Our beaches are open and there are no advisories at this time. With recent heavy rainfall within the Caloosahatchee watershed, typical during the summer rainy season, beach-goers may notice darker freshwater in the vicinity of Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park, most visible at or around low tide.
The color of the freshwater runoff is the result of tannins and other dissolved organic matter in the water. We have not observed this condition extending to any other area beaches. However, we recommend you use the resources on this page when planning your next visit.
Updated: August 23, 2019
The following beach cams offer real-time views of our beaches, complimentary of our partners.
|Fort Myers Beach|
May through October marks turtle nesting season on our beaches. You can play a role in helping our conservation efforts.
Please keep our beaches sea turtle friendly:
Red Drift Algae is a species of algae that can be seen with the naked eye and resembles red seaweed. This algae is not harmful and non-toxic. When it washes up on the beach, it can smell bad as it dries out on the sand. These species, which vary in color and can be red, brown, green or white, occur naturally in the environment and can sometimes detach from the bottom and wash up along area beaches.
August 23, 2019 – Current status reports show no red tide conditions along our shorelines. There are also no beach advisories at this time.
To see a map with specific beach reports, click here.
You may also go to visitbeaches.org or call 941-BEACHES (232-2437) for more information.
What is red tide?
In Florida, red tide is a naturally occurring microscopic algae called Karenia brevis or K. brevis that is present in background conditions throughout the year in the Gulf of Mexico. Red tide is the most common type of harmful algae bloom (HAB) found in Florida. It occurs in salt water and when natural conditions are right, the organism can form blooms off the coast producing a toxin that can affect the central nervous systems of fish and wildlife. At high concentrations, the blooms may discolor the water – sometimes red, light or dark green, brown or clear.
How long will it last?
Red tide blooms can last days, weeks or months and can also change daily due to wind conditions. Onshore winds normally bring it near the shore and offshore winds drive it out to sea.
Can people swim in red tide?
Most people can swim in red tide, but it can cause skin irritation and burning eyes. If you experience irritation, get out and thoroughly wash off with fresh water.
What are symptoms from breathing in red tide toxins?
For most people, coughing, sneezing and teary eyes are temporary symptoms. People with chronic respiratory problems, like asthma and COPD should avoid red tide areas.
Can pets swim in red tide?
If your pet swims in a red tide patch at the beach, a thorough freshwater rinse as soon as possible is essential. Don’t let your pet play in any sea foam – the foam has been shown to be more toxic than water.
Florida Healthy Beaches Program (Florida Department of Health)- Map with beach samples & advisory status
Current Beach Conditions (MOTE Marine Laboratory)- Map with beach conditions from select beaches in Southwest Florida
Red Tide Current Sampling Map- Updated bi-weekly by The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commissions (FWC)
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF)- A local foundation dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva islands and in the surrounding watershed.
Algal Bloom Sampling Status- Interactive dashboard allows public to see where algal blooms were occurring in Florida. It features real-time updates, photos and information. Users can search by specific address, ZIP code, city or place. The tool includes quick links to other resources such as public health information.
What to do this week
To get you started, here’s a guide to what to do the week of Aug. 19-25, 2019.
Click here for a list of museums, historic sites, tours, live theaters, shopping and more that can make your day away from the beach a fun one.
Enjoy our many craft breweries and distilleries as another way to learn about local products made in Southwest Florida.
Learn about our various farmers markets here.
Check out recent photos from our visitors below.