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Biking South Florida’s Islands in the Gulf

Program Number: 20389RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/9/2014 - 2/14/2014; 2/14/2016 - 2/19/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Naples, Florida
Price starting at: $1,449.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Bicycling; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 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

2-9-2014, 2-14-2016

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.
Joe Pacheco

At just 18, Joe Pacheco won a national award for his poetry. However, it wasn’t until he moved to Sanibel Island for retirement that his muse was reawakened. His passion for the arts was revitalized, leading him to publish three books of poetry and he won the Literary Artist of the Year. Joe continues to keep residents and visitors alike interested in poetry by holding contests, open-mic nights and events like his Poetry Fest.
Meals and Lodgings
   Courtyard Marriott Naples
  Naples, FL 3 nights
   South Seas Island Resort
  Captiva Island, FL 1 night
   Courtyard Marriott Naples
  Naples, FL 1 night
 Courtyard Marriott Naples
Type: Hotel
  Description: Near the Courtyard Naples lies a thriving business center, beautiful beaches, fantastic golf courses, and a vibrant cultural scene make Naples a wonderful world of its own. Less than a mile from Naples' pristine beaches, the Courtyard offers easy access to a variety of attractions. For the business traveler, the hotel offers spacious rooms smartly appointed with full-size work desks, complimentary high-speed internet and in-room coffee service. Nature lovers will appreciate the short driving distance to outdoor attractions, zoos and wildlife centers, as well as wetlands, sanctuaries and preserves. For the shoppers who can't resist the urge to splurge, you will love Naples' unique boutiques, intriguing shops and grand shopping centers.
  Contact info: 3250 Tamiami Trail N
Naples, FL 34103 USA
phone: 239-434-8700
  Room amenities: Spacious Naples hotel rooms that combine comfort and functionality Large desks include conveniently placed lighting, outlets and ergonomic chairs Plush beds offer the ultimate night's sleep Our hotel rooms in Naples feature Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs & premium cable channels In-room coffee and tea service offer the perfect way to start your day Naples hotel rooms include alarm clocks, irons & ironing
  Facility amenities: Coffee in lobby Coffee/tea in-room Housekeeping service daily Laundry on-site Local restaurant dinner delivery Newspaper in lobby Phone calls: toll-free Safe deposit boxes, front desk Valet dry-cleaning Vending machines Cardiovascular equipment Free weights Treadmill, bicycle, natilus weights Outdoor Pool Whirlpool
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: based on availability Please Contact Hotel
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: based on availability Please Contact Hotel
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

 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:
3:00 pm You will be staying at Courtyard Marriott Naples that night.
  End of Program:
11:00 am You will be staying at Courtyard Marriott Naples the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Bike Information Form
  Parking availability:
Free parking Participants can leave their vehicle for the entire duration of the program.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Naples, FL
  Nearest airport:  Southwest Florida International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Naples, FL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) to Marriott Courtyard Inn Naples


From Airport




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


Per Person/One Way:


$62.00 (for up to 3 people)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


36 mins 


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. Reservations fill up quickly in the winter months, it is best to book at least 2 weeks in advance.


Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) to Courtyard Inn Naples


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
MBA Airport Transportation, LLC
phone: 239-482-2777
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$65.00 (including the fuel surcharge).
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


36 mins 


The Marriott Hotel in Naples is in zone 7. For more details you can go to the MBA Airport Transportation website.

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: Arrival and Check-in, Program Registration, Welcome Reception and Dinner, Orientation and Bike Fitting
(Sunday, February 9)
 Afternoon: Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00pm. Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag, the up-to-date schedule, and to confirm the time of the welcome reception and orientation session.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: At 5:30pm, join us for a welcome reception to meet and begin getting to know your fellow participants, followed by a 3-course meal with salad, entrée, and dessert.
 Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome, introduce everyone, and provide key staff contact names and phone numbers. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Bike Fitting: This key activity will be the last element of our orientation session. Our cycling specialists will review basic bike care skills and well as safety tips.

Take the rest of the evening to relax, get a good night’s sleep, and be ready for a full day tomorrow.

Accommodations: Courtyard Marriott Naples
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Cycling Naples Historic District
(Monday, February 10)

Note: Today's ride is 20-25 miles with speeds of 10-12 mph with designated stops.

 Breakfast: Our breakfast at the hotel offers a selection of hot and cold items including protein, fresh fruit, coffee and tea.
 Morning: Historic Naples. We begin our adventure cycling through the Naples Historic District. Take a scenic ride through the palm tree lined residential streets and see special sites such as the Naples Pier on the Gulf of Mexico, a favorite location of fishermen and sightseers, and Palm Cottage, the oldest house in town (1895), listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
 Lunch: The popular Café Luna offers an eclectic range of Italian and other choices.
 Afternoon: Continue cycling around Historic Naples. You will roll through 5th Street and the ultra luxurious neighborhood of Port Royale. We will finish our day with a visit to the Naples Depot Museum where you will connect with the history of Naples as interactive exhibits tell the story of how trade and travel transformed Naples from a napping village of 300 into today's glittering Gulf coast resort.
 Dinner: We will dine at a local restaurant to enjoy a 3-course meal including salad, choice of entrée, and dessert.
 Evening: Learn from a local expert about natural history, hydrology, and geology.
Accommodations: Courtyard Marriott Naples
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Naples to Lover's Key State Park
(Tuesday, February 11)

Note: Today's ride is 28 miles with speeds of 12-15 mph with designated stops.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Bike to Lover's Key State Park just beyond the southern tip of Fort Myers Beach. For years, Lover's Key was accessible only by boat and it was said that only lovers traveled to the island to enjoy its remote and solitary beach. Today, it is one of four barrier islands that make up this state park. A haven for wildlife, the islands and their waters are home to West Indian manatees, bottlenose dolphins, roseate spoonbills, marsh rabbits, and bald eagles. On the way to Lover's Key, we will stop at the Cocohatchee Marina and Barefoot Beach Preserve.
 Lunch: Enjoy a boxed lunch in a shaded and covered picnic area.
 Afternoon: Options: After lunch, you may choose to continue cycling through Lover's Key on the Black Island Trail or go cycling over a bridge to the beach at San Carlos Bay . A motorcoach will pick everyone up at an appointed time and place and we will return to the hotel with time to relax before dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner is on your own this evening to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. Your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Courtyard Marriott Naples
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Motorcoach to Pine Island, Randell Research Center, Calusa Heritage Trail, Cycling “Old Florida”
(Wednesday, February 12)

Note: Today's ride is 15 miles with speeds of 10-15 mph with designated stops.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will board a motorcoach to take us to Pine Island and Matlacha. The ride begins in the artisan community of Matlacha, a fishing village home to many brightly colored art galleries, boutiques, eateries, and traditional Florida cottages. Later you bike along quiet streets you will pass fishing villages and marinas. The island has not become a mega hotel tourist destination so it has maintained its "Old Florida" charm. The unspoiled environment will allow you see interesting birdlife.
 Lunch: We stop for lunch at an historic inn on Pine Island.
 Afternoon: After lunch we then walk to the Randell Research Center, a Florida Museum of Natural History facility, for a presentation on the Calusa Kingdom followed by guided walking along the Calusa Heritage Trail. The Calusa were once the most powerful people in South Florida, and for many centuries accumulated huge shell mounds, engineered canals, and sustained tens of thousands of people from marine life in rich estuaries. The trail has observation platforms atop the site's tallest shell mound, trail-side benches, and a boardwalk.

Later we board the ferry from Pine Island to Captiva, viewing the outer Islands and sea life along the way.

 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: South Seas Island Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Sanibel Lighthouse, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Cycling on Captiva Island
(Thursday, February 13)

Note: Today's ride is 28 miles with speeds of 10-15 mph with designated stops.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we will bike Sanibel Island, where more than 22 miles of paths make this island a cycling paradise! This morning we will cycle to the Sanibel Historical Village and Museum. The historic center was founded in 1982 as a tribute to the early pioneers on Sanibel Island. Each building has been restored to its original state. Volunteer docents guide visitors through this mystical place. .
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grill.
 Afternoon: After cycling to the J. N. Ding Darling Visitor Center, we will cycle through this exceptional National Wildlife Refuge. You will witness the spectacular migratory bird populations and lush vegetation. We continue cycling to Captiva Island and on to the tip of the Island through the South Seas Plantation. At the conclusion of our field trip, we will board the motor coach and visit the Sanibel Lighthouse for a talk about the history.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant, enjoy good company and good food with a 3-course meal including appetizer, choice of entrée, and dessert.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Courtyard Marriott Naples
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Wrap-up Session, Program Concludes
(Friday, February 14)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: A final wrap-up talk with the Group Leader concludes the program. We hope you have enjoyed this Road Scholar learning adventure and look forward to having you on other programs in the future. Please stay in touch and share your memories, pictures, and comments via the Road Scholar Social Network. Best wishes for all your journeys! Best wishes for all your journeys!
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.

Legendary Locals of Fort Myers

Author: Gerri Reaves

Description: From its beginning as a military installation in the Second Seminole War through the postwar booms of the 20th century, Fort Myers has had its share of famous residents and heroes, from Thomas A. Edison to Olympian Al Oerter, from musician Billy Nalle and football Hall-of-Famer Deion Sanders to world-renowned artist Robert Rauschenberg. But beyond being the winter home of such famous residents as the Edisons and Fords, the City of Palms has been fertile ground for local legends, both admirable and notorious. County commissioner "Wild Bill" Towles burned down the county courthouse so he could build a modern one--and got lots of help. Plucky 10-year-old Margaret Mickle set out in a rowboat and got a private meeting with a former president of the United States on demand. Nurse LaVeta Allen defied Jim Crow laws to save the life of a black woman, knowing it would get her fired. Such are the raucous, comical, and touching histories of those who made a difference in Fort Myers.

Finding Florida: The True History of the Sunshine State

Author: T.D. Allman

Description: Over its long history, Florida has been many things: a native realm protected by geography; a wilderness that ruined Spanish conquistadors; a place to start over; "god's waiting room." With a native population as high as 900,000 (who all died), it became a pestilential backwater with a few thousand inhabitants, but today is our fourth most populous state, with nineteen million. The site of vicious racial violence, including massacres, slavery, and the roll-back of Reconstruction, Florida is now one of our most diverse states, a dynamic multicultural place with an essential role in 21st century America.

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