As a desirable vacation destination, Fort Myers and its neighboring cities attract thousands of visitors annually. Much remains as it was hundreds of years ago, serene and unspoiled. Mangrove forests, saltwater wetlands, wildlife refuges, tropical gardens, nature trails, miles of winding canals and waterways, and hundreds of islands, some inhabited, some not, provide a magical retreat from the fast-paced world.
Located on the southern bank of the Caloosahatchee River and known as the “City of Palms”, Fort Myers is rich in history, Civil War settlement, and Seminole Indian legacies. The wide Caloosahatchee River diagonally divides the city from Cape Coral to the west, and North Fort Myers just across the Edison Bridge.
You'll never be bored here. Cultural attractions like the Imaginarium and the Arcade Theatre mix with beach activities. The annual Edison Festival of Light unites everyone in the city for a citywide celebration. Fort Myers is also the winter home of the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins .
Northwest of Fort Myers, Cape Coral was originally laid out to resemble the Venice of Italy on the Gulf of Mexico. The man-made canal systems were instrumental in its residential and commercial growth and expansion. There are many popular outdoor attractions here, such as the Sun Splash Family Waterpark . With more than 30 parks, there are also numerous boardwalks and trails for visitors to explore. The Children's Science Center and the Cape Coral Historical Society Museum provide an educational respite.
Southwest of Fort Myers is the popular island of Sanibel, 12 miles long and 5 miles wide, connected at a narrow point. With a reputation for great fishing, windsurfing, shell collecting, bird watching and other outdoor pursuits, the best way to get around the island is by bicycle. Visit the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and the Sanibel Gallery .
Golf and tennis are available at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club on the eastern end of the island, the Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa . The J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge , is a must-see.
Upper Captiva, at the northern end of Sanibel Island, is about 4.5 miles long and a half mile wide. It is mostly a wildlife sanctuary and the perfect place to go for seclusion and privacy. This barrier island is a great place to view dolphins, birds, and beautiful sunsets.
Fort Myers Beach
Fifteen minutes south of Fort Myers along the Gulf coast is Fort Myers Beach. A popular retreat for vacationers with many quaint restaurants like Channel Mark Restaurant and unique hotels like Pointe Estero Beach Resort , it offers charter fishing, cruises and tours to neighboring islands or all the way to Key West. Entertainment can be found at Indian Creek Plaza .
In and around the Fort Myers area, and on the neighboring islands, there are many wonderful restaurants, cafes and eateries that will satisfy any taste, from simple country cooking to sophisticated continental.
Downtown near the historic district, Sasse's is well known for delicious Italian fare, or try Farmer's Market Restaurant for yummy casual country cooking. In an old converted home built in 1923, the Morgan House Restaurant and Trading Post offers delicious dining in a romantic setting with steaks, pasta or seafood.
Take an unusual ride to dinner, to a unique and popular place 20 miles northwest of the city and accessible only by boat: the Cabbage Key Restaurant . Unless you own a boat, water taxis from Pine Island are another the way to get here. Be sure to try the fresh grouper and key lime pie. There's also an inn here if you want to spend a day or more. Rated high for its great seafood is Prawnbroker Restaurant and Fish Market .
For romantic dining on the Caloosahatchee River, Shooters Waterfront Cafe USA is the trendy place to go for good food and relaxation. There's live entertainment on the weekend as well. Well-known for delicious French continental cuisine, Peter's la Cuisine is a good choice that offers satisfying meals in a charming atmosphere. If you're in the mood for both good food and laughter, go to the Laugh In Comedy Cafe .
Sanibel and Captiva
Near wildlife parks and refuges on the islands of Sanibel and Captiva, dining on the Gulf of Mexico is at its best with terrific water views and warm tropical breezes. Anything will taste good in such a beautiful setting. Just the same, you'll find creative dining at the popular Mad Hatter , located right on the Gulf of Mexico. For a casual dinner and some dancing, try Jacaranda .
For a romantic view of San Carlos Bay, along with healthy dining options, the Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa offers the Promenade Cafe. The Bubble Room is another well known dining establishment on this quaint island.
On Captiva Island, just north of Sanibel, there's great French dining at the Village Cafe . The Viva Cafe and Gallery is worth at least one visit. It offers good food and casual dining. If you're in the mood for Northern Italian cuisine to go with a walk along the beach, you'll be well-satisfied with Bellini's . For California-style fare made with natural ingredients, try the Sunshine Cafe . If you hunger for well-seasoned steaks, try Beachview Steakhouse and Seafood . Afterward, enjoy delicious homemade ice cream or a latte at The Bean . A great place for family dining is the Hungry Heron , which offers hundreds of menu items.
South Fort Myers
In the south Fort Myers area, you'll find the Bistro 41 restaurant, popular for its eclectic cuisine. If you're into authentic Mexican food with large, satisfying portions, then head over to Iguana Mia . For great steaks, there's The Sanibel Steakhouse . Another good restaurant that serves great food in large portions is Basile's .
Fort Myers Beach
Along popular Fort Myers Beach and Estero to the south, Fernando's Italian Restaurant of Martha's Vineyard serves authentic Italian fare right on the water. For dining and dancing by the ocean, enjoy your evening at the Lani Kai Beach Resort , or for a view of Hurricane Bay, try Channel Mark Restaurant .
If you're out on a boat around Fort Myers Beach and want lunch served to you on the water, the Sea Dog Emporium will deliver American classics like hamburgers or hot dogs.