Sanibel/Ft. Myers Beach

Jul 26th, 2004, 10:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 124
Sanibel/Ft. Myers Beach

We have a trip booked for Sanibel Island in November of this year, staying at the West Wind Inn. The airfare has already been purchased, and the hotel booked.

I admit to being a little concerned by the recent death of the woman on Sanibel by the alligator attack.

My group and I are actually reconsidering our plans to stay on Sanibel.

None of us have ever vacationed in Florida before, so are not really knowledgable about alligator behavior.

We were wondering if the likelihood of seeing them are less on Estero/Ft. Myers Beach as opposed to Sanibel Island. I have been reading on this board that the gators have been known to be seen in salt water as well as freshwater......

I really hate not to stay on Sanibel, but a few of our group are really afraid. I don't want anyone to be be so worried they don't enjoy the trip.

Also, we would like anyone's opinions on the Casa Playa Resort and the Sandpiper Gulf Resort on Ft. Myers Beach. We are looking for nice clean accommodations on a pretty, quieter stretch of beach, great sunsets, but fairly close to the restaurants/shops. We would prefer there to not be a lot of children at the resort.

Thanks so much for any info you could provide on both issues.
Elizabeth27 is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 72
If you want quieter, Sanibel. Ft. Myers is more crowded and not as pretty, in my opinion. Can't comment on alligator behavior.
wendyandcary is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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And I think the exact opposite. I love Ft. Myers Beach, and much prefer its liveliness, its beach bars and restaurants to the too-quiet, relative isolation one encounters in Sanibel. Plus on Sanibel, you can't see the beach, pure and simple, unless you're staying Gulf-front-whereas at FMB, it's visible from the road and just about anywhere you are. You will not see any alligators on Ft. Myers Beach-they aren't there-and I'm quite sure you won't be disappointed at not being on Sanibel one bit! (Plus, you can always drive up to Sanibel/Captiva if you like, look around, shop, go to a restaurant if you like). My guess is, you'll much prefer FMB.
Spygirl is offline  
Jul 27th, 2004, 11:02 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I honestly don't think there's anything to fear from the alligators on Sanibel. The two attacks were under circumstances unlikely to occur to tourists: a man walking a small dog (the gator attacked the dog, and when the man tried to stop the gator, it attacked him), and a landscaping contractor who was working near a pond.

I think you should go to Sanibel, enjoy the beach/shelling/dining/eclectic shopping/Ding Darling and just pay attention if you are near a pond. Don't hang out by them and don't bring small animals by them.

That's what I would do, anyway.
birder is offline  
Jul 27th, 2004, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 350
About the alligators in the salt water near a beach, I wouldn't worry about that either. I've only heard of that happening twice in over 40 years of living by the beach. It was a fluke and it's just not something to worry about.
Enjoy your visit.
hibiscushouse is offline  
Jul 27th, 2004, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,288
Sanibel is a beautiful, ecologically maintained island which means they prefer to keep it as natural a habitat as possible. As spygirl said "if not on gulf, you won't see it". As to the gators - please don't take any unnecessary chances - don't wade in freshwater ponds or lakes and don't walk up to any if sighted in the nature preserve. Otherwise have a great time!!

If you prefer Fort Myers beach - then go there - I love it also - there's many nice restaurants and a nice beach to walk.

Actually most all of the barrier islands on the Florida gulf side are abolsutely beautiful!!
LN is offline  
Jul 27th, 2004, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97
I just returned from Sanibel this past Sunday. I don't think you have anything to worry about if you want to visit the islands. It only takes common sense. You may see several alligators or you may not see any. They don't normally prey on humans, but they shouldn't be approached too closely. They aren't waiting for you to walk by so they can attack. By the way, that was the second lady to be attacked this summer. I didn't let it affect my vacation and you shouldn't either. Sanibel is a beautiful, natural island with lots of wild life. Relax and enjoy your vacation.
maxie is offline  
Jul 27th, 2004, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,990
I was afraid this might happen, and afraid too I contributed to your worry. It was I who saw the dead gator on the beach at Tybee and retold the tale of the alligator bumping the boat in the St Pete marina. I did not stress and should have, that these two incidents were flukes. It's so rare that the boat incident even made the St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, and TV news here. I'm sorry now I mentioned it--I never intended it to be a heads up for swimmers, just alligator related tales of interest! Do NOT worry about running into a gator in the Gulf. It isn't going to happen.

We've stayed in Sanibel twice, both times at Casa Ybel, and have driven through on several other occasions on our way back to Tampa from Naples. I've never seen a gator there and I doubt you will either, unless you go searching for them...and even then, you'd be lucky to spot one. Please don't be concerned. Sanibel is gorgeous and unique. Keep your reservations and don't give it another thought.
OO is offline  
Jul 27th, 2004, 02:54 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,095
It is odd but we crossed what is called Aligator Alley twice. I constantly searched for a gator and could not find one. I wanted to see one.(from the car of course.) I have been to Ft. Myers and to be honest I like it better than Sanibel. Just my opinion. People love the shells on Sanibel but I found them quite annoying. Walking the beach is very hard on the feet.
diann is offline  
Jul 27th, 2004, 03:25 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 724
It's as rare (or more rare) than being struck by lightening on a golf course. I bet it will happen to a golfer or two this summer, but golfers will still golf.

I've never seen a gator while visiting the beach in Florida. If you see one on the island, just stay away from it, don't feed it, and don't walk a small dog past it.
gracieb is offline  
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