Captiva Island Beaches: 3 Best Access Points
Captiva Island – to some the name suggests a dream island hideaway off the Florida Coast complete with swaying palms, luxurious accommodation, and some of the best beaches in the state. Well, the dream may actually come true for you if you find yourself near Fort Myers. Captiva Island is only a short toll bridge ride away from the mainland and away from all your worries and cares.
Almost the entire western shore is one long beautiful beach. Running from Blind Pass all the way out to the northern tip, soft sands are washed by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Three key access points define different areas of the beach to the general public. If you are lucky enough to be staying at a Captiva Island resort or a vacation rental, smaller more exclusive unnamed beaches are yours to enjoy away from the crowds.
If you are not staying on Captiva Island, beach access is difficult. The parking lots at the public beach accesses are tiny, fill up fast, and at one access point, ridiculously expensive. If you are planning to visit, it's best to arrive early, or better yet, stay at one of the local hotels or resorts.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, the entire northern tip of Captiva is dominated by the sprawling South Seas Island Resort. No public access is available, but if you are staying here, the beach is literally at your doorstep.
Explore the beaches of Captiva with our list of the best ones, in geographical order south to north, below.
1. Turner Beach
Turner Beach is the first of the Captiva Beaches that you come to when you cross over the small Bridge at Blind Pass. This is a wonderful beach for several reasons: If you enjoy shelling, the strong current at Blind Pass and the wave action from the Gulf of Mexico cause shells to accumulate in massive piles. The piles are not always there, as the beach is constantly changing, but when they do show up, it's a shell picker's paradise. The highest density of shells are generally located at the very southern end of the beach, right near Blind Pass.
If shelling isn't your thing, and you are more about setting up in a chair and soaking up the sun, head north and find your own patch of sand. The soft sand and clear waters make a day at the beach here just about perfect. The walk from the parking lot to the beach is short, so don't be afraid to bring all the gear you want. Note that there is no shade whatsoever; a beach umbrella is a critical component to your beach assortment.
Bring your walking shoes or just splash along in your bare feet. The beach is relatively flat and perfect for walking. Head north along the shoreline; you'll run out of energy before you run out of beach. Back from the beach along this stretch are palatial homes. Fortunately, they are set well back from the beach and don't impede on the tranquility of the location.
The third great thing about Turner Beach on Captiva Island is that the bridge at Blind Pass is one of the top spots for fishing. Cast a line here, and you may be lucky to reel in a snook, ladyfish, or Spanish mackerel. If conditions are right, look for fish tales sticking up out of the water. These are redfish feeding. Hopefully, you can land one of these; they are some of the best fish to catch in the region.
If you work up a hunger, not far from Turner Beach are the shops and restaurants of Blind Pass. Grab a patio seat, a cold drink, and a bite to eat, and you can't help but think life is pretty good.
At Turner Beach, you'll find restrooms and outdoor showers. The parking lot can accommodate a couple of dozen cars at most, and some of the spaces are reserved exclusively for permit holders.
2. Captiva Beach - Andy Rosse Lane
Accessing Captiva Beach by the Mucky Duck Restaurant at the end of Andy Rosse Lane is a great option if you are staying nearby. The beach here is backed by swaying palm trees, and a few benches, ideal for soaking up the scene, are nearby.
No parking is available right at the beach; however, paid daily parking is available at McCarthy's Marina. This entails a bit of a walk, but the stroll down Andy Rosse Lane is pleasant, with shops and restaurants to divert you either on your way to the beach or upon your return.
This is a lively area of Captiva Beach, with plenty of people and a bit of a scene, not a South Beach Miami scene mind you, but still fun for a relatively sleepy island. The water is warm and shallow here, perfect for wading and for those with young children or who are not particularly comfortable in the water.
This is an ideal place for walking. The area to the north is mostly trees and beach scrub, with homes well set back from the water. If you walk far enough, you'll come to an area where no homes or any kind of development mar the view. A bit farther past this area is the Alison Hagerup public beach access area.
This area is perfect if you feel like breaking up your day with a bite to eat at one of Captiva's few waterside restaurants. The patio at the Mucky Duck is just steps from the beach and a relaxing place to escape the sun and recharge your batteries with a nice meal and cold drink.
3. Alison Hagerup Beach Public Parking Lot
After you've made the pleasant drive up Captiva to access the beach at Alison Hagerup Beach, your tranquility may be shattered when you learn the parking fee. An astounding $40 dollars is what it will cost you to park all day here. If you only need two hours, that's available at the bargain price of $25.
Parking fees aside, the price may be worth it considering the beach just beyond the trees. White sand extends for miles on either side of the access point, just perfect for strolling and perhaps finding that one rare shell you are seeking to complete your collection.
If you are craving a beach that is backed only by palm trees and greenery, head south. A section of the beach remains undeveloped and allows you to imagine what things looked like before mansions sprung up along the coast. The beach is close to the parking area, so bring all the gear you need; no cart is required, as the walk is short.
The parking lot is owned by Captiva Erosion Prevention District (CEPD), and they are undertaking a $30-million upgrade to the beaches and facilities. As a result, the parking lot will be closed on a regular basis.