While bitter winter temperatures settle across the upper states we cling to warmth of bright days on the beach. So, on this Wild Wednesday we’re leaving the jacket behind to head south to the Fort Myers Beach. We’ll dig into clam season, and soak in the sun along the beach, where Master Sculptors and Amateur alike will compete in the American Sand Sculpting Championships.
The cold weather inspires us to snuggle with a loved ones and sip hot cocoa. While this is nice, it’s just as nice to walk along the warm, sandy beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel. Better yet, find a cozy spot in the sand, spread out the blanket and embrace as the sun sets.
Don’t forget the swim suit, here, it feels like summer, and the warm Gulf waters are the perfect temperature for a swim. Stroll along secluded beaches searching for shells, or cast a line and see what you catch; Fort Myers Beach is a popular fishing spot. Anglers seeking to reel in a big fish can also charter a fishing excursion or check out the local boat rentals and head out into the Gulf on their own.
If you enjoy boating, then save time to visit the Annual Fort Myers Boat Show at the the Harborside Event Center, along Edwards Drive and Centennial Park to The Fort Myers Yacht Basin. There will be plenty of boats to explore, as well as seminars on fishing, boating tips, kayaking seminars and information on Lee County’s Great Calusa Blueway paddling trails. Plus, you have a chance to meet local guides, who can give you some insider’s tips on the best fishing holes in the Southwest Florida region.
Stone Crab Season in Southern Florida
One of the wonderful things about Southern Florida is you’ll find some of the freshest seafood, and stone crab is especially a favorite. For a taste of local favorites visit the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel in early November for Restaurant Week. This is a chance to meet the area’s top chefs and enjoy inspired culinary delights and special prix fixe menus. There are many great restaurant in the area like local favorites; The Skip One Seafood Restaurant and The Fish Monger Restaurant; both serve up a delicious menu selection of stone crab in season, and other fresh seafood to enjoy. Or, stop by the Coconut Point Farmers Market to pick up a fresh selection of produce, and seafood.
When stone crab season is in the boats hit the waters. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has set guides for harvesting the stone crabs, which must have claws at least 2¾ inches in length. Each person harvesting stone crabs can have up to five traps, and there is a daily bag limit of 1 gallon of claws per person or 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less. Remember, female stone crabs are off-limits.
The American Sand Sculpting Championships
When looking for activities to enjoy there are plenty to join like the upcoming American Sand Sculpting Championships that is ranked as one of the 10 best sand sculpting competitions by USA Today. The event brings master sculptors, who create sand masterpieces on Fort Myers Beach near the end of November. So, you have plenty of time to get in some practice before the competition.
If you think playing in the sand is just for kids, think again. The American Sand Sculpting Championships brings together Master Sculptors from across the country and around the world. The event will feature creations by both Amateurs and World Champions. The sand sculptures will be stunning works created by Master Sculptors like Sandi Stirling, and many others.
Families can join the festivities by entering the Amateur competition for a small fee. The competition has separate categories for different age groups, and each group will focus on creating a specific sand sculpture. For family groups of six you’ll be creating a design of Sea Horses. Small children will show-off their creative talents making Sea Turtles. Of course, if teens, ages 13 to 17 years are up to the challenge they can join in to sculpt Rays.
While digging up some fun at the American Sand Sculpting Championships in Fort Myers Beach, those who join the festivities on opening day will also help a child’s wish come true! On opening day, 20% of the proceeds generated from gate admission will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Plan Your Visit To The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel
Use this following link to explore local beaches, activities and recreation, festivities and events, and plan your trip to the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel.
Wild Wednesday Facts:
- Stone crab season is open through mid May, and to learn more about the guidelines for harvesting stone crabs visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.
- There is a small daily fee to join the Annual American Sandsculpting Championship that takes place in Mid Nov (21-30) over ten days in front of the Wyndham Garden Hotel located at 6890 Estero Blvd. in Fort Myers Beach, FL.
Will you head to Fort Myers and Sanibel?
images via Melody Schubert unless otherwise noted