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Fort Myers, Florida
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Arcadia, Florida
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Tampa, Florida
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Port St Lucie, Florida
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Crystal River, Florida

Fort Myers

Take wing to a vibrant Florida vacation destination

Southwest Florida’s rich history and sunny disposition are what make Fort Myers a Gulf Coast gem. Situated on the Caloosahatchee River and a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean, this city manages to pull off industrious growth despite the draw of lazy beach life calling from just a few miles away. It’s the ultimate vacation draw for all ages.

Fort Myers’ Rise

Fort Myers began life as a trading post in the late 1800s and has gradually taken on the role as the gateway to the Southwest Florida region. Enjoying a laidback atmosphere, the city is a fantastic jumping-off point for jaunts into the Florida Everglades to the south, Tampa Bay to the north and Lake Okeechobee to the east. Despite the temptation to roam, it’s worth your while to stay local and explore all that the city has to offer.

Get aquainted with the area by attending a guided walking tour of downtown Fort Myers. Tour participants stroll past several historic buildings while learning about the people and industries that built the town and Southwest Florida. As you take in the sights, guides will discuss Fort Myers’ role as a base of operations used by European settlers during the wars against the Seminole tribes and the town’s eventual rise into a major trading center.

Thomas Alva Edison was one of the city’s most beloved residents, and his winter estate is a popular destination. Visitors to the estate browse historic buildings and gardens, and they can take a peek at the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory where Edison and his fellow winter resident, Henry Ford, researched opportunities to produce domestic rubber for industrial uses.

Ford’s own winter estate is also open to guests, including the Henry Ford Museum and its collection of invention, artifacts and video documentaries on the lives of the two celebrated American industrialists. Wrap up your tour with a stroll through 20 acres of tropical gardens reminiscent of 1920s landscape trends.

Other famous residents whose legacy continues to delight are the Burroughs clan, whose estate showcases the opulent architecture and “modern” amenities that only the wealthy could afford for their turn-of-the-century homes.

The Burroughs Home was built for a Montana cattleman in 1901 as a winter home; businessman Nelson Burroughs purchased the Georgian Colonial Revival house in 1918 and lived there with his wife and four children. The home’s distinct architecture is complemented by interior embellishments such as a grand staircase, oak fireplaces, electric bells and indoor plumbing and electricity—lavish luxuries for the day.  The grounds and the home are open for midweek guided tours throughout the year.

Enjoy Modern Fort Myers

The youngest visitors to Fort Myers are invited to play and explore the wonders of science at Imaginarium Science Center.  Interactive sea life exhibits, an animal lab that’s home to native and non-native species, and a fossil dig site are a few of the hands-on activities that kids can dive right into at this family-friendly destination.

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Euku

Eager to get out on the water? Adventurous souls can catch a spot on a fishing charter embarking from one of the area’s many harbors.

Nothing beats a breezy Florida afternoon on the green, and EastWood Golf Course is a par 72 city-operated course with challenging 18-hole play that incorporates bunkers and water hazards. Four sets of tee markers let guests choose their level of play here, and the on-site driving range and practice green are popular alternatives to a full day of play.

Fort Myers Country Club Golf Course is a beloved spot among residents here, and its most recent renovations were made with increased accessibility in mind. As one of the oldest golf courses on Florida’s west coast, “the Fort” manages to maintain its historic charm even as players enjoy modern amenities and updated greens.

Creativity blooms in the Fort Myers community, and local artists are celebrated and supported through exhibits at the Fort Myers Beach Art Association Gallery. The gallery hosts shows and workshops, and shares its work and efforts with the community at large through annual events such as the Paint the Beach Festival in the fall and an art bazaar in the spring.

Head to the Beach

You can’t visit Fort Myers—or any coastal Florida town, for that matter—without spending at least one day on a beach.  The beaches here are some of the most pristine along the warm Gulf Coast; preservation of the delicate ecosystem is a top priority here, but Fort Myers Beach is open to a plethora of people-pleasing activities. Fort Myers even has its own Times Square, a lively retail destination with nightly entertainment, shopping and dining located at the end of Fort Myers Beach Fishing Pier. If you need to grab a few extra camping supplies upon arrival, there’s even a conveniently located Camping World in Fort Myers.

A bridge connects the mainland to Estero Island and its white beaches, and access to water that’s ideal for boating, sailing and fishing. Eco excursions on Estero Bay detail the rich marine life around Fort Myers, which is home to dolphins, seabirds and more. The Ostego Bay Marine Science Center educates visitors and residents about the marine ecosystem through hands-on exhibits and a working waterfront tour that highlights the city’s commercial shrimping industry.

See how ancient inhabitants lived on a guided tour of the Mound House on Estero Island. The 2,000-year-old structure is a Calusa Indian shell mound that’s preserved underground beneath the William H. Case estate, which itself is considered the oldest standing structure on the island. Now a museum, the Case house serves as a museum and learning center.

Sanibel Escape

For an island excursion, cross over to Sanibel Island via the three-mile Sanibel Causeway. Renowned for beaches laden with seashells, Sanibel boasts the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, home to scores of bird species that make this a bird watcher’s paradise. Visit Sanibel’s Old Town on the east end of the island, home to the towering Sanibel Lighthouse.

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© The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau.

On nearby Captiva Island, Barnacle Phil’s Restaurant serves up burgers, seafood and more. The eatery boasts countless dollar bills pinned to its walls.

For More Information

The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel

800-237-6444

www.fortmyers-sanibel.com

 

Florida Department of Tourism

888-735-2872

www.visitflorida.com