Bowman’s Beach is a popular beach park on the west end of Sanibel.
Family Trip To Bowman’s Beach
Last weekend we took our family to Bowman’s Beach on the West end of Sanibel. This protected Sanibel beach has no development in sight, providing remote and natural landscape views. With only native vegetation, white sand, and the Gulf of Mexico, you get a feel for ‘big sky’ as the low horizon expands in all directions.
Immediately behind the beach are protected saltwater bayous that serve as hatcheries for local game fish and rookeries for our shore birds. The parking lot is on the far side of the bayous and requires a 5-minute nature walk through a hammock boardwalk bridge to reach the sand. Bowman’s Beach extends for miles and we enjoy walks in solitude as most beachgoers stay close to the beach entrance.
History of Bowman’s Beach
Fun Fact: Bowman’s Beach Park is actually owned by Lee County, however, an agreement has been made with the City of Sanibel for the operation and maintenance of the park. This place is always beautifully kept when we visit and we applaud the City of Sanibel for that.
Is Bowman’s Beach Still a Nude Beach?
It is the remote nature of this beach that must have attracted the Naturists. When I was a kid growing up in Southwest Florida, Bowman’s Beach was infamous as the ‘Nude Beach’ and was the subject of adolescent jokes. I came here many times with my parents in the early ’80s and, at that time, the Naturists would gather a good hike North from the beach entrance. Folks knew where the Naturists hung out. You just avoided their encampment if nudity bothered you.
Since that time, Sanibel has cracked down on the ‘clothing-optional’ beach and there’s not much mention of nude beaches on Sanibel. Bowman’s Beach does bear one small sign of its past. It is the only Sanibel beach with a ‘No Nude Sunbathing’ sign.
Bowman’s Beach Amenities
Bowman’s Beach has great amenities for Sanibel Island beach visitors including bathrooms, outdoor showers, and changing rooms. Scattered throughout the park are picnic tables (both covered and uncovered) and BBQ Grills (this is the only beach on Sanibel with grills). Also at the park is a small playground, fitness and nature trails, and a kayak/canoe launch for exploring the bayous.
Parking At Bowman’s Beach
Bowman’s Beach is one of the most popular Sanibel Island beaches. Parking can be a problem on holidays and at the height of tourist season. On those days it is important to arrive early. There are several oversized parking spots for vehicles 20 feet and over.
Is Bowman’s Beach Accessible?
Bowman’s Beach is ADA accessible! There is a ramp leading to the bathrooms, and the boardwalk to the beach is also wheelchair friendly. Click here to view the 360 walkthrough tour provided by our local SWFL tourism board.
Additional Sanibel Island Beach Information
SANIBEL GUIDE: Sanibel Island Beaches
Your Local Experts on Sanibel Island
As local residents of Sanibel Island, we love to share our favorite beaches, attractions, and events with you, future Sanibel residents! We have over a decade of experience in real estate transactions on Sanibel and Captiva and look forward to welcoming you to our community. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any Sanibel real estate questions!