Best Places to Go in Lee County Near the Sanibel Harbour Resort

Best Places to Go in Lee County Near the Sanibel Harbour Resort


APT Fall Marketplace is first and foremost a meeting about programming. However, we recognize that an equally important part of the event is the ability to network and connect with colleagues from across the country. Through the generosity of many sponsors, our days are full into the early evening. You will have the following Free Time available: Wednesday after 7:45 p.m., Thursday evening prior to 9 p.m. when Producers’ Showcase and Hospitality Suites begin, Friday after 6:30 p.m., and Saturday after11:30 a.m. To help you plan your free time, here are a few ideas compiled by Terry Brennen, WGCU Director of Underwriting and former owner of a bed and breakfast inn. Terry’s suggestions are then followed by ideas from Sanibel Harbour Resort staff.

Best Places to go in Lee County near the Sanibel Harbour Resort

(Free time: Wednesday after 7:45 p.m., Friday after 6:30 p.m. and

Saturday after 11:30 a.m).

Transportation to these off-site locations may be arranged by hired car (least costly, according to the hotel) and rental car, both(via the concierge, or by taxi. Hired cars will charge by the person, rather than by the mile. Please note that there is a

$6 fee to cross the bridge to Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

To go to Sanibel, the cost will be approximately $15 via taxi each way. To go to Fort Myers, expect to pay approximately $15-20 via taxi each way. To keep your costs lower, a hired car will be more reasonable with more people. Sharing costs with colleagues will provide the best savings and be more fun!

Places/Areas to Visit – good suggestions for free time during the day or before or after the meeting. Also great for any friends or family travelling with you and not attending Fall Marketplace:

  1. Edison & Ford Winter Estate The premiere Historic attraction in SW Florida.

Location: Downtown Fort Myers, about 14 miles from Resort.


Edison originally came to Punta Rassa, (where you are staying) in 1885 to fish for tarpon. He traveled to Fort Myers to get outfitted for fishing, found the 14 acre property and bought it the next day. He wintered there periodically from 1886 until his death in 1930.

  1. Lighthouse Beach Sanibel Island

Location: The easternmost Sanibel Beach, next to the 1885 world Famous, “Sanibel Light” and the closest beach to Sanibel Harbour Resort, about 5 miles away. From here, you can walk west for 10 miles on the beach.

  1. Sanibel Historic Village

Location : Mid -Sanibel island, about 6 miles from Resort.

A collection of historic Sanibel buildings dating back to the 19th century that depict the history of the Sanibel community from its beginnings.

  1. J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge Sanibel

Location: Mid island to northern end of Sanibel Island, about 9 miles from Resort.

World Famous 6,000 acre wildlife refuge. If you can get there, you can take a tram ride through the refuge or walk it on trails. Mark “Bird” Westall, ex-Mayor of Sanibel and founder of the National Osprey Society, gives canoe trips through the refuge from the visitors’ center or you can kayak it yourself from Tarpon Bay Recreation, a facility in Tarpon Bay, that used to be a fishing camp before the refuge was formed in 1976. You may see alligators here but don’t count on it.

  1. Fort Myers Beach - Fort Myers Beach Pier & Times Square (see more in the Nightclubs and Entertainment section)

Location: Mainland 5 miles east to San Carlos Blvd then south 5 miles to Matansas Pass, about 8 miles from Resort. Lots of seaside bars and night clubs. Good music and nightlife. A bit seedy but that is its charm. As you go over the Matansas Pass Bridge if you look down to your left you will look on the site of “Bonita Bills” also a bit seedy, and the only waterside bar in Lee County I know of with an unlisted phone number, and the site of the WGCU Christmas party.

  1. Bunche Beach - Closest mainland Gulf Beach to Sanibel Harbor Resort

Location: 3 miles south of Resort along beach go east on Summerlin Pkwy to John Morris Rd, about 3.5 miles then south 1 mile. A long time favorite beach of local residents ( this is my favorite beach). It never got the visitor traffic of the more famous beaches-- In the days of segregation it used to be the only beach that black residents were allowed to visit.

  1. Six mile Cypress Slough Preserve

Location: In south Fort Myers, about 10 miles from the Resort. The closest opportunity for you to walk through a cypress swamp or Slough (pronounced Slew) on a boardwalk and well worth the trek if you think you are a “naturalist.” You will probably see alligators here. You can go out to Corkscrew Sanctuary in Collier County the premiere Audubon facility and get a better example of a cypress swamp, but it will take you all day.

Restaurants/ Cocktails:

Sanibel Harbour Resort

Our hotel has a number of dining options from a simple salad to a multi-course, memorable meal. There are several different restaurants and lounges to choose from during your stay. They include:

Courtside Steak House

Certified Angus Beef, locally caught fish and shellfish and complementary appetizers, soups, salads and sides for a terrific dinner. Great wine list.

Tarpon House

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner at more moderate prices. Fresh seafood and simple, good meals.

Charley’s Cabana Bar

Enjoy the water views over dinner, with signature martinis and locally favorite cocktails complemented by delicious tapas, oven-baked flatbreads and late night menu selections.

Palm Court

Just off the hotel lobby, hot and iced coffee, juices and specialty drinks as well as pastries, fruit and an ice cream treat are all available here from 7 am to 8 pm.

The Cove

Poolside lunch, or cocktails.

Crossing the bridge to Sanibel Island for Saturday lunch, free time dinner or cocktails…

The Lazy Flamingo (2 locations)

Location 1: 6520-C Pine Ave Sanibel, FL 33957 beyond the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, about 18 miles from Resort. (239) 471-5353 for reservations – average for US$11-20.

Location 2: 1036 Periwinkle Way Sanibel, FL 33957 on the west side of Causeway Road, about 14 miles from Resort. (239) 472-6339 for reservations – average for US$11-20.

Hours of Operation:

Mon-Sat: 11:30am – 1:00am

Sun: 11:30am – 12:00am
The Lazy Flamingo restaurants operate in the casual dining, seafood class of restaurant. The Company philosophy is to serve only fresh seafood and, provide a festive and "local" type of atmosphere in an establishment decorated with a "nautical" theme. It's "The Islander's Favorite!" At the Lazy Flamingo #2, we have six large screen TVs, a Satellite Dish, and the largest bar on Sanibel. Sunset views at the Original Lazy Flamingo. German menu available.

The Timbers

Location: 703 Tarpon Bay Road, across from the Post Office, Sanibel, about 13 miles from Resort. (239) 472-3128 for reservations – average for US$18.
Hours of Operation:

Daily: 4:30pm - 9:30pm

"Sanibel's Steak & Seafood Specialist" since 1978, and one of the island’s most popular dining spots. An open and airy dining room, in a Hemingway-inspired decor, where everyone from famous celebrities to everyday people gather to feast on the freshest fish to be found anywhere. "We serve it fresh or we don't serve it at all!" - is the reason why The Timbers has served over two million satisfied customers (and a few old crabs.) Visit the retail Fish Market. Celebrating 26 years of Fresh Fish on Sanibel!

The Bubble Room

Location: 15001 Captiva Drive, Captiva, about 17 miles from Resort. (239) 472-5558 for reservations – moderate to more expensive US$15-25.
Hours of Operation:


Lunch: 11:00am - 3:00pm

Dinner: 4:30pm

Emporium: 11:00am - 9:00pm

The award-winning Bubble Room is a unique Florida dining experience. The Bubble Room serves hearty portions and delicious oversized desserts (lunch, too.) Brimming with memorabilia from the '30s and '40s, big band music and is filled with toys…great for kids (of all ages!).

Doc Ford's Sanibel Rum & Grille

Location: 975 Rabbit Road at Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel, about 17 miles from Resort. (239) 472-8311 for reservations – moderate to more expensive US$9-24.
Hours of Operation:

Daily: 11:00am - 10:00pm

Doc Ford’s is different. It’s a sports bar with gourmet food and a superb chef. It’s also a place for book signings, entertainment and meeting sports heroes, fishing guides, world travelers, working writers and anyone else who seeks out the unusual. The spirit of the fine sports bar was inspired by the marine biologist who is local author and New York Times best seller, Randy Wayne White’s main character. Doc Ford is the baseball-loving, tropical adventurer who has spent a lot of time in far flung places and he learned much about tropical food and fine rums along the way.

Traders Store & Cafe

Location: 1551 Periwinkle Way Sanibel, FL 33957-4513, about 5 miles from Resort. (239) 472-7242 for reservations – average to more expensive US$16-25.
Hours of Operation:


  • Happy Hour - 3:00pm to 6:00pm
  • Live entertainment every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:00pm

Traders is a favorite and unique restaurant. The menu hasn't changed much in the past few years, but it is dependable, reasonable (for Sanibel/Captiva) and the service is good. The bar makes a really nice traditional cocktail, and is cheap. “We went on a Thursday night and they had a good eclectic two man band. Some of the pasta entrees are a little bit "busy" but the seafood is good. We liked the white gazpacho, and they give you the recipe so you can recreate it”….From ChowHound

Ft. Myers Beach: great for nightlife and post-Marketplace fun…

For a spring-break “feel” take a trip to nearby Ft. Myers Beach. About a fifteen to twenty-minute cab ride, Ft. Myers Beach (actually based on Estero Island) hosts a plethora of nightclubs, ethnic, simple restaurants and entertainment venues. Enjoy a walk along the pier, or drop into any one of the more than 25 nightclubs where you’ll find simple food, a mix of entertainment including a variety of local, live performers. Terry suggests that the best way to approach Ft. Myers Beach is to travel to Times Square. Once there, you’ll be dazzled by the scents, sights and sounds of the beach and should find any number of places to enjoy an evening with friends – old and new.

Times Square is considered the heart of Estero Island's downtown. Full of shops and restaurants, Times Square features outdoor dining, street performers, and plenty of spots to sit down and relax. If you take a cab, it will cost about $10 to $15 each way.

For information about specific restaurants in Fort Myers, ask the concierge or a representative from WGCU for a recommendation.

From the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort Concierge Desk…

Activities at the resort and in the area to consider for pre-and post-Marketplace fun

Guests can fish off our docks/pier! Fishing poles are reserved through the Concierge (the price is included in the resort fee, which is included in your sleeping room rate) and the fishing poles are based on availability. Bait can be purchase for a small fee at the Marina Office on the boat dock.
The hotel also offers the following at the Marina Office or through Destination Boat Rental (239-745-0110)

Jet Ski Rentals:
1/2 hour @ $65.00
1 hour @ $99.00

2 hours @ $159.00

Power Boat Rentals:
1/2 day $159.00
all day $269.00

Kayak Rentals through the Concierge:
1 person boat @ $25.00 for 2 hours
2 person boat @ $35.00 for 2 hours

Bicycle Rental through the Concierge:
price included in your sleeping room rate

Tennis is included in your sleeping room rate. Racket rental $5.00.

At the Spa included in your sleeping room rate:
Full access to sauna, steam room, whirlpool, lap pool and fitness center

For more information about what is included with your room, visit: The Resort Website (contains Restaurant Menu’s, Spa Menu and Fitness) 239-466-4000.

Marina excursions and cruises, Fishing and Kayaking (1 mile down the road from the Resort). They are on site at the marina as well. 239-472-8443

Marina excursions from Captiva Island: 239-472-5300

Restaurants on Sanibel & Captiva Islands information:

Information about Sanibel & Captiva Islands; OR

Florida Repertory Theatre (Award-Winning Regional Theatre) 877-787-8053

Everglades Safari Tours 800-472-3069 or 239-472-1559

Captain Bob’s Excellent Adventures Everglades Tour 239-437-2095 or 888-847-9074

Select Transportation and Tours. (Min 8 ppl/Max 14 ppl). 239-466-3236 or 800-395-9524 (Meals are included in pricing)

*Babcock Wilderness Adventures – Eden Vineyard – Downtown Ft Myers

*Imaginarium – The Shell Factory (Great for Kids)

*Tarpon Bay Eco Kayak Trip – Sanibel Shell Museum – Periwinkle Place Shops

*Custom Packages can be put together with advance planning

Bike Rentals on Sanibel Island 800-575-8717 or 239-472-5248

**Please note: Prices vary please call/visit website direct for costs


The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club: 239-472-2535 (Matt Oakley) Head Pro

Crown Colony: 239-590-9860 (Kevin Laframboise) Head Pro

Sanctuary Golf (Private Course): 239-472-6223


Nursecore: 239-278-3633