Captiva Island Snorkeling
The 16th most popular snorkel dive spot in Florida Gulf Coast.
Saturday 19 November 2016 06:55 GMT
Southwest of Ft Myers and northwest of Naples, the snorkeling in Captiva Island offers sand flats with amazing shells to explore. But, don’t expect great visibility since it is rarely above 10 feet and can be more likely in the 2-4 foot range.
The best snorkeling in Captiva can be found at Turner Beach, Blind Pass Beach and Bowman Beach. These are located at the south end of Captiva Island and north end of adjacent Sanibel Island. At the south end of Sanibel Island, there is good snorkeling at Lighthouse Beach where there is now a fishing pier built over the remnants of an old mainland bridge providing good fish habitat. For all these shore accessed dive sites, the best time of year is winter or early Spring for the highest possible water clarity, which isn’t saying much. An ideal time for snorkeling would be early morning on a windless day after several calm days without rain.
Directly offshore of Captiva Island, the snorkeling at Belton Johnson Reef is known for better water clarity and diverse marine life. This boat accessed snorkeling dive site is located 5 nautical miles west of Blind Pass. There is a yellow and white marker that shows the location of this artificial reef which is constructed of concrete culverts sitting in 30 foot deep waters.
Captiva Island is located about 30 miles from Ft Myers and takes about 75 minutes without traffic. From US41 in downtown Ft Myers, head southwest on SR867 (aka McGregor Boulevard) to Sanibel Island Causeway (toll road). Following the signs to Captiva Island, continue west on Sanibel-Captiva Road. Just before the bridge to Captiva is the northern end of Bowman Beach, which is very remote and offers great shelling, too. Keep in mind that there is a fee for road side parking.
To reach the snorkeling in Captiva Island by air, fly into Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) located northeast of Fort Myers and north of Naples / Marco Island. The best bet is to rent a car in order to get to the local dive sites.
Tip: When booking a snorkel tour on Captiva, make sure to ask where they are going. Many of the snorkel tours actually just go up to an island to the north called Cayo Costa, which does offer similar snorkeling to the beaches of Captiva. Also, most of the tour do not provide any food or drink, so make sure to bring something.
Overall, Captiva Island is the 16th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 18 snorkeling dives in Florida Gulf Coast. Several of the better snorkeling spots are nearby Captiva Island including Cayo Costa State Park, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park and Stump Pass Beach.