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Biking South Florida’s Islands in the Gulf

Program Number: 20389RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/2/2012 - 12/7/2012; 2/14/2016 - 2/19/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Naples, Florida
Price starting at: $1,249.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Bicycling; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Experience the beauty of Florida’s Southwest Coast and the Gulf of Mexico as you bike along its exquisite barrier islands. Pedal through old Naples, Barefoot Beach Preserve and along the Cocohatchee River, and thrill in the natural beauty of peaceful Sanibel and the Captiva Islands. Along the way, visit the treasures of these scenic and historic islands and enjoy expert-led presentations on the area’s history, from the Calusa Kingdom to the pirates who once took harbor here in island hideaways.


• Join volunteer docents inside Sanibel Historical Village and Museum, a tribute to the island’s early pioneers where each building has been restored to its original state.
• Witness the spectacular migratory bird population as you pedal through the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
• Cruise up the Gordon River and learn about the current conservation efforts from an expert naturalist at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

Activity Particulars

Riding 19-27 miles a day on paved roads.

Date Specific Information


Bicycling 20-30 miles, 4-6 hours a day at speed of 7-10 mph on paved roads.


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Naples, 3 nights; Sanibel, 2 nights.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.


Named for the Italian city and only two miles west of Picayune Strand State Forest, Naples is part of the Paradise Coast vacation area that includes Marco Island and the Everglades. The city is home to a thriving arts scene and nourished by its clean beaches and many championship golf courses.


Beautiful Captiva Island is connected by bridge to its sister island of Sanibel, both boasting incredible shorelines and access to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. As one of the premier shelling locations in the world, Captiva also offers visitors prime opportunities for birding, fishing and spotting the endangered manatee.

Pine Island

One of the largest islands off Florida’s coast, Pine Island is a rural and sparsely populated treasure. Surrounded by mangroves, three aquatic preserves and with agricultural zoning, Pine Island is one of the most undeveloped of the Florida islands.

Naples: Centrally located hotel with outdoor swimming pool. Sanibel: Full service beach resort.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Charles Sobczak

Charles Sobczak is an award-winning author who lives and writes on Sanibel Island. His first novel, Six Mornings on Sanibel, was originally published in 1999 and is currently in its seventh printing. He has written several other novels, a fictional memoir and a collection of selected writings titled Rhythm of the Tides. In 2010, he published a regional nature guide, “Living Sanibel - A Nature Guide to Sanibel & Captiva Islands.” The book quickly became the best-selling book on Sanibel and rose to #34 nationally for nature guide sales on during the winter season of 2011. One of his other nature guides, “The Living Gulf Coast-A Nature Guide to Southwest Florida,” won the Gold Medal Presidents Award for the best work of Adult non-fiction, 2011, by the Florida Publisher’s Association.
Meals and Lodgings
   Naples Courtyard Inn
  Naples, FL 2 nights
   Outrigger Beach Resort
  Ft. Myers Beach, FL 1 night
   South Seas Island Resort
  Captiva Island, FL 1 night
   Naples Courtyard Inn
  Naples, FL 1 night
 Naples Courtyard Inn
Type: Inn
  Description: Located in the center of beautiful Naples, Florida - our guests are surrounded by the Gulf Beaches to the west, Naples Zoo to the east, 5th Avenue downtown shopping and world class restaurants to the south and the Naples Philharmonic and Mercato shopping and dining to the North. The Naples Courtyard Inn has been family owned and operated since 1975. The Inn's 76 updated, individually decorated guest rooms and suites are decidedly different: intimate, friendly, barefoot casual. All rooms feature modern conveniences like Wi-Fi, voicemail and satellite TV at no additional charge. Plus, all guests receive a complimentary continental breakfast and free parking. Families, singles, couples and groups can take advantage of our spectacular oversized pool, outdoor grills and super sized chickee bar area for entertaining. Host a birthday party, family reunion, wedding reception. Be it a formal affair or intimate get together the ambiance of the Naples Courtyard Inn sets the tone for a memorable event.
  Contact info: 2630 Tamiami Trail North
Naples, FL 34103 USA
phone: 239-261-3870
  Room amenities: Comfortable king or double beds with plush pillows Spacious new granite vanities Free high speed wireless Internet access in all rooms Additional seating areas with desk or table Satellite TV Hairdryer Mini-Fridge Microwave Telephone w/voice mail Complimentary continental breakfast served daily at the chickee bar Afternoon ice tea service at pool side
  Facility amenities: 76 updated guest rooms and suites Satellite TV Free Wi-Fi FAX/copy service Oversized Heated Pool Voicemail Fitness Liaison w/ Naples Fitness Center Open-air entry Lobby computer center Air Conditioning Outdoor Grilling Area Connecting rooms Free Parking Nonsmoking rooms
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Discount Based on Availability Call Courtyard Inn directly at (239) 261-3870 Mon through Fri 9-5 EST for reservations. Ask for Kiel and mention “Road Scholar” to make the reservations. Based on Availability.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Discount Based on Availability Call Courtyard Inn directly at (239) 261-3870 Mon through Fri 9-5 EST for reservations. Ask for Kiel and mention “Road Scholar” to make the reservations. Based on Availability.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

 Outrigger Beach Resort
Type: Resort
  Description: Stroll along our sugary, white-sand beach, take a dip in the warm salt waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and watch a colorful sunset. Read a book, poolside. Enjoy a piña colada at our Tiki Bar, and indulge in a “cheeseburger in paradise” at our Café. Get ready for...beach volleyball, deep sea fishing, biking, kayaking the Calusa Blueway, casino boats, shopping, movies, dolphin watching, and golf
  Contact info: 6200 Estero Boulevard
Ft. Myers Beach, FL 33931 USA
phone: 800-655-8997
  Room amenities: •Table and chairs – perfect for takeout •Coffee maker and dorm size refrigerator •Tub/Shower combination
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 South Seas Island Resort
Type: Resort
  Description: Experience South Seas—a resort village and wildlife sanctuary with boundless opportunity for adventure and relaxation. For decades, generations of families have made South Seas Island Resort the destination of choice in which to share treasured moments and make lasting memories. This iconic 330-acre wildlife preserve spans two and a half miles of shell-laden beaches framing the tranquil waters of the Gulf of Mexico. All amenities and accommodations are designed to take full advantage of the existing landscape. This Captiva Island resort allows you to discover native Florida in all its wondrous beauty, while relaxing in Parents Magazine’s Top 10 Beach Resorts for Families.
  Contact info: 54oo Plantation Road
Captiva, FL 33924 USA
phone: 239-472-5111
  Room amenities: Situated in the Resort's prestigious north end Pointe village, overlooking the serene waters of the Pine Island Sound and the Yacht Harbour, our Harbourside at the Pointe accommodations offer awe-inspiring views from the privacy of your open balcony. The Pointe village includes Scoops and Slices, Harbourside Bar & Grille, the Pointe Restaurant, two lagoon-style pools, T-dock, and Arcade. Convenience abounds with the challenging Gulf-front golf course just steps away and soft-sand beach just a 5-minute stroll. Spacious one-bedroom guestroom Private Open Balcony Sumptuous bedding featuring white 300-count linens and down comforters Luxurious bathroom with granite counters and large soaking tub Flat screen TV Wireless Internet Available Refrigerator Coffeemaker, with replenished coffee supplies daily Daily newspaper delivery Access to washer and dryer VCR or DVD player
  Facility amenities: Two main pools overlook Pine Island Sound and H2Whoa! family water park. Skully’s Family Interactive Center includes award-winning toddlers, kids, ‘tweens and teens programs Oasis Eco-Paintball Park GO! Programs including GO! Fish with resident fishing experts, and GO! Sail with Offshore Sailing School Bicycle, golf cart and boat rentals. Water sports include jet skis, parasailing and hydro bikes Guided kayak tours and nature walks World-famous shelling The Yacht Harbour Marina and Bayside Marina Fishing charters, surf casting and shore casting Daily cruises in the Gulf of Mexico Gulf-front par 3 executive golf course Fitness center Tennis complex
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check-in at the hotel between 3 pm and 5 pm. You will be staying at Naples Courtyard Inn that night.
  End of Program:
The programs ends at 11 am. You will be staying at Naples Courtyard Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Please complete and return the Bike Information Form included in your pre-program materials.
  Parking availability:
Free parking Participants can leave their vehicle for the entire duration of the program.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Naples, FL
  From End of Program
  Location: Naples, FL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Southwest Florida International Airport to Courtyard Inn Naples


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Bonita Bee Airport Express
phone: 239-948-5001
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Make a reservation with Bonita Bee prior to your departure, giving them your flight information. They will track your flight and be waiting for you at the airport when your plane arrives.


Southwest Florida International Airport to Courtyard Inn Naples


From Airport






approx. $65.00

Driving Directions
  SW FL airport to Courtyard Inn Naples From airport, head south on I-75. From I-75, take Exit 105 West. Go west on Golden Gate Parkway to US 41 (Tamiami Trail/9th street). Turn right (North) ON US 41 (Tamiami Trail/9th street). Continue approx. 4 blocks to the Naples Courtyard Inn Distance approx. 37 miles, travel time approx. 55 minutes depending on traffic
Equipment Requirements: Hybrid 24 speed bicycles, helmets and water will be provided.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Hospitality and Orientation
(Sunday, December 2)
 Afternoon: Please check in and register between 3:00pm and 5:00pm in hotel lobby.
 Dinner: At 5:30pm a welcome reception will be held in the hotel reception / dining area followed by a short walk to dinner.
Accommodations: Naples Courtyard Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Bike Shop & Bike Fitting / Biking 101 Lecture / Historic Naples Ride / Natural History Lecture
(Monday, December 3)
 Breakfast: At the Hotel
 Morning: Visit the bike shop in the morning to get fitted to your bike. You will have a lecture from our biking specialist on bike maintenance. Learn and review basic bike care skills and well as safety tips. After all your bike will be your only mode of transportation for the next few days!
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant on famous 5th St.
 Afternoon: Historic Naples, Pier, Port Royal. Leave the bike shop for your first adventure! Take a scenic ride through the palm tree lined residential streets of Naples. You will meander through Historic Naples, 5th Street, the Naples Pier and the ultra luxury neighborhood of Port Royale. You will have the opportunity to stop and explore locations of interest.
 Dinner: At Local Restaurant
 Evening: Natural History, Hydrology and Geology Lecture
Accommodations: Naples Courtyard Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Gulf Islands / Pelican Bay / Key State Park
(Tuesday, December 4)

Note: Bike from Naples to Fort Myers Beach

 Breakfast: At the Hotel
 Morning: Start your ride through the Gulf Islands. Today's ride takes us through Pelican Bay, Vanderbilt Beach, Bonita Beach and many barrier Islands.
 Lunch: A boxed lunch will be offered in a shaded and covered park.
 Afternoon: Continuation of ride through Key State Park cross beautiful bridges and end in Ft. Myers Beach where a seaside resort will be your reward for day of riding. Relax on the beach for the remainder of the day, or continue biking.
 Dinner: At the Hotel
Accommodations: Outrigger Beach Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Marine Invertebrates Lecture / Bailey Matthews Shell Museum / Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
(Wednesday, December 5)

Note: Bike from Ft. Myers Beach to Captiva Island

 Breakfast: At the Hotel
 Morning: A memorable day awaits you today! First we will have lecture on marine invertebrates and their shells. As we head north and the west to Sanibel where over 22 miles of bike paths make this island a biking paradise! Our first stop is the Bailey Matthews Shell Museum. Here you will get a presentation from one of the expert staff.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch at the museum.
 Afternoon: Continue the ride through J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where you will witness the spectacular migratory bird populations. Continue to Captiva Island and bike to the tip of the Island through the south Seas Plantation. A 5 star resort awaits your after a long day of riding!
 Dinner: At the Hotel
Accommodations: South Seas Island Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Randell Research Center / Calusa Kingdom Lecture / artistan community of Matlacha
(Thursday, December 6)

Note: Ferry to Pine Island, explore Pine Island by bike

 Breakfast: At the Hotel
 Morning: Ferry to Pine Island viewing the outer Islands and sea life along the way. Walk to the Randell Research Center for a Calusa Kingdom Lecture followed by guided tour through the Calusa Heritage Trail.
 Lunch: At Local Restaurant
 Afternoon: The bikes will be waiting for a ride through beautiful Pine Island. As you ride along the lazy streets of Pine Island you will pass fishing villages and unique marinas. The island has not become a mega hotel tourist destination so it has maintained its "Old Florida" charm. This pristine environment will allow you see interesting birdlife. The ride ends in the artisan community of Matlacha, an "Old Florida" fishing village home to many brightly colored art galleries, boutiques, eateries and traditional Florida cottages. As you arrive, a cold beverage will be awaiting you at a traditional seafood eatery and pub. A toast to the remembrance for this remarkable journey you have taken and the new friends that you have made.
 Dinner: At Local Restaurant
Accommodations: Naples Courtyard Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Program Ends
(Friday, December 7)
 Breakfast: At the Hotel
 Morning: End of the Program
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Naples, FL Beaches of Naples
Lowdermilk Park Banyan Blvd. and Gulf Shore Blvd. Concessions, picnic tables and relaxing! Clam Pass Seagate Drive - you'll walk or be driven along a scenic boardwalk to beach. Kayak and canoe rentals and concessions. Vanderbilt Beach Vanderbilt Drive, near the Ritz Carlton Hotel - luscious! Barefoot Beach South of Bonita Beach Road. Hugely populated by sea turtles and other warm-weather loving species. For additional information, visit
  Naples Museum of Art
The Naples Museum of Art invites you to experience the wonder of the visual arts, and to become a part of our cultural adventure. The museum is a reflection of the unique spirit and generosity of Southwest Florida. Our visual arts center includes a three-story, 30,000-square-foot museum with 15 galleries, a glass-dome conservatory, entrance gates by renowned metal artist Albert Paley, spectacular chandeliers and a Persian Ceiling by acclaimed glass artist Dale Chihuly, a resource room and the Museum Store. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Florida's First People: 12,000 Years of Human History

Author: Robin C. Brown

Description: Revised edition. Brings to life the first humans who entered Florida about 12,000 years ago. Combines contemporary archaeology, the writings of early European explorers, and replication experiments to paint a vivid picture of the state's original inhabitants. Photos of replications of many of the technologies used by early people in their day-to-day lives. The author made a tool kit of stone, wood, bone, and shell, then used implements to carve wood, twist palm fiber into twine and rope, make and decorate pottery, and weave fabric. Includes a comprehensive photographic atlas of Florida projectile points, pottery types, and typical plant and animal remains that are uncovered at Florida archaeological sites.

Living Sanibel: A Nature Guide to Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Author: Charles Sobczak

Description: The guide contains a total of 291 species of birds, with 105 species having color plates and detailed information making it easy to identify the various resident and migratory species that inhabit Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and the other preserves located on Sanibel and Captiva. It also includes a extensive shell guide, more than 70 of the most commonly found shells on the pristine beaches of Sanibel and Captiva. starts with a detailed and concise Environmental History of Sanibel and Captiva. This natural history puts the accomplishment of preserving these barrier islands into its true historical perspective. The book contains a section on the mammals and sea mammals found on Sanibel and Captiva. These include manatees, bottle-nose dophin and Atlantic spotted dolphin. For those interested in reptiles and amphibians, there are more than fifty pages of snakes, lizards, alligators and crocodiles. Also included are the various fresh water turtles, as well as five species of sea turtles that nest on Sanibel and Captiva's beaches. The fisherman will find a complete guide to the most commonly found saltwater fishes surrounding the two islands. These include snook, redfish, shark and tarpon. There is also a section on the fresh water fish found on the islands. For the amatuer entomologist there is an extensive section on the islands' insects, spiders, butteryflies and crabs. For the botanist you will find a section on the native, as well as a few of the invasive species, found on these barrier islands. These include the incredible strangler fig, the cabbage and royal palm and many more. Finally there is a complete map section. It details more than 65 miles of hiking and biking trails hidden throughout the islands. The book concludes with a section about all the museums and eco-attractions of Sanibel and Captiva, including the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, SCCF, the Sanibel Historical Museum and more.

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