The Sanibel Island area and southwest Florida, including the Lee Island Coast from Fort Myers to the 10,000 Islands, provide some of the most beautiful cruising waterways and scenic beauty in the Sunshine State. The Sanibel Fort Myers Poker Run is a great way to experience many of these highlights in just a few short days.
With home-base at the highly acclaimed Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Marina, this boating hub is essentially the crossroads between the enormous Caloosahatchee River, the protected bay waters of Pine Island Sound, and the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The significance of this location, is that it provides the ideal launching point for cruising to a variety of destinations: northbound to places like South Seas Resort on Captiva Island, Cabbage Key, Useppa and Charlotte Harbor. Exploring southbound, coastal waters connect Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Beach and Lovers Key. On fair-weather days, performance boaters can easily reach Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City in virtually minutes.
Changing this event format from year to year, has kept the spirit for adventure alive, and FPC now offers a Friday Fun Run to Cabbage Key, and a Saturday poker run to Everglades City, gateway to the 10,000 Islands and Everglades National Park.
Everglades City: Circa 2011
Once a farming community in the early 1900's, Everglades City later became industrialized by Baron Collier, but by mid-century, Everglades National Park took the spotlight, and for the last several decades, the area has been more popular with anglers and outdoorsman, and more recently eco-tourism has taken an active role in the local economy. The 10,000 Islands are perhaps the most highly acclaimed waterways for kayakers and canoers, with numerous tour operators and established touring routes throughout the area.
In the heart of this quaint little town is the all-new Everglades Isle, an exclusive "Motorcoach Retreat" (don't call this an RV park..its as upscale as they come!) With abundant floating docks and an elegant clubhouse, this first class establishment hosts a lavish lunch for our poker run guests, followed by airboat tours through the intricate array of narrow mangrove waterways, unique to this part of Florida. It is perhaps this unique geography and access to the Gulf waters that made this such a popular haven for the smuggling trade not long ago. This run provides an exciting adventure back in time!
After returning for the day's adventures, and with the boats docked for the evening, guests congregate at the Charley's Cabana Bar for cocktails, then proceed to one of Sanibel Harbor's private ballrooms to enjoy dinner and play out the poker cards. The festive dinner party includes a award agenda, along with Sponsor introductions and special presentations. Aerial helicopter footage and video highlights from the day are played in HD video on the big screen, as participants enjoy the festive evening with old, and new, boating friends.