spring training in The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel area – and all have won the World Series while training here. The region is also home to the Fort Myers Miracle, the Twins’ Class A affiliate. Part-owners Bill Murray and Jimmy Buffett have been spotted incognito during the season.
Snowbirds and other hockey fans welcome the on-ice action in Germain Arena where the ECHL’s Florida Everblades play. The Everblades share the Arena with the Florida Firecats of Arena Football.