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Bowman’s Beach Update

The clothing optional beach, North Bowman’s Beach (aka Turner’s Beach), is located in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas of Sanibel-Captiva in Florida.

The beach fronts onto the Gulf of Mexico, in front of the protected Silver Key conservation area, which is also known as Old Blind Pass, on some maps. The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, and others, work to keep this beach natural.

 The clothing optional beach is a key hatching area for endangered sea turtles, who have been protected by beachgoers and local residents for decades.  Because there are no condos or any buildings whatsoever in this area, the turtles can return to lay their eggs, undisturbed. The occasional police patrols by ATV are actually the only thing threatening these critical turtle eggs.


Beachgoers in this area have to hike approximately 1.5 miles north of Bowman’s Beach, which is textile.  However, this relative remoteness from Bowman’s has also created a great sanctuary for seabirds, who thrive there.  It is not uncommon to see dolphins there, fishing the shallow waters too.

The clothing optional beach is completely consistent with Sanibel’s conservation ethic.  People seeking parties and noise do not go to this beach.

Nudists are asked to practice caution as the beach is not technically approved for nude use but has traditionally been used as clothing-optional. If challenged, nudists are advised to comply with law enforcement although a memo from Laurie Collins from the Metro Dade Police Department (at left; click on image for larger view) clearly refutes last week’s FOX News story.

Directions to North Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island, Florida 33957

Drive west on Sanibel-Captiva Road (or use the bike path that parallels
San-Cap Road), past the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

Turn left onto Bowman’s Beach Road, off Sanibel-Captiva Road, at the fire
station on your left.  This turn is marked.

Drive/bike to end of road, turn right into Bowman’s Beach Public Park.
Note:  there are limited pay parking spots in the winter months so arrive
early or late afternoon if you are driving a car.

Bring drinking water and a lunch:  there are no food facilities on site.

Take the main walking path past the restrooms and outdoor showers; cross the
foot bridge leading to the main beach.  (The foot bridge crosses a back bay
called Old Blind Pass.  Great photo opportunities to see birds and the
occasional alligator.)

Just before the main walking path reaches the main beach, turn right at the
recycling bins.  This is an obvious, but smaller path, heading north, just
behind the main beach.  Walk/bike approximately 1.5 miles to the end of this
path, which also has many smaller paths to the beach if you don’t want to
stay on it all the way.

At the very end of the path, the trail terminates in a fork to the left,
which puts you on North Bowman’s Beach (aka Turner Beach).

If you continue up the beach for another 1/2 mile, you’ll reach Blind Pass,
which is textile.  To the south (where you walked from) the main beach at
Bowman’s is textile.

Tips for Visiting

1.  Bring a packable beach shelter of some kind, or a light beach shade.
This is an area of high UV all year round.  Winds are usually sufficient for
good kite flying.

2.  Drinking water is essential.

3.  If you see signs indicating bird or turtle nests, please respect them
and stay back.  This area is a conservation sanctuary.

4.  Bring a mesh bag for shelling, but do not take live specimens.

5.  Remove/recycle trash, especially if you see plastic on the beach.

6.  Bring a camera:  you will see a variety of sea birds, including
pelicans. Dolphins fish this area.

7.  Boaters:  North Bowman’s is only accessible by kayaks and shallow
draft sail boats, under 3′ keels.   Sailors, you must anchor off, and
stay at least 100′ off the beach to be safe.  No-wake zone, clearly marked.
Do not operate engines.  Significant tidal changes, depending on weather:
check NOAA first, for Captiva.

For additional information on beach etiquette, click here.


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2 Responses to Bowman’s Beach Update

  1. ed hilferty says:

    Like to really know do you have to walk 1.5 miles to get there

    • Dean & Apinya says:

      Yes 1.5 miles is about right. Once you see the 3 way fork in the walking path after the bridge keep right. My wife and I have been going there a while but have only worn thongs until recently and braved to go nude after seeing a couple other people nude. You can walk the path until dumps you on the beach or take any one of the side trails and then walk the beach. I would stay on the path your first time so you can get a feel how far up you really need to go. Lots of water and an umbrella is a must! We usually walk until we see the 2nd path that has a trash dumpster then walk the beach the rest of the way. From that point you are about a mile up and can clearly see the blind pass that you need to curve around. Even after you get around the curve survey your area around you and use the umbrella line of site rule.

      The Umbrella LOS Rule – A venturous textile beach goer (especially one with a family and wants to show off his primitive adaptation) will walk from their starting point to the last umbrella they can see on their horizon. It will shock you how far they will walk even with little kids and no water. If your umbrella can be seen on the horizon your too close.

      I have been to social C/O beaches but so far from what I have seen this site is very tranquil. So if your looking for a nude beach volleyball party this is not the place but will be nice to see more like minded people out there. Wearing clothes on a beach is just plain weird.

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