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Biking South Florida’s Islands in the Gulf

Program Number: 20389RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/8/2015 - 2/13/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Naples, Florida
Price starting at: $1,489.00 - 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; Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt    

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


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.
Meals and Lodgings
   Holiday Inn Express - Naples
  Naples, FL 3 nights
   Sundial Beach Resort and Spa
  Sanibel, FL 1 night
   Holiday Inn Express - Naples
  Naples, FL 1 night
 Holiday Inn Express - Naples
Type: Hotel
  Description: This newly renovated Naples hotel is conveniently located steps from the famous 5th Avenue downtown Naples in the heart of the entertainment and shopping district, world class restaurants and night life. This hotel is ideally located, just one mile from Naples Pier, pristine white sand beaches, Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens as well as Naples Philharmonic and just a block from the historic Tin City Marketplace.
  Contact info: 1785 Fifth Avenue South
Florida, FL 34102 USA
phone: 239-261-3500
  Room amenities: Room Amenities: -32” HD LCD -Free Wireless Internet -Ipod / Iphone Docking Station -Refrigerator -Microwave -Hairdryer -Coffee Maker -Mini RefrigeratorTea Maker -Individually Controlled Air Conditioning -Iron / Ironing Board
  Facility amenities: - 24 hour state-of-the art fitness center features extensive range of PRECOR equipment - Outdoor Pool - Business Center - Complimentary Parking
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: TBD 
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: TBD 
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

 Sundial Beach Resort and Spa
Type: Resort
  Contact info: 1451 Middle Gulf Dr
Sanibel, FL 33957 
phone: 239-472-4151
  Room amenities: Cable TV with VCR Telephone with dataport AM/FM clock radio Refrigerator Microwave Coffeemaker Blender Dishwasher Hair dryer Iron/Ironing board In-room safe
  Facility amenities: One mile of world famous white sand beach Indoor and outdoor dining venues Water sports options Access to on-island golf at The Sanibel Island Golf Club 6 tennis courts Volleyball court 5 heated swimming pools Full-service spa and hair salon offering massage, facials, nail care and more Lifestyle boutique featuring inspirational apparel, accessories and gifts Beach chairs and towels On-site bicycles and kayaks Professional recreation staff and organized programs for all ages Environmental Coastal Observatory Center 12,000 square feet of conference and special events space with business center Wireless internet access in guest rooms and Resort Centre
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 pm You will be staying at Holiday Inn Express - Naples that night.
  End of Program:
11:00 am You will be staying at Holiday Inn Express - 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
  From End of Program
  Location: Naples, FL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) to Holiday 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 min 


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 the Holiday Inn Naples


From Airport




MBA Airport Transportation, LLC
phone: 239-482-2777


Per Person/One Way:


$65.00 (including the fuel surcharge). Additional passenger is $10
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


45 minutes 




30 miles


The Holiday Inn Naples is located at 1785 5th Ave, S. Naples. For more details you can go to the MBA Airport Transportation website.

Driving Directions
  From the East (I-75 N) Head North on I-75 N. Take exit 101 for County RD 951/FL-84 toward Naples/Marco Island. Turn left onto Collier Blvd. Turn Right onto FL-84 W. Continue Straight onto FL-84/Davis Blvd. Slight right onto 5th Ave S/Tamiami Trail. Hotel will be on Right.
  From the South (U.S. 41) Take U.S. 41 N/Tamiami Trail E toward Naples. Hotel will be on the Right.
  Southwest Florida International Airport, Ft. Myers, FL Follow the signs for Terminal Exit. Turn left onto Ben Hill Griffin Pkwy/CR-885 S. Turn Right onto Alico RD/CR-840 W. Slight Right, continue onto Interstate 75 South toward Naples to exit 123 toward Estero. Merge onto Corkscrew Rd. Turn Left onto Pine Ridge Rd. Take 3rs right onto Goodlette Rd N. Turn Left onto 5th Ave S/Tamiami Trail. Turn Right onto Sandpiper St. Make U-turn at Curlew Ave. Take the 1st Left onto 5th Ave S/ Tamiami Trail. Hotel will be on the Right.
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 8)
 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: Begin getting to know your fellow participants during dinner at a nearby restaurant.
 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. Take the rest of the evening to relax, get a good night’s sleep, and be ready for a full day tomorrow.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express - Naples
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Searching Beyond the High Rises
(Monday, February 9)

Note: Today's ride is 20 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: On this morning’s ride, we ride through neighborhoods and encounter places where ever-changing “New” Naples meets Old Naples. We will stop at several locations including, historic Naples Pier and ride through the beautiful, tree-lined streets of Port Royal. You will be fascinated as we stop to view Palm Cottage, the oldest house in Naples. Moving northward, we will make a stop at the Naples Depot Museum before continuing on to The Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida
 Afternoon: Listen to a lecture about the local wildlife conservation given by an expert naturalist. After weave among the mangroves and other native plants on a boat cruise up the Gordon River. Return to the hotel where you will meet a Florida Master Naturalist, who will bring insight into the Natural History, Hydrology and Geology of the area.
 Dinner: We will dine at a local restaurant to enjoy a 3-course meal including salad, choice of entrée, and dessert.
 Evening: At your leisure
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express - Naples
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Surviving Against the Odds - The stories of Two Beach Habitats
(Tuesday, February 10)

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

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Bike to the Barefoot Beach State Preserve. Stretching over 342 acres of natural land, Barefoot Beach Preserve one of the last undeveloped barrier islands on Florida's southwest coast and a home to the protected Gopher Tortoise.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch in a shaded pavilion
 Afternoon: After lunch have the option of a hike on the Saylor Nature Trail. BBSP is a wonderful site with gopher tortoises, wading birds and a nature center.
 Dinner: Dinner is on your own
 Evening: At Leisure
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express - Naples
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Motorcoach to Sanibel Island, Sanibel Captiva Conservation, and Sanibel Historic Village
(Wednesday, February 11)

Note: Today's ride is 20 miles with speeds of 10-15 mph with designated stops.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will board a motorcoach to take us to Sanibel Island where more than 22 miles of paths make this island a cycling paradise! This morning we will cycle to and visit the Sanibel Lighthouse. Hear about its fascinating history from Charles Lebuff who lived in the lighthouse quarters for 22 years.
 Lunch: Bike to lunch at the Green House Grill
 Afternoon: Bike along the Sanibel's many paths and visit the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Sundial Beach Resort and Spa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge,
(Thursday, February 12)

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

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Cycle 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.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille.
 Afternoon: Return from today's ride to Ding Darling and prepare to disembark Sanibel and return to Naples via motorcoach.
 Dinner: At a local Naples restaurant, enjoy good company and good food with a 3-course meal including appetizer, choice of entrée, and dessert.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express - Naples
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Wrap-up Session, Program Concludes
(Friday, February 13)
 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 5th Avenue South
Fifth Avenue South boasts a unique collection of boutiques, galleries, fine and casual dining, home furnishings, professional services, theater and more! For additional information, visit
  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.

Sanybel Light: An Historical Autobiography

Author: Charles LeBuff (Speaker)

Description: Having raised his family at the Sanibel Lighthouse, long-time islander Charles LeBuff tells the history of Sanibel Island from his very unique perspective. Charles LeBuff lived on Sanibel Island for 47 years. He is a noted sea turtle conservationist and served as Refuge Biologist at "Ding" Darling Refuge for 32 years. He was a charter member of the Sanibel City Council -- he has a lot to share with readers of Sanybel Light.

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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