things to do in fort myers

16 Amazing Things To Do In Fort Myers, Sanibel + Captiva, Florida

Florida is renowned for its stunning beaches, tropical climate, and vibrant cities. Among the many gems in the Sunshine State, Fort Myers, Sanibel, and Captiva stand out as must-visit destinations. Located on the Gulf Coast, these beautiful coastal towns offer a plethora of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. From pristine beaches and outdoor adventures to cultural landmarks and culinary delights, there’s something for everyone in this enchanting region of Florida. In this blog post, we’ll explore 16 amazing things to do in Fort Myers, Sanibel, and Captiva, ensuring an unforgettable vacation experience.

Explore the Edison and Ford Winter Estates

things to do in fort myers

Embark on a captivating journey through history by visiting the iconic Edison and Ford Winter Estates. This unique attraction allows you to step into the world of two of the most brilliant minds in American history: Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

As you wander through the meticulously preserved historic homes of Edison and Ford, you’ll be transported back in time to an era of innovation and discovery. These homes served as their winter retreats and provide a glimpse into their extraordinary lives. Marvel at the original furnishings, personal belongings, and the impressive collection of inventions and artifacts.

The estates are not only about the houses themselves; they are surrounded by lush botanical gardens that are a testament to the vision and passion of these legendary figures. Take a leisurely stroll through the expansive grounds and immerse yourself in the beauty of exotic plants, serene water features, and stunning landscape design.

Throughout your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the remarkable contributions made by Edison and Ford to science and technology. Discover Edison’s groundbreaking inventions, including the phonograph and the incandescent light bulb, which forever changed the way we live. Gain insights into Ford’s pioneering work in the automobile industry and his vision for mass production.

Relax on Fort Myers Beach

things to do in fort myers

When it comes to pure relaxation and coastal bliss, Fort Myers Beach is the ultimate destination. This sun-drenched paradise offers a perfect blend of pristine beaches, warm turquoise waters, and a laid-back atmosphere that will wash away your worries and rejuvenate your spirit.

Picture yourself sinking your toes into the soft, powdery white sands as you sprawl out on the beach. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin as you listen to the soothing sound of waves crashing on the shore. Fort Myers Beach stretches for miles, providing ample space for you to find your own private slice of paradise.

Swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico is a must-do activity at Fort Myers Beach. Immerse yourself in the refreshing sea and let the gentle waves carry away your stress. The calm waters make it an ideal spot for leisurely swimming and floating, allowing you to unwind and reconnect with nature.

Visit the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

things to do in fort myers

A visit to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island is a gateway to a world of breathtaking natural beauty and abundant wildlife. This refuge, named after the Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, is a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts and conservationists alike.

The refuge encompasses over 6,400 acres of pristine ecosystems, including mangrove forests, tidal flats, marshes, and seagrass beds. Its diverse habitats attract an astonishing array of wildlife, making it a haven for birdwatchers, photographers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Stroll through the Sanibel Island Lighthouse

things to do in fort myers

A leisurely stroll through the historic Sanibel Island Lighthouse offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the charm and maritime heritage of this captivating destination. The lighthouse, standing tall at the eastern tip of Sanibel Island, is not only a picturesque landmark but also a window into the rich history of the area.

As you approach the lighthouse, you’ll be greeted by its iconic structure, a towering beacon of history and resilience. The Sanibel Island Lighthouse was first lit in 1884 and has been guiding mariners safely along the Gulf Coast ever since. Its distinctive white tower, standing at 98 feet tall, stands as a testament to the importance of maritime navigation in this region.

Take a leisurely stroll along the winding path that leads to the lighthouse. As you walk, breathe in the refreshing sea air and let the sounds of crashing waves serenade you. The surrounding area is abundant with natural beauty, featuring native vegetation and coastal flora that add to the scenic ambiance.

Explore the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

things to do in fort myers

Embarking on a journey of discovery at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is an absolute must for shell enthusiasts, nature lovers, and curious minds alike. Located on Sanibel Island, this unique museum is dedicated to the fascinating world of seashells, offering an immersive experience that showcases the beauty, diversity, and significance of these natural treasures.

Upon entering the museum, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of shells from around the globe. The extensive collection on display features rare, colorful, and intricately patterned shells, captivating visitors with their awe-inspiring shapes and sizes. Marvel at the stunning array of shells and learn about their intricate structures, scientific classifications, and the marine life that inhabits them.

Take a Captiva Island Sunset Cruise

things to do in fort myers

Embarking on a captivating Captiva Island Sunset Cruise is an experience that will leave you in awe of nature’s breathtaking beauty. This enchanting journey offers a front-row seat to witness one of the most mesmerizing natural phenomena—the setting sun casting its vibrant hues over the tranquil waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

As you board the sunset cruise, you’ll be greeted by the friendly and knowledgeable crew who will guide you through this unforgettable adventure. Find a comfortable spot on the deck, whether it’s a cozy seat or a spacious viewing area, and prepare to be swept away by the captivating sights and sounds that await you.

As the cruise sets sail, you’ll feel a sense of tranquility wash over you. The gentle sea breeze, the rhythmic motion of the boat, and the soothing sounds of the water create a serene ambiance, setting the stage for an unforgettable experience.

Indulge in Shopping at Times Square

things to do in fort myers

If you’re a shopaholic or simply enjoy the thrill of exploring unique boutiques and stores, then a visit to Times Square in Fort Myers Beach is an absolute must. This vibrant and lively shopping district is a hub of activity, offering an eclectic mix of shops, boutiques, restaurants, and entertainment options that cater to all tastes and interests.

As you enter Times Square, you’ll be immediately drawn to the energetic atmosphere. The streets are lined with colorful storefronts, and the sound of live music fills the air, creating a vibrant ambiance that sets the stage for an exciting shopping experience.

Kayak through the Great Calusa Blueway

things to do in fort myers

Embarking on a kayak adventure through the Great Calusa Blueway is an extraordinary way to explore the pristine waterways and immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the Fort Myers, Sanibel, and Captiva areas. The Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail is a designated water trail that stretches over 190 miles, offering a diverse and captivating kayaking experience for all skill levels.

As you glide through the calm and crystal-clear waters, you’ll be surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Southwest Florida ecosystem. The Blueway meanders through a variety of habitats, including mangrove forests, estuaries, saltwater marshes, and coastal bays, providing a rich tapestry of flora and fauna to discover.

Discover History at the Museum of the Islands

things to do in fort myers

Step into the Museum of the Islands and embark on a captivating journey through time, where you’ll uncover the rich history and cultural heritage of the captivating islands of Pine Island, Matlacha, and the surrounding areas. Nestled in the heart of Matlacha, this hidden gem of a museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, providing visitors with a deeper understanding of the unique stories and traditions that have shaped these island communities.

As you enter the museum, you’ll be greeted by a warm and welcoming atmosphere, where the past comes alive through engaging exhibits, artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays. The museum’s knowledgeable staff and volunteers are eager to share their passion for the islands’ history, providing a wealth of information and insights that will enhance your visit.

Enjoy Watersports at Bunche Beach

things to do in fort myers

Bunche Beach is a hidden paradise for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Located just south of Fort Myers, this pristine stretch of coastline offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and thrilling recreational activities, making it an ideal destination for those seeking an exhilarating aquatic adventure.

One of the main draws of Bunche Beach is its calm and shallow waters, which are perfect for a variety of water sports. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, there are activities to suit every skill level and interest.

Kayaking and paddleboarding are popular options at Bunche Beach, allowing you to navigate the tranquil waters and explore the surrounding mangrove forests and estuaries. Rent a kayak or paddleboard from a nearby outfitter or bring your own equipment, and set off on a self-guided expedition. As you paddle through the calm waters, keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls this area home, including birds, fish, and even the occasional dolphin or manatee.

Experience Art at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center

things to do in fort myers

Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of art and culture at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in Fort Myers. Housed in a historic building that dates back to 1933, this renowned art center is not only a hub for creativity and expression but also a testament to the rich architectural heritage of the region.

As you step inside the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, you’ll be greeted by a dynamic and ever-changing display of visual arts. The center hosts a diverse range of art exhibitions, showcasing the works of both local and internationally recognized artists. From paintings and sculptures to mixed media and digital art, there’s a captivating array of artistic styles and mediums to explore.

Go Fishing at the Sanibel Fishing Pier

things to do in fort myers

For fishing enthusiasts looking to cast their lines and reel in some memorable catches, the Sanibel Fishing Pier is a must-visit destination on Sanibel Island. Offering a prime location for both seasoned anglers and beginners, this iconic fishing spot provides an unforgettable fishing experience amidst the stunning natural beauty of the island.

Stretching out into the Gulf of Mexico, the Sanibel Fishing Pier provides easy access to the abundant marine life that inhabits the surrounding waters. Whether you prefer to fish from the pier itself or venture to the adjacent sandy beaches, there are plenty of opportunities to hook a variety of fish species and create lasting fishing memories.

Explore Lovers Key State Park

things to do in fort myers

Escape to the pristine natural beauty of Lovers Key State Park, a hidden gem nestled between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs. This enchanting park is renowned for its idyllic beaches, abundant wildlife, and a plethora of outdoor activities, offering a perfect retreat for nature lovers, adventurers, and those seeking a tranquil beach getaway.

Lovers Key State Park boasts more than 2 miles of pristine white sand beaches that stretch along the coastline, inviting visitors to relax, sunbathe, and enjoy the gentle ocean breeze. The secluded and tranquil ambiance of the beaches makes them a haven for those seeking a peaceful retreat away from the crowds. As you stroll along the shoreline, keep an eye out for seashells and the occasional dolphin or manatee swimming in the turquoise waters.

Take a Dolphin-Watching Tour

things to do in fort myers

Embark on an unforgettable adventure by taking a dolphin-watching tour in the Fort Myers, Sanibel, and Captiva area. These tours provide an up-close and personal encounter with these intelligent and playful marine mammals, allowing you to witness their natural behaviors and create lasting memories.

Dolphins are a common sight in the waters surrounding Fort Myers, Sanibel, and Captiva, and the dolphin-watching tours offer a unique opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat. The tours are typically led by experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the local marine life and the behaviors of dolphins. They will share fascinating insights and ensure a safe and respectful encounter with these captivating creatures.

Golf at World-Class Courses

things to do in fort myers

Golf enthusiasts visiting the Fort Myers, Sanibel, and Captiva area are in for a treat as the region boasts an impressive selection of world-class golf courses. With its favorable climate, stunning natural landscapes, and challenging layouts, this destination has become a golfer’s paradise, attracting players of all skill levels from around the world.

The area is home to a diverse range of golf courses, each offering a unique and memorable playing experience. From championship-level courses designed by renowned architects to picturesque courses nestled amidst lush greenery, there is something to suit every golfer’s preferences.

Enjoy Fine Dining

things to do in fort myers

When it comes to culinary delights, the Fort Myers, Sanibel, and Captiva area offers a rich and diverse dining scene that is sure to tantalize the taste buds of even the most discerning food enthusiasts. From fresh seafood caught daily to international flavors and farm-to-table delicacies, the region is a haven for those seeking exceptional dining experiences.

Fine dining establishments in the area showcase the skills of talented chefs who are passionate about creating memorable culinary experiences. These restaurants often feature elegant and inviting atmospheres, attentive service, and an array of carefully curated dishes that showcase the best local and seasonal ingredients.

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