Fort Myers Holidays 2018/2019
Fort Myers might not be quite as glitzy and in-your-face as Miami, but that's just the way the locals like it - and there's more going on in this laid-back beach city than meets the eye. Surrounded by lakes and wildlife preserves, it's a fantastic break for anyone who loves getting close to nature or simply recharging in the sun.
There's a great variety of beaches to visit – from romantic Captiva Beach and Bowditch Point Regional Park to historic Lighthouse Beach. Water-skiing, yachting and dolphin tours are all available from local providers, but if you'd rather just relax on the golden sands, nobody would blame you!
As well as the lakes and coastline, Fort Myers has an array of great shopping and dining experiences to offer, with many restaurants making the most of the excellent local seafood. There's also a number of museums and attractions to visit during the day and a selection of trendy night spots to visit after the sun goes down.
If you're looking for a beach holiday with something a little bit different, Fort Myers could be just the place for you – and if you fancy exploring further, Cape Coral's just a bridge away.
Things to do in Fort Myers
As well as its huge selection of golf courses – Heron's Glen Golf & Country Club, Verandah Golf Club and The Club at Shell Point to name just a few – Fort Myers has many great activities and attractions for all ages to enjoy.
The Edison and Ford Winter Estates is a 21-acre botanical garden and historical museum where visitors can find out all about the life and work of Thomas Edison, the American inventor widely credited with developing the first practical electric light bulb. The grounds also contain the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory, where Edison worked with his friend Henry Ford to develop new sources of rubber that could be grown in the USA.
Kids will love the Imaginarium Science Center, a hands-on museum and aquarium where you can see dinosaur fossils, watch 3D movies, play around with physics and get up close to all kinds of creatures like American alligators, green iguanas and bamboo sharks.
If you fancy a spot of fishing, or just want to relax in beautiful natural surroundings, the Lakes Regional Park just south of Fort Myers is the perfect place to do it. More than half of this 279-acre public park is covered in man-made freshwater lakes, offering plenty of scope for hiking and biking.
Where to eat in Fort Myers
Fort Myers is all about the food – and whether it's fine dining in swanky surroundings or a doughnut that'll knock your socks off, its collection of cafés and restaurants has you covered. Eateries are found all over the city, but as in many coastal Floridian towns you'll find most of them around the waterfront.
Visit Bennett's Fresh Roast for your morning coffee and one of the biggest doughnut selections you'll ever see: apple fritter, peanut butter, raspberry almond, maple bacon, orange crunch, pumpkin spice and many more. If you're feeling hungrier, there's a full breakfast and lunch menu to sink your teeth into too.
Jack's Farm to Fork offers quality dining using all locally-sourced produce, from seasonal farm vegetables to fish fresh from the Gulf. A typical menu contains delights like Prince Edward Island mussels, bouillabaisse (fish stew in saffron broth) and steak from the local Niman Ranch.
For some good down-home Southern food like hot boiled peanuts, fried okra, frog legs in honey sauce and pork ribs, head to Fancy's Southern Café – or if that sounds like too much meat, grab a vegetarian bite to eat at Chef Brooke's Natural Café, which also offers cooking classes.
Where to shop in Fort Myers
Whether it's essential items or a luxury shopping spree, you'll find lots of choice on hand in Fort Myers.
Edison Mall has a huge variety of shops to suit all tastes, ranging from tasty ice cream at Gelateria Stefano Versace to the latest fashions at American Eagle Outfitters and Express. There are plenty of department stores to explore in the form of Macy's, Sears Roebuck and JCPenney, and if you're looking for some pampering pop along to Diva Nails and Lee Day Spa.
Bell Tower Shops has even more retailers to explore, including some quirky and unique propositions. World of Beer stocks more than 500 different types of beer and has 46 draughts on tap, while Trader Rick's is an independent, eclectic mix of fashion boutique, jeweller's and aromatherapy store.
Enjoy a more relaxed retail experience at The Franklin Shops, a two-storey building with an ever-changing mix of pop-up retailers, boutique stores and art exhibits. It's a great place to pick up handmade souvenirs made by local craftspeople.
If you're looking to bag a bargain, try Ortiz Avenue Flea Market – with more than 500 vendors selling all kinds of items and produce, you'll find holiday essentials and maybe some unique gifts too.
Nightlife in Fort Myers
Fort Myers may be a tranquil beach city by day, but by night there's plenty of life: live music, trendy bars and high-energy clubs are all there for the taking. If you're heading out for the night, the Downtown and Gulf Coast Town Center areas are the places to be, with a great selection of nightspots.
The Keys Bar and Grill offers live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays in the form of duelling pianos, as two quick-fingered musicians battle it out for the entertainment of the crowd. With a host of tropical cocktails, frozen drinks and bar snacks also on the menu, it's an unforgettable night out for everyone.
The House of Brewz is well worth a visit if you've been bitten by the craft beer bug. Offering more than 50 pilsners, blonde ales, imperial stouts and much more on tap, along with its very own on-site micro-brewery, the House is the perfect place to sink a beer or three with friends.
For a more upscale night with a bit of culture and some truly creative cocktails, head to Space 39. This art bar and cocktail lounge not only serves banana bread and pumpkin pie martinis, but also showcases the works of talented local artists on its walls.
Find out even more great things to see and do in Fort Myers in our Secret Florida Guide to the city.