Discover The Lee Island Coast
Barrier Islands: North Captiva, Cayo Costa, Gasparilla Island Popular with residents and tourists alike, Lee County’s northern barrier islands are only accessible by boat. A great getaway or day trip.
Sanibel and Captiva Islands beautiful barrier islands that have balanced growth with concern for nature and wildlife. World famous for shelling, fishing, and the J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Preserve.
Cape Coral Tucked behind Sanibel near the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, Cape Coral’s riverfront sandy beach and public fishing pier are open to residents and visitors year round. Amenities include BBQ grills, picnic shelters, restaurant, and a children’s play area. About 400 miles of canals weave through Cape Coral, providing waterfront vistas in many places. This is truly a water wonderland!
Fort Myers Beach: The perfect “Florida Beach Town”, Fort Myers Beach combines family vacations with fun and nightlife. The Town Square near the pier is a great people-watching spot, while further down the island residential properties and condominiums make for a quieter beach experience. Along Estero Boulevard there are many beach access points, allowing the public to enjoy this coast’s pristine white sands. A great vacation destination!
Lover’s Key South of Fort Myers Beach and North of Bonita is a wonderful family recreation area called Lover’s Key. Carl E. Johnson Park, operated by Lee County Parks, boasts wide sandy beaches, clean clear water, and the feeling of being “away from it all – yet close to amenities and luxury hotels. The park entrance is between New Pass and Big Carlos Pass.
Bonita Beach: The southernmost beach in Lee County, Bonita Beach is lined with Australian Pine trees. Public parking, restaurants and play equipment are available, and it’s a great beach for strolling and enjoying the scenery.
Caloosahatchee River: Majestic and peaceful, the Caloosahatchee River Waterfront is part of the downtown business community, and a popular recreation destination for fishing, waterskiing, sight seeing, and eco-tours. For the perfect finish to a Fort Myers day, watch the sun set over the Caloosahatchee!
Fort Myers Attractions
There is plenty to see and do in and around Fort Myers, and there are too many attractions to describe here. Edison & Ford Winter Estates Step back in time by visiting Thomas Edison and Henry Ford’s winter estates, the nation’s 9th most visited historic home. You can take an extended guided tour of the homes, museum, laboratory and gardens. Botanical tours are available by special request.
Fort Myers Historical Museum The Fort Myers Historical Museum is housed in the former Atlantic Coastline Railroad depot on Peck Street in downtown Fort Myers. Here you will find information on early settlers of Southwest Florida including the Calusa, Paleo and Seminole Indians and an extensive artifacts collection. Exhibits include a private Pullman rail car and an authentic replica of a pioneer “cracker” house. Browse the exhibits at your own pace, or take part in a group tour.
Imaginarium Hands-On Museum If you are looking for a place to interact with the kids, the Imaginarium offers fun for the whole family. These fun and educational exhibits allow children to learn about the environment, weather physics and other topics. Attractions include animals, aquariums displaying marine life, a touch pool, hurricane simulator, puppet theatre and interactive areas for preschoolers.
Fort Myers Dining & Nightlife
Fort Myers has its share of family-welcoming restaurant chains, in addition to many independent restaurants offering a wide choice of international cuisine.
If you want to combine dinner with entertainment consider attending Dinner Theatre or board the Seminole Gulf Railway’s Murder Mystery Dinner Train.
There are many watering holes and nightclubs along Tamiami Trail, and Fort Myers Beach has numerous low-key beach bars. In addition to bars, restaurants and nightclubs Lee County also has a casino, and several venues where you can see a Broadway production or a concert. Below is a list of some of these venues.
Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall Largest proscenium stage in Southwest Florida where Broadway’s best, “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and last season’s, “The Jersey Boys” grace the stage as well as legendary stars such as Tom Jones and Johnny Mathis.
Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is Southwest Florida’s most entertaining destination. The theatre provides top quality entertainment along with an award-winning meal, all at a true value.
Florida Repertory Theatre Florida Repertory Theatre is Southwest Florida’s only professional regional theatre.
Seminole Casino Try your luck at the Seminole Casino in Immokalee! Open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, the Seminole Casino has high paying gaming machines, live action poker and award winning dining. Southwest Florida Symphony Lee County’s Resident Professional Symphony Offers Classical, Pops, Chamber Orchestra Concerts.
Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium The Calusa Nature Center has a museum, nature trails, aviary and planetarium. Visit the museum to learn more about Southwest Florida’s natural history. There are daily programs which include educational talks about animals including snakes, alligators, birds and butterflies. Visitors are able to get up close and personal to some of these creatures. Learn all about constellations, planets, star clusters and galaxies in the planetarium. Calusa’s 105 acre site has plenty of picnic areas in the grounds.
Boating and Fishing in Fort Myers
Southwest Florida’s coastline offers plenty of opportunities for fishermen to enjoy backwater, offshore, fly and flats fishing. The Gulf Coast has many artificial reefs, providing rich ecosystems ideal for deep-water fishing. Common catches include grouper, snapper, amberjack, permit and shark. The backwater or backcountry areas include bays, creeks and mangrove swamps.
A full-day trip on a 60-100 foot long party boat will cost an average of $40 per person, or you can have more personalized attention and instruction from an experienced guide on a charter boat (average cost $400 for a full day). Alternatively, you can fish on piers, bridges or docks, but you will require a saltwater license.
Take a cruise along the Caloosahatchee River or along the Intercoastal Waterway to Lake Okeechobee from the Yacht Basin in downtown Fort Myers. Alternatively head out towards the Gulf of Mexico on cruises which depart either from the Yacht Basin, from the Marina at Fort Myers Beach, or from Port Sanibel Marina. On these you can take in the views of Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast with its many islands, watch dolphins swimming alongside the boat, or just sunbathe on deck and relax.
If you fancy a full day trip you can even venture as far as the Florida Keys with a stroll around Key West. Most cruises provide cocktails and lunch/dinner, and some even offer music and dancing. Choose from a yacht cruise to a catamaran or even an old-fashioned Paddle-wheeler.
Golfing in Fort Myers
Southwest Florida has over 130 public and private golf courses, with over 50 in the Fort Myers area (Estero, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Sanibel Island, Bonita Springs and Venice). This region has earned a reputation of having some of the most sought after golf courses in the world. It is advisable to book in advance, especially in the winter months (Florida’s peak tourist season) when availability is limited. Many courses will only allow members of the public to book up to 10 days in advance. Green fees also tend to be higher during peak season.
In addition to the great weather Florida golf courses are scenic, challenging, and they cater to every level of player. Although some courses are for members only, the majority are open to the public. Many private courses are open to all golfers too in the summer months.
Some points to note about the weather:
- Winds of up to 25mph are common in the winter, particularly on those courses located close to the coastline
- Thundershowers are frequent in summer months, but these can usually be avoided by booking Tee times in the mornings when the skies are clearer.
Popularity of the sport in Florida has given rise to the construction of many golfing communities. Over a quarter of the residential communities in the area have been built around golf courses, making this sport even more accessible to both local residents and to those owning vacation homes.
If you are a golfing enthusiast, be sure to visit Southwest Florida for year-round golfing fun.
Shopping in Fort Myers
Downtown Fort Myers where you’ll find newly renovated shops, bistros, clothing and jewelry boutiques, art galleries, antiques, and sidewalk cafes. Alternatively visit some of the many shops and plazas on Tamiami Trail (US 41), or if you are looking for a bargain take a stroll around our flea markets. Bell Tower Shops Located at the intersection of US 41 and Daniels Parkway, this newly renovated plaza has over 50 boutiques, specialty shops and restaurants. Among these are major retailers such as Banana Republic, Chico’s, Gap, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Gulf Coast Town Center Located at the intersection of I-75 and Alico Road
Tanger Outlet Center Tanger Outlets has over 45 brand name manufacturer and designer outlet stores offering merchandise including apparel, footwear, housewares and gifts. With names like Polo Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Reebok, GAP, Greg Norman, Coach, and Izod you’ll be sure to find top-quality brand name merchandise at unbeatable prices. Tanger Outlets is conveniently located 2 miles before the Sanibel Causeway in Ft. Myers, or five miles from Ft. Myers Beach.
Fleamaster’s Fleamarket This 400,000 square foot market has more than 900 shops and restaurants. It is the ideal shopping venue for tourists, with its plethora of souvenirs, collectibles, and arts and crafts. Visitors and residents alike will find bargains amongst the hundreds of booths. Whether looking for apparel, housewares, or fresh produce, there’s something here for everyone! Fleamaster’s is located on SR 82, 1-1/4 miles west of I-75. Free parking and free admissions. Hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Miromar Outlets Miromar Outlets features more than 120 top designer and great brand name manufacturers’ outlets. By buying directly from the manufacturers, shoppers will find savings of up to 70% off retail prices! In addition to great savings and great selection, Miromar Outlets also offers great dining.