By: Gillian Birch
As the cooler days of winter in Southwest Florida begin to descend, they are the perfect time to get out and about exploring the area. Fort Myers pulls out all the stops to provide some extra things to do to celebrate the festive Holiday season. Why not plan to visit one of these local attractions, or tour them all!
Edison & Ford Winter Estates Holiday Tours
The Edison & Ford Winter Estates include two historic homes, gardens, and a museum on a site once owned by Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. As neighbors, they enjoyed spending the winter months in their waterfront homes overlooking the broad Caloosahatchee River.
Located on McGregor Blvd, just a short distance from downtown Fort Myers, the 20-acre estate is particularly attractive during the Holiday Nights event. It kicks off with a tree lighting ceremony on November 23, 2018 at 6 p.m. However, it’s more than just a Christmas tree that is lit up!
The white picket fences enclosing the Edison & Ford Winter Estates are decked with swags of greenery and lights. Trees all over the garden sparkle with colorful lights and decorations. Best of all, the two historic homes are decorated with Christmas trees and decorations just as if the families were home. Peek through the windows and open doors to see the magical setting. The dining table is laid with festive treats. Gifts and toys lie beneath the tree, which is appropriately dressed with lights as homage to Edison, the inventor of the incandescent light bulb.
Holiday Nights includes live music, food, beverages, special events, and visits by Santa himself. This popular Holiday Nights event runs daily from 5:30 to 9 p.m. until December 30. You can even shop for last minute gifts in the beautiful Ford Cottage Shoppe.
Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Nothing beats the magical sight of a parade of boats sailing along Estero Bay. Pick yourself a viewing point at one of the many bars and restaurants lining the route and enjoy a memorable evening of fun and entertainment. Nervous Nellies, Parrot Key Grill, Doc Fords, Bonita Bills, Shrimp Dock, and Matanzas on the Bay all offer grandstand seats, but you need to book early.
The 30thAnnual Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade sets sail from Salty Sam’s Marina on December 1, 2018 at 6 p.m. Around 30 beautifully lit boats sail along Matanzas Pass and into the first two canals of Siesta Isles. The event lasts around two hours.
Fort Myers Festival of Trees
The annual Festival of Trees is the chance to see dozens of lavishly decorated trees at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers. Entry is free but donations are accepted at the door to support the Southwest Florida Goodwill Foundation. It opens Black Friday (November 23) and runs until the first Saturday in December (Dec 1, 2018).
Annual Holiday House at Burroughs Home and Gardens
Dating back to 1902, the Burroughs Home has seen many Holiday celebrations come and go. However, it has never looked more resplendent than during December when the Holiday House event takes place. The home is open to the public for guided tours year-round. It is located on a 2.45-acre lot on First Street, in the shadow of the Edison Bridge (Bus. 41 South). It sits about 1.5 miles northeast of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates at the opposite end of downtown.
The historic Burroughs Home and Gardens are beautifully decorated for the Holidays by the Fort Myers Woman’s Community Club. Doorways and fireplaces are draped with swags, and decorations are arranged on every available surface. It brings this exceptional family home to life as it would have been in its heyday.
The lights continue out into the gardens where the tropical trees and plants are illuminated with thousands of lights. The event also includes the neighboring Langford-Kinston House, providing a double treat. Taking a tour of these stunning historic homes in Fort Myers is the perfect way to celebrate the Holiday season.
Holiday Express in Lakes Regional Park
Finally, youngsters will love the Holiday Express which runs through Lakes Regional Park from mid to late December. The scale model railroad takes passengers on a tour passing dozens of Holiday-themed models and inflatable decorations. It runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. Tickets are $5 for riders aged 6+ with concessions for youngsters (2018 prices). Adults must accompany children on the 15-minute ride.
Lakes Regional Park is located on Gladiolus Drive. It includes boardwalks, a café, lake walks, boat and bicycle rentals, and splash areas for a full day of Holiday fun!
Discover more Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, and Captiva holiday events here!