Fort Myers is a thriving city located in Lee County, in southwestern Florida, on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River. It serves as a gateway to the Southwest Florida region, which is a major tourist destination. The City of Palms, as the town is also known, is renowned for deepsea fishing, its amazing golf courses and the beautiful white sand beaches that stretch along the Gulf Coast. The climate in Fort Myers is perfect for both golfing and sunbathing, being subtropical, with humid warm breezes for most of the year, though there has been occurrences of snow. The city´s downtown area has recently been renovated and promises to have an even greater variety of new restaurants, clubs, galleries and shops on offer. The islands of Sanibel and Captiva are in close proximity, with Sanibel accessible via a causeway bridge. According to legend, the pirate Jose Gaspar made his home in Pine Island Sound, using Sanibel Island as his headquarters and holding his female prisoners captive on the nearby Captiva Island, from which it got its name. He also is said to have buried his booty on nearby Gasparilla Island and rather than be captured by the U.S. Navy, reportedly drowned himself in anchor chains!
- Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, B.B. King and Duke Ellington all performed in the McCollum Hall in Fort Myers, a dance hall built in 1938.
- Thomas Edison spent many of his winters in Fort Myers.
- Speaking of which, the banyan tree at the Edison Winter Home is the largest specimen in the U.S with aerial roots spanning 400 feet!
- Early settlers in the region were flower growers from the Benelux countries in Europe, at one time turning the area into the “Gladiolus Capital of the World”.
- The beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel rank amongst the top 10 winter destinations in America.
- The area is so famous for shelling that the common shelling postures have been named the Sanibel Stoop and the Captiva Crouch!
Things to See and Do
This laid-back location has a similar array of laid-back activities to engage in when visiting. We´ve listed a few below to help you plan your trip!
1) Fancy a round of golf on a small budget? Check out the popular mini-golf venue Castle Golf which was voted #1 in Florida by Florida´s Monthly Magazine. The 18 hole course is very large, nearly as big as some 36 hole courses!
2) To visit a museum with hundreds of Edison´s and Ford´s inventions, head over to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. The grounds around the museum are home to the award-winning Moonlight Garden and various other interesting plants.
3) Fort Myers is close to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, so grab your towel, your swimming gear and sunscreen and do some serious relaxing in the sun and sea. Both Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Beach are repeatedly ranked as top destinations for shelling, kayaking, bird watching and beach combing. Some of the rare shells you can collect here include the brown speckled junonia, sculpted lion's paw, golden tulip and the Scotch bonnet.
4) For a bit of nighttime culture, pay a visit to the Florida Repertory Theatre in the Historic Arcade Theatre located in the River District. This theater company puts on professional and very entertaining shows, compared in quality to those found on Broadway. Round off the night with a drink in the Buckingham Blues Bar, a great live music venue also open during the day, where you can get into the swing of things at one of their Backyard Bluesfest events.
Fort Myers´s Food Delights
Food outlets and restaurants abound in Fort Myers, as in any tourist destination worth its salt! For breakfast, check out the recommended Bennett´s Fresh Roast for their great donuts and other tasty breakfast items. A lunchtime option would be a delicious fried green tomato salad at the Red Rock Saloon. For Mexican food, head toLa Fogata, or El Gaucho Inca for some good steak or seafood. Blue Windows Bistro serves up some great French bistro food, and Ley Roy Selmons chain restaurant provide comforting Southern style soul food.
Getting To and Around Fort Myers
Southwest Florida International Airport is the closest airport to Fort Myers, serviced by many taxis and also the public transport system Lee Trans, which also one of the best ways to get around in the city. As Fort Myers is very bicycle-friendly, hiring a bike to see the sights and get to the beach is another great and healthy option. Remember to bring plenty of water on your cycles and wear sunscreen, as the temperature can take its toll when you´re being active.
Accommodation and Apartments for Rent in Fort Myers
There is plenty of accommodation on offer in Fort Myers, from luxury resorts to smaller hotels and condominiums at the beach. For those travellers looking to get a more local experience while also benefitting from the cost-saving element of self-catering, there are the many offers available on Wimdu. Our friendly hosts will not only extend you a warm welcome into their apartment or villa, but may also have some great insider tips on the area to offer you when handing over the keys, or if you are availing of a great bed and breakfast rental, over morning coffee even!