Glorious sun, beautiful beaches, golf courses galore, and manatees—just a starter list for enjoying yourself in Fort Myers, the City of Palms.
Sanibel and Captiva are two islands off the coast of Fort Myers, connected to the mainland by a three-mile toll road (you’ll need a car). Sanibel has smooth beaches on its Gulf side and shallow bays, creeks, and the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on the east side. The refuge covers 6,000 acres and is home to many animal species. It is famous for its spectacular migratory bird populations.
The Captiva Island beaches at Fort Myers have been called the most romantic in the country. Captiva Island has only the sandy beaches, shells, calm waters, and warm air. It’s the perfect place to do nothing, although sunning, walking, and fishing are also possibilities.
For something more laid back and with more moderate prices, try Fort Myers Beach. A seven-mile, white, sandy beach, it is considered one of the best family-friendly beaches in the southeast United States. Most of the action is at “Times Square,” but the rest of the island is more sedate and relaxed.
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June through September can have temperatures in the 30s and 40s (Celsius) and can be very humid and very rainy. On average, the warmest month is July when temperatures sometimes reach the upper 40s.June through November is the hurricane season.December to May is the most pleasant time of year with average temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius and much less rain. January is the coolest month, when the temperature range is 10 to low 20s.
You’ll need a car to get around Fort Myers, the beaches and the surrounding attractions.
What is good to know if travelling to Fort Myers?
- If you’re a Red Sox or Twins fan, catch spring training in Fort Myers. The Red Sox practice at City of Palms Park and the Minnesota Twins at the Lee County Sports Complex.
- The Shell Factory, a North Fort Myers landmark, claims to have the largest collection of rare sea shells, sponges, coral, fossils, and sea-life specimens along with shells, things made from shells, and shell collections. In case that isn’t enough, there’s also a nature park, petting zoo, botanical trail, gourmet fudge, and more. Admission is free.
- Shelling is a main attraction at Sanibel Island; however, read up on seashell ecology so you don’t collect any shells protected by Florida law. To learn more about shells, stop in at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, which has displays of over a million shells from around the world. The annual Sanibel Shell Fair and Show, held for three days every March, features demonstrations of shell art and shell crafts and has shells and shell crafts available for purchase. Admission is free, and a donation is requested.
- Loggerhead turtles, an endangered species, nest and lay their eggs on Estero Island (Fort Myers Beach) from May through August. The incubation period is 55 to 65 days, and hatching can extend through October. See the Turtle Time Web site for guidelines on what to do during the nesting and hatching season.
- The best known of Fort Myers’ historic treasures are “Seminole Lodge,” the winter home of Thomas A. Edison, and Henry Ford’s neighbouring winter home, “The Mangoes.” Edison’s home includes his laboratory, where everything is just as it was when he worked in the lab. There are tours for both estates and scheduled events and activities throughout the year.
- Eden Vineyards and Winery, Florida’s oldest winery and vineyard, is about ten miles east of Ft. Myers. This is the southernmost federally licensed and bonded winery and vineyard in the US.