There’s nothing more rejuvenating than a beach vacation. But after soaking up the rays, many seasoned travelers crave those special bucket list moments that transform a trip into a journey of a lifetime. Enter The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel on the southwest coast of Florida, where visitors can hop among more than 100 islands, discover the serenity and peace of getting back to nature in a 700-year-old forest, and step back in time to an area first settled more than 2,000 years ago.

The endless white-sand beaches on Fort Myers BeachCaptiva BeachBowman’s Beach, and Lighthouse Park Beach are ideal for sunbathing, and beachgoers of all ages will be beckoned by the waters of the Gulf that seem to always remain warm enough for a dip. While at the water’s edge, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for a rare and beautiful shell—plentiful throughout this region. Fort Myers and Sanibel boasts some of the best shelling in North America, making it the perfect spot to celebrate National Seashell Day on June 21.

Ready for some forest therapy? Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is Mother Nature’s “spa” and offers that bucket list experience savvy travelers—especially those who experience daily nature deprivation living in the concrete jungle—look for on every trip. An unrivaled venue for spectacular nature, bird, and wildlife viewing, the 2.25-mile-long nature boardwalk offers peace, serenity, and an unforgettable opportunity to connect with our beautiful planet. With other natural attractions, parks, and preserves—including J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife RefugeLovers Key State ParkCayo Costa State Park, and Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve—right nearby, the Fort Myers and Sanibel area is a nature lover’s paradise.

Extend that feeling of Zen. Reconnect with nature by getting out on the water to explore the mangroves of the Great Calusa Blueway by kayak or stand up paddle board, and be on the lookout for a turtle or manatee swimming by. Fishing charters are also a great way to explore the region, and since this is the “Tarpon Capital of the World,” visitors are bound to come home with some fantastic fish tales. And if the timing is right, the cheeky local dolphins will playfully escort the boat back to shore, jumping in the wake.

When it’s time to soak in some culture, Fort Myers and Sanibel offer amazing historic sights. There’s evidence and artifacts linking the Calusa Indians to the area as early as 500 BC, which can be seen at the Randell Research Center, or step back in time in Historic Downtown Fort Myers. Fashion lovers will also be delighted by the high-end retailers and fun souvenir shops found at the Miromar OutletsSanibel Outlets, and Fort Myers Beach Times Square.

Islandology- Lee County Florida

Start checking off those bucket list moments by planning a vacation to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.