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Fort Myers FL

Fort Myers, FL

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Take one trip down McGregor Boulevard and it is plain to see why Fort Myers is nicknamed the “City of Palms.” Resting on the western side of Florida, Fort Myers is a palm-draped playground for back-to-nature excursions, family trips and romantic getaways.

This paradise of soft sand and warm gulf waters lies protected by small barrier islands. Spend your days at Fort Myers Beach, or drive across the causeway to secluded and pristine Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel Island. Cross another bridge to reach adjacent Captiva Island. Captiva Beach sees some of the best sunsets and is known as the go-to for romance seekers. Throughout the area, travelers can take part in one of the favorite beach activities in Fort Myers: shelling.

Lovers Key, one of four islands that make up Lovers Key State Park, is an excellent spot to collect seashells. Visitors are likely to spy a wide variety of wildlife while strolling the sands. Manatees and dolphins are common in the island’s waters, while rabbits scamper the shore and tempt eagles overhead. From Lovers Key, Fort Myers tourists can also access Black Island, home to a spectacular five-mile trail system for hikers and mountain bikers.

For fun in the water, Florida’s canoe trail, the Estero River route, leads paddlers 3.5 miles to the water preserve of Estero Bay. Boating conditions are excellent in the area, and sailboats and powerboats can be rented at many locations along the shores.

On land, some of the top attractions in Fort Myers are the winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, located next door to one another on McGregor Boulevard. Tour the houses and Edison’s laboratory, stroll the gardens and let the kids enjoy the Saturday Young Inventors’ Tour. If visiting during January or February, the Edison Festival of Light provides three weeks of fun activities in Fort Myers, including the Grand Parade, the largest night parade in the Southeast.

When it comes time to dine, think seafood. Famous for stone-crab claws, fried grouper sandwiches and Sanibel pink shrimp, Fort Myers has many great restaurant options. Among the best are downtown’s historic restaurant Veranda and Sanibel Island’s Sweet Melissa’s Café. After dinner, take in a show at the award-winning Florida Repertory Theater, housed in the gorgeous 1908 Arcade Theatre downtown.

To gain a historical view of the city, embark on one of the Southwest Florida Museum of History walking tours through the River District. Tours run Wednesdays and Saturdays, and reservations are required. Or, explore the Fort exhibit within the museum, which details the evolution of Fort Myers through history.

If shopping is the on the vacation agenda, head to the Bell Tower Shops, an open-air, Mediterranean-style shopping center on the city’s south side. Also, at the nearby Tanger Outlets, shoppers have over 43 brand-name outlet stores at their fingertips. For bargain-hunters, Downtown’s Fleamasters Fleamarket, is a top attraction in Fort Myers that offers everything from paintings to fresh fruit in 400,000 square feet.

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