Several hotel operators accompanied tourism officials from The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel Island in September to promote the destination to Montreal media and travel professionals.

One of the most important announcements is that Air Canada Rouge will be offering daily non-stop direct flights from Montreal to Fort Myers International Airport. The service will begin on December 15 and run through to April 30, 2017. This is a big increase from the three-times per week frequency of last year, and is reflection of the rapid growth in visits to the area from Montreal.

We visited Sanibel Island in December 2015, and can highly recommend it as a laid-back destination. There are no traffic lights on the island, and buildings cannot exceed the height of a palm tree – about 45 feet. All the restaurants on Sanibel Island are independently owned and operated. IN many cases, they are owned by the chef, and the cuisine is outstanding.

A significant part of the island is dedicated to the Ding Darling Nature Preserve, and we enjoyed seeing the many bird species, alligators and other wildlife during our visit. You can take a guided tour in an open-air bus, ride a bicycle or walk through the park. It’s an exceptional nature preserve.

Fort Myers and Sanibel Island are part of Lee County, which stretches from north of Fort Myers all the way south to Bonita Springs and Naples. The beaches of Fort Myers are a white powdery sand, and Sanibel’s beaches are ideal for shelling.

There are 190 miles of kayak routes through Lee County, and the area also has 100 golf courses.

Fort Myers

Captain Bob Rando, Sean McGarry and John Salus with the Lady Chadwick

We took a day cruise to an island called Cabbage Key from Captiva Island (the northern companion island to Sanibel) during our visit. The departure point was the marina located at South Seas Island Resort which appeared to be a lovely resort. Their representative Howard Clark noted that there are 471 rooms on the 300 acre property, and that one-third are hotel rooms and the remaining two-thirds of the accommodations consist of one, two and three bedroom condo-style suites, each with a fully equipped kitchen.  www.southseas.com

Jen Freide from Sun Stream Hotel and Resorts told us about two Fort Myers Beach properties; Diamond Head and GullWing Beach Resorts, both located on the white powder beach. Diamond Head is a condo-style resort featuring one-bedroom suites. GullWing offers one, two and three bedroom suites, each with a private balcony. www.sunstream.com

LaBrenda Schretter from Key West Express explained the passenger ferry service offered between Fort Myers to Marco Island and Key West. It’s a great way to enjoy a stress-free trip to Key West. www.keywestexpress.net

If you’re considering a trip to Florida, you’ll find out why the Gulf Coast is gaining popularity. Aid Canada Rouge daily non-stop service makes it a whole lot easier to plan a getaway weekend of longer stay. www.fortmyers-sanibel.com

Learn more about this wonderful area of Florida by reading Peter & Beverley Kerr’s articles:
Sanibel Island – a taste of Old Florida and Casa Ybel – elegant beachfront condos