Located on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River, the city of Fort Myers is one of Florida’s top tourist destinations. One of the main attractions is beautiful Fort Myers Beach on a long barrier island 15 miles south of downtown. The firm sand is perfect for building sandcastles, and that’s official as the beach hosts the annual American Sand Sculpting Championships every November.
The shallow Gulf waters and gentle waves are a popular playground for swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing, banana boat rides, jet skiing, and stand-up paddleboarding. You can rent boats, beach bikes, and waverunners or go parasailing high above the waves on an exhilarating ride.
Boating and Fishing in Fort Myers Beach
Water features high in Fort Myers’ activities. You can rent kayaks at several Lee County parks including Lakes Park and Manatee Park, where manatees gather in the warm waters from December to April. Or take a guided eco-kayak tour of Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve with Crazy Woman Kayaks. Kayaking is a great way to discover nesting waterbirds, wading herons, and other Florida wildlife in their native habitat.
Boat trips offer a host of activities, from eco-cruises in Fort Myers’ backwaters to fishing, shelling, dolphin-spotting, and sunset tours which depart regularly from Fort Myers Beach. You can even hop aboard the Key West Express for a fun day trip in the “Conch Republic”.
Fort Myers is famous for its fishing and there are a variety of charter fishing outfitters on Fort Myers Beach. Enjoy a fun day out on the water with everything you need for reeling in snook, tarpon, snapper, amberjack, grouper, shark, tuna, wahoo, and sailfish.
Downtown Fort Myers Attractions
Back on dry land, downtown Fort Myers is a compact area of independent shops, sidewalk cafés and restaurants which buzz with locals and visitors. Friday nights are always popular as the River District hosts an Art Walk from 6 p.m. on the first Friday and a Music Walk on the third Friday of each month. Expect live music, from rock to jazz, and late night shopping along First Street.
There’s no better way to appreciate Fort Myers’ historic architecture and heritage than on a guided walking tour. True Tours offers a range of themed tours focusing on the history, architecture, legends and legacies of this thriving city. There’s even a haunted history tour and a cemetery tour for those who like a few scary stories after dark.
Historic Things to Do in Fort Myers
Historic home tours in Fort Myers include Burroughs Home and Gardens and the excellent Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Explore 20-acres of lush gardens and the fully furnished winter retreats of these two famous businessmen, who were also the best of friends. This top Fort Myers, Florida attraction includes a garage with early Ford motor vehicles and the fully restored laboratory where Edison worked on his many inventions. A café, gift shop, museum, and garden center complete the extensive site.
Wildlife Attractions in Fort Myers
Don’t leave town without experiencing some of Florida’s natural attractions. The boardwalk and lookouts at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve provide hiking, birding, and nature spotting at its best. You are sure to see alligators, turtles, egrets, herons, otters, and other wildlife in their native environment at this free Fort Myers attraction.
The family-friendly Butterfly Estates has a fabulous walk-thorough butterfly enclosure, or join an eco-tour along the Caloosahatchee River. Pure Florida offers exciting sightseeing river cruises departing from The Marina at Edison Ford and you may be lucky enough to spot bald eagles, manatees, dolphins, and other Florida wildlife.