We are encouraged by recent water quality reports conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The most recent water samples show moderate to no red tide conditions along our shorelines. There are also no beach advisories at this time. We will continue to monitor conditions and recommend that you use the following resources when planning your next visit.
Updated: Dec. 10, 2018
To see specific beach condition reports, click here.
Please see the live beach cams below that offer visitors a real-time view of our destination complimentary of our partners.
What to do this week
To get you started, here’s a guide to what to do the week of Dec. 10-16, 2018.
Click here for a list of museums, historic sites, tours, live theater, shopping, farmers markets and more that can make your day away from the beach a fun one.
Dec. 10, 2018 – We are encouraged by recent water quality reports conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The most recent water samples show moderate to no red tide conditions along our shorelines.
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. 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.
Blue-green algae is a group of organisms that thrive in freshwater but can be found in saltwater or in mixed brackish water. It is important that adults, children and pets avoid swimming in or drinking water containing blue-green algae. It is best not to come in to contact with water in areas where you see blue-green algae.
Lee County has created a test program to remove the blue-green algae from some of its most impacted waterways. It will remove, process and dispose of harmful algae blooms from select test sites.
Click here for Blue-Green Algae FAQ's.
Click here for additional information issued by the state of Florida.
If you're seeing dark-colored water offshore...
Water runoff from the river watershed and freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee may cause some discoloration of the water from the north end of Fort Myers Beach to the south end of Sanibel Island. This freshwater contains tannins from plants and other organic material that give the water a darker color than it normally appears.
Why is this water being released?
Above-average rainfall creates conditions within Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River watersheds that results in large volumes of freshwater being discharged into the river and estuary.
How long will it last?
Freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee stop once water levels return to normal. For more information, please visit the South Florida Water Management District.