Fort Myers is conveniently located between Miami and Tampa, on the western coast of Florida. Fort Myers offers many warm, tropical islands of multiple sizes, creating seemingly endless exploration opportunities for snorkelers and scuba divers.
Fort Myers Beach is consistently warm year-round because it sits on the Gulf of Mexico. It has soft and white sandy beaches and clear, warm water. The water isn’t quite as clear as the southernmost phttps://www.boatsetter.com/boat-rentals/miami–fl–united-statesoint of Florida (Miami for example), but visibility is still good enough for snorkeling and swimming. If you enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving, you will like this area.
Noteworthy Islands Near Fort Myer, Florida
Islands add interest and encourage biodiversity along shorelines, which is ideal for scuba divers interested in exploring coral reefs and sightseeing marine and land wildlife. Here are some of the most interesting islands that surround Fort Myer. Each Island is within a five-mile radius of the Matlacha Isles-Matlacha Shores of Fort Myer.
- Pine Island
- Sanibel Island
- Captiva Island
- Buck Key Preserve
- Big Island
- Fisherman Key
- Merwin Key
- Picnic Island
- Big Sister Key
- Patterson Island Preserve Lumpkin Island
- Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge
- McCardle Island Preserve
- North Captiva Island
- Black Skimmer Island
- Starvation Key
- Bird Island
- Miguel Key
- Kitchel Key
- Big Shell Island
- Lumber Island
- Kite Island
- Deer Stop Keys
- Wood Stork Island
- Master Landing Island
Best Places in Fort Myers to Go Snorkeling
For the most part, the further south you go along the coast, the clearer the water will be and the more you’ll be able to see. Coral reefs are also more abundant the further south you travel.
Sanibel and Captiva Island
On Captiva Island, at the northernmost point, you’ll find that Alison Hageup Beach is ideal for snorkeling. It is especially nice if you’re interested in seeing sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, nurse sharks, and stingrays. The water is really warm, blue, and with good underwater visibility.
Blind Pass Beach is another fantastic option located on Captiva Island, on the west side of the Island, right next to Sanibel Island. Blind Pass Beach is easy to access and close to the road. This is perfect if you don’t want to take the boat out. There are usually schools of vibrant fish in the area, and the water is calm for being in the ocean. You may spot a dolphin or two here, but that isn’t as likely as some other locations we’ve mentioned. Blind Pass Beach best suits families, beginners, and those who want easy accessibility.
The USS Mohawk was intentionally sunk twenty-eight nautical miles off Sanibel Island at Charlie’s Reef in 2012. In doing so, it created the first Veteran’s Memorial Reef. Of course, you’ll need a boat and a captain to access this unique site. You’ll also need an advanced dive certificate (or higher).
Divers frequently see whale sharks, barracuda, and curious sea turtles here. The USS Mohawk, which is 165 feet long, now sits 90 feet below the water’s surface.
It isn’t easy to access the engine room, but the deck and below are still relatively easy to get to and look around.
Pegasus was a 1927 steamer that primarily served the New York Harbor and later became a floating restaurant. In 1999, the county sank the 110-foot long vessel near the USS Mohawk, which now sits 88 feet below the ocean’s surface. Since it sank more than ten years before the USS Mohawk, it is considerably more worn, but the marine flora and fauna are more abundant.
Pegasus is frequently visited by Goliath Grouper, a fish that is eight feet long and weighs an impressive five hundred pounds.
Like the USS Mohawk, only those with Advanced Level Certification are permitted here.
Fantastico is appropriately named because fantastically bright and colorful marine creatures constantly swarm it. Over two-hundred-fifty species call the ship’s region home, including:
- sea turtles
- nurse sharks
- Goliath grouper
- the occasional lobster
Many of these fish and creatures have made the ship’s interior home, so don’t be surprised when you enter the hull to see someone looking back at you.
Fantastico sank in 1993, fifty miles off the coast of Fort Myers. The 200-foot-long Honduran fighter is now resting on her starboard side, 110 feet below the ocean’s surface. Despite its depth and distance from shore, visibility is still good, and you’re sure to see quite a bit while visiting.
Is Sanibel Island Good for Snorkeling?
Sanibel Island is one of the best spots in the immediate Fort Myers area for diving, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The water is warm, clear, and blue, the weather is usually good, and the sandy and surrounding views are gorgeous. You are sure to have pleasant and interesting scenery wherever you go, whether above or below the water.
Sanibel Island is home to:
- Charlie’s Reef (also known as Pegasus Reef),
- Edison Reef
- Bowman’s Beach (it is easily accessible, clear, and ideal for families)
- Lighthouse Beach Park
- Tarpon Bay Road Beach Park
- Blind Pass Beach
- Gulfside City Park
- Sanibel Causeway Islands Park Beaches
You can find even more on the nearly-adjoining Captiva Island (these two islands narrowly miss each other and are only connected by a narrow channel and a road bridge.
Does Fort Myers have Coral Reefs?
Fort Myers Beach and the surrounding areas only have artificial reefs. There are more than twenty artificial reefs along the Sanibel and Captiva Islands.
One of the most popular reefs is Edison Reef, which has a forty-five-foot depth and was initially created by the collapse of an old mainland bridge that connected the islands to Fort Myers. Its approximately fifteen nautical miles away from the Sanibel Island Lighthouse. There are many colorful, diverse species of fish here. Since this is out in open, deep water, it is best that only confident, experienced divers go here, or at least bring an experienced, safe guide.
Remarkably enough, Florida is the only state in the contiguous United States to offer prolific, extensive shallow coral reefs.
Still, the coral life is severely limited around Fort Myers, and the water is cloudier than other southern Florida scuba diving spots, like Key Largo, Key West, and The Florida Keys.
Are you ready for your next diving adventure? With a Boatsetter captained boat rental you can explore the many snorkeling spots around Fort Myers and make the most of your time out on the water.