It is no stretch to say there is something for everyone who visits the Fort Myers Beach area. The vacation attractions throughout Fort Myers, Sanibel Island and Captiva offer a combination of natural paradise, unique history and an unlimited amount of things to do.
Exquisite beaches, mangrove forests, marine estuaries and more, all brimming with wildlife and subtropical flora, are right at your fingertips in Fort Myers. Featuring more than 300 species of birds, the Fort Myers area was named the best place for birding in the country by USA Today. Just like other visitors from the north, many birds make their winter home in Southwest Florida. You can catch these feathered friends on a hike, walk, bike or kayak in one of the area’s many refuges and preserves. Watch Eagles on Pine Island. At 17 miles long, this is Florida's largest island of the western Gulf coast. Just 15 minutes from Cape Coral, this amazing island actually consists of five very different communities. In the middle of these communities is Little Pine Island, a preserve and wetland restoration project in progress. There are 25 pairs of American Bald Eagles who nest here, as well as osprey, spoonbills, herons, ibis and egrets. You'll also spot manatees and dolphins in the surrounding waters.
History enthusiasts will discover just as much to fascinate them. Native Americans, pirates and world-famous inventors have all called the Fort Myers area home. The Calusa Indians ruled Southwest Florida for thousands of years before the arrival of famed Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon in the early 1500s. Meaning “the fierce people,” the Calusa lived in communal houses, some big enough to hold 2,000 people. Communal garbage mounds of discarded shells called middens can still be seen today. The shell mounds mark the highest elevation in the area and most of Useppa Island is on reclaimed land, built up by the compacting of discarded shells over hundreds of years. Accessible only by boat, Mound Key is now a state park and a significant archeological site.
Sanibel Island’s oldest structure is a popular attraction you'll want to visit—and photograph. Everyone does. The Sanibel Lighthouse has a unique open tower, designed to weather hurricane-force winds, allowing them to pass through the structure without causing major damage. The original grounds included two identical lighthouse keeper's dwellings, a storehouse, an oil house (which provided the fuel ... later changed to gas and then electricity), and a wharf. Today, you can fish from the lighthouse pier, wander the nature trails and watch the sun rise or set in the tranquil park. The houses, however, are homes to employees who maintain the buildings and grounds, and are off limits. As for the lighthouse, it is best appreciated from the outside looking in.
One attraction no one should miss is watching the sunsets. Whether it’s a January day with an average high of 73 degrees or a steamy summer night with temperatures in the 90s, the sun still shines incredibly. The warmth of its orange-red hues will caress you long after your vacation is completed.
Full of extraordinary natural attractions and unequaled history, the Fort Myers area will leave you amazed and enriched.