Nestled on Estero Island along Florida’s sun-drenched Gulf Coast, Fort Myers is the real deal: a beach resort with superb sand, warm crystal waters, and something for everyone. Families, couples, fishermen, golfers, nature lovers and anyone with an honest appreciation of the good things in life will love it here. That’s because there’s plenty of opportunity to relax, and plenty of chances to get active – which is what gives Fort Myers holidays their all-round appeal.
The rule here is that the further south you go along the island towards Lovers’ Key, the quieter it gets. ‘Times Square’ at the north end is where the action is: there’s shops, watersports, restaurants, bars, a playground and a real buzz in the air. But meander along Estero Boulevard away from the Square and the pace slackens, giving way to long stretches of immaculate white sand, with families picnicking and couples stretched out under the sun. Stare out from the shore and you may well spot dolphins at play.
That’s a clue to the fact nature abounds here in some considerable glory. Fort Myers Beach is encircled by intricate waterways and rivers; and Estero Bay on the island’s leeward side is itself an aquatic preserve, home to manatees, exotic marine life and countless bird species. The result is quality wildlife-spotting pretty much on tap, whether you’re out on the water, visiting the surrounding State Parks, or taking a boat trip over to a nearby island.
On top of that there’s golf; fishing for grouper and snapper; retail therapy; and plenty of places to sample the local cuisine. Plus there’s watersports, of course. You can even strap on a jet pack and fly above the ocean – proof that there really is something for everyone on Fort Myers holidays…even Superman wannabes.
First off light bulb inventor Thomas Edison built a grand winter home on the mainland, then father of the motor car Henry Ford did the same next door. Now you can view their sumptuous estates, complete with grand buildings and tropical gardens – plus if you’re here in February, enjoy the dazzling three-week Festival of Light culminating in the famous Grand Parade.
Get back to nature at this State Park, which you can reach from Fort Myers Beach by boardwalk or tram. This is a haven for humans and wildlife alike, with hiking trails, picnic spots, canoe trips, shell collecting and boating – or you could just drift away on a quiet beach. Look out for manatees, bottlenose dolphins, roseate spoonbills, marsh rabbits and bald eagles.
Every year two major baseball teams take over the stadiums in Fort Myers for spring training before the main season begins. The Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins play a series of games in preparation for the main action, presenting the perfect opportunity to catch baseball at its best.
There are a collection of lovely islands off this coast, and Sanibel and Captiva Islands are just next door. Take a boat trip to this upmarket enclave to collect shells along the pristine beaches, visit their superb wildlife reserves, drink in the tranquil atmosphere, and watch stunning sunsets as they spread across the sky.
There’s no better way to appreciate the watery wonderland all around Fort Myers Beach than by kayak or canoe. Take a trip with a guide through the winding waterways of Pine Island or on the Estero River, which is part of the 190-mile Great Calusa Blueway. You’ll see some amazing wildlife along the way.