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Hotel & Resorts

6 Superb Experiences Throughout A Good 5 Days In Fort Myers, Florida

With a historic downtown whose vibrancy grows by the day and its shut proximity to a few of the finest Gulf Coast seashores round, a 5-day keep within the Fort Myers space received’t have you ever questioning what there may be to do. Extra doubtless you may be attempting to determine how one can lengthen your keep to suit all of it in. Primarily based on my 4 a long time as a full-time resident, this itinerary handpicks one of the best of one of the best so that you can select from, relying in your individualized imaginative and prescient of an ideal Florida trip.

Be aware: I’ve been hosted by Luminary Resort & Co., however all opinions expressed herein are my very own.

1. Following In Edison’s Shadow

Fort Myers’s status as a historic vacation spot emanates from the sunshine Thomas Edison shone on it again within the Eighties when he selected the then cow city for his residence. The sensible and illustrious adopted in his footsteps, and now you may too.

A Garden at Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers

A Backyard at Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers

Chelle Koster Walton

Edison And Ford Winter Estates

Edison’s shut ally, Henry Ford, adopted very carefully behind the prolific inventor — he moved in subsequent door, actually. The 2 historic estates make up Fort Myers’s primary attraction, the Edison and Ford Winter Estates on the Caloosahatchee River. Moreover the unique riverside houses, guests can tour Edison’s experimental and botanical gardens, his lab, a museum that showcases his innovations, early mannequin Fords, a swimming pool, and different buildings and artifacts.

Burger at Ford's Garage in Fort Myers

Burger at Ford’s Storage

Chelle Koster Walton

Theme Eating places

Downtown’s Ford’s Storage was the launchpad for a sequence of in style eponymous burger and craft beer eating places in Florida and past. (There’s additionally a close-by Edison Restaurant on the Fort Myers Nation Membership, but it surely’s not practically as in style.) Tire mogul Harvey Firestone, an Edison colleague who additionally arrange winter headquarters in Fort Myers, impressed one more downtown restaurant in his identify that focuses on fantastic steaks and seafood.

Luminary Hotel in Fort Myers

Luminary Resort

Felix Mizioznikov /

Luminary Resort & Co.

Proceed your keep in Edison theme with an in a single day at Luminary Resort & Co., the latest resort advanced within the historic Fort Myers River District and a part of the Marriott Autograph Assortment. Historic images of Edison and different native luminaries beautify the resort and its vigorous meals and beverage retailers, which have, because it opened in 2020, perked up the riverfront simply blocks from the winter estates.

Be Creative

Make like Tom and Henry on the IMAG Historical past & Science Middle in downtown Fort Myers. Construct something from a rollercoaster and chateau to a gizmo of your personal invention within the Palms-On Corridor. Different displays discover sea life, climate, and native historical past.

McGregor Boulevard

After I say “cow city,” I’m not kidding. Cattlemen drove their herds proper down Fort Myers’s primary avenue. Edison is chargeable for turning the road, which handed via his property, into a beautiful, royal palm–lined boulevard that finally gave Fort Myers its nickname “Metropolis of Palms.” At present, the drive between south Fort Myers and downtown takes you alongside historic residential neighborhoods, artwork complexes, a metropolis golf course, one-of-a-kind outlets, and eating places.

Beacon Social Drinkery in downtown Fort Myers

Beacon Social Drinkery

Chelle Koster Walton

2. Downtown Fort Myers Eating And Revelry

A couple of quick a long time in the past, downtown dwelt on demise’s doorstep as newer neighborhoods stole the limelight. That each one modified with a redevelopment challenge and the Historic Fort Myers River District company that has resuscitated its coronary heart and infused a youthful vibe.

Avenue Events

Every month, Music Stroll (the third Friday) and Artwork Stroll (first Friday) shut off streets for pedestrian site visitors whereas bringing efficiency and visible arts to the forefront. Watch the downtown calendar additionally for annual occasions, equivalent to Taco Fest and Freedom Fest. With the reopening of renovated Centennial Park and its new amphitheater on the Caloosahatchee River, count on extra live shows and festivities.

Get together From The Rooftops

It began with the Sky Bar atop Firestone Grill Room, the place people crowded nightly for drinks and views of the Caloosahatchee River and historic Fort Myers River District. Then Luminary Resort launched its 12th-floor Beacon Social Drinkery, which rapidly grew to become the hotspot. Extra not too long ago, the Sidney & Berne Davis Artwork Middle debuted a rooftop sculpture backyard with its personal bar 4 tales excessive. 

Professional Tip: On the horizon, search for one other sky bar on the forthcoming Banyan Resort from the Hilton’s Tapestry Assortment. 

The Veranda

Downtown’s eating scene retains tempo with the occasion vibe as new eating places pop up alongside First, Fundamental, and facet streets. One, nonetheless, has stood as an icon of Fort Myers historical past and eating since 1978. The Veranda lives in two restored pioneer houses and exhibits its class with Victorian structure and elevated Southern delicacies.

Breakfast And Brunch

After an evening in town, chances are you’ll want a very good, stable culinary begin to the day, and Fort Myers provides loads of enjoyable choices. My new favourite, Ella Mae’s Diner within the Luminary Resort, takes its identify from late Nineteenth-century physician, visionary, and philanthropist Dr. Ella Mae Piper; and its delicacies from her soul-food roots. 

Or, be part of the working class for an reasonably priced traditional breakfast on the 30-year-old Oasis Restaurant. 

Weekend brunch at The Customary is its personal scrumptious event, typically with dwell leisure, equivalent to Drag Queen Karaoke and Drag Me to Church occasions.

Sanibel Island beach

Sanibel Island seashore

Chelle Koster Walton

3. Day At The Seashore

Any go to to Southwest Florida requires seashore time. It’s fairly merely nonnegotiable.

Sanibel Island Seashores

Famously scoured for its wealth of seashells on the seashore, Sanibel’s 12-mile continuum of gulf coast seashore is liked additionally for its wildlife and undeveloped character. For one of the best birding, hit Lighthouse Park Seashore. Shelling? Bowman’s Seashore.

Bailey-Matthews Nationwide Shell Museum

When you catch the shelling bug (and you’ll), study your finds and the creatures that after occupied them on the one-of-a-kind Bailey-Matthews Nationwide Shell Museum, full of aquariums and displays that discover the function of shells and mollusks via historical past. The museum additionally leads a each day guided shell stroll to additional your shell-smarts.

Fort Myers Seashore

So shut, however but so removed from Sanibel in character (suppose shellers vs. hellers), Fort Myers Seashore (FMB) has an old-timey Florida seashore really feel. That’s altering with the development of a Margaritaville resort, however its playtime, party-on vibe persists, particularly throughout spring break. Lynn Corridor Memorial Park is hottest with households, anglers (there’s a fishing pier), diners, and partiers.

Lovers Key State Park

Head south of FMB’s hubbub to search out seashore gem Lovers Key State Park, the place dolphins, birds, kayaking, and academic packages add dimension. Earlier than or after the seashore, cease in at its new Discovery Middle to chill down and be taught seashore and wetlands ecology.

Pink Shell Beach Resort; Fort Myers

Pink Shell Seashore Resort

Chelle Koster Walton

Seashore Resorts

Simply can’t pull your self away from the seashore? From barefoot cottages like Gulf Breeze Cottages on Sanibel Island to vacation spot household resorts like South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island and Pink Shell Seashore Resort on Fort Myers Seashore, the choices are countless.

TravelAwaits personal William Stupp additionally compiled a number of lovely Fort Myers Seashore trip leases, all distinctive and accomodating of various journey wants.

Professional Tip: Greatest eating places with seashore views? Thistle Lodge on Sanibel Island and Recent Catch Bistro on Fort Myers Seashore.

Birds at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island

Roseate spoonbills and different birds at J.N. “Ding” Darling Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island

Chelle Koster Walton

4. Wildlife Safari

Lengthy earlier than ecotourism grew to become a factor, this a part of Florida attracted wildlife lovers in search of the flipside to the state’s theme-park status.

J.N. “Ding” Darling Nationwide Wildlife Refuge

Most generally identified, “Ding” Darling on Sanibel Island has attracted birders for the reason that Nineteen Forties. Inside its 6,400 acres of on-island wetlands and mangrove forests, it additionally harbors manatees, alligators, river otters, horseshoe crabs, and bobcats in its various habitats. Motorists, hikers, cyclists, boaters, kayakers, and paddleboarders have the nice fortune to get inside simple recognizing distance of untamed animals typically.

For extra on “Ding” Darling, see: Florida Wildlife Refuge First To Assist Coloration Blind Guests See Its Distinctive Magnificence

Manatee skeleton at the Manatee Park

Manatee skeleton on the Manatee Park

Chelle Koster Walton

Manatee Park

Your prospects for recognizing the beloved manatee shoot approach up in Fort Myers’s Manatee Park through the cool months of winter, when they search out the comparatively heat waterways. Hire a kayak and paddle among the many light giants — bulbous mammals which have survived from a prehistoric period.

Rotary Park in Cape Coral

Rotary Park in Cape Coral

Chelle Koster Walton

Rotary Park Environmental Middle

Throughout the river from Fort Myers, Cape Coral celebrates its inhabitants of pint-sized burrowing owls with a pageant each February. Most occasions of the yr, you may spot the ground-dwelling birds — plus butterflies, migratory birds, and alligators — at Rotary Park Environmental Middle.

Professional Tip: Bringing younger adults alongside? Learn the ebook or watch the film Hoot with them. Its fictional city is modeled after Cape Coral and its burrowing owls.

Extra Birds And Gators

Two parks in Fort Myers are identified for his or her hen and alligator populations. Six Mile Cypress Slough Protect leads free guided excursions alongside its 1.2-mile boardwalk path via wildlife-rich wetlands. At Lakes Park, you may comply with biking trails and a boardwalk via hen habitat, pedal a ship within the lake, and even experience a miniature practice on the Railroad Museum of South Florida. 

Butterflies Aflutter

A few Fort Myers sights make butterfly recognizing simple with contained habitats. Each The Butterfly Estates downtown and Calusa Nature Middle & Planetarium focus on native Florida species, equivalent to zebra longwings, monarchs, swallowtails, and gulf fritillaries. Calusa Nature Middle & Planetarium additionally hosts different dwell animals, equivalent to birds of prey, child alligators, snakes, and bees. 

Sculpture in dowtown Fort Myers

Sculpture downtown Fort Myers commemorating friendship of Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and Thomas Edison

Chelle Koster Walton

5. Get Artsy

Downtown Fort Myers is perhaps the guts of the area’s suave inclinations, however you will see artwork facilities, galleries, and theaters all through the world’s communities.

On Stage

Stay performing-arts venues vary from bars, like downtown’s Barrel Room, to the Broadway productions and nationwide acts that take the stage at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Corridor at Florida SouthWestern State School. Downtown, skilled Florida Rep garners raves. Alongside the McGregor Boulevard hall, Broadway Palm has been performing musical dinner theater for 30 years. In September, plan on attending the county-wide Island Hopper Songwriter Fest.

Sidney & Berne Davis Artwork Middle

Additionally downtown in a circa-1930 neoclassical federal constructing, the Sidney & Berne Davis Artwork Middle hosts vital visible artwork exhibitions, dwell music, movie festivals, and particular vacation goings-on. 

Alliance For The Arts

Begun as a small group artwork facility, Alliance for the Arts has grown — and continues to take action — as the guts of Fort Myers’s visible and performing artwork alongside McGregor Boulevard. From its greens market and efficiency stage to its unfold of outside sculptures and annual festivals, it stays ever very important.

Professional Tip: Watch as the humanities heart develops its city art-fitness facility that includes the seminal work of late avenue artist Keith Haring.

Windsurfing near Fort Myers

Windsurfing close to Fort Myers

Kristi Blokhin /

6. Sports activities Whirl

Spectator and participatory. On land and on water. Sports activities occur all over the place in Fort Myers.

The Residence Groups

Fort Myers hosts one minor league and two main league baseball groups, plus skilled hockey. The Boston Pink Sox play their spring coaching season at JetBlue Park at Fenway South, whereas the Minnesota Twins compete within the Grapefruit League at Hammond Stadium in Lee County Sports activities Complicated. In summer time, Hammond Stadium hosts the Florida State League workforce, the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. In close by Estero, the Florida Everblades compete at Hertz Area within the East Coast Hockey League. 


Past its grabbag of golf holes on programs all through the world, Fort Myers boasts two claims to golf fame. It’s the web site of the primary Popstroke, a mini-course on steroids developed by Tiger Woods’s workforce. Topgolf introduced its state-of-the-art idea to city in 2021, with greater than 70 climate-controlled driving bays, foods and drinks, and the newest expertise.


With the Gulf of Mexico, bay waters, rivers, and streams, it’s arduous to remain out of the water in Fort Myers. I can’t think about a go to to my neighborhood with out getting out on a ship or at the very least a seashore. Charters, excursions, and leases facilitate fishing, parasailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, browsing, water-skiing, jet-skiing, kite browsing, boogie boarding, snorkeling… the listing goes on and on.

For extra water actions in Fort Myers, see: The 5 Greatest Experiences On The Water In Fort Myers, Florida

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