Area Attractions and Activities
Florida’s southwest coast is dotted with dozens of sun-splashed beach towns and must-see attractions, including Sanibel Island, Captiva Island and Lover’s Key State Park. Spring brings the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox to town for their annual Spring Training. Here, we highlight some of our favorite ways to spend a few hours exploring the area.
Lover’s Key State Park
Head to the southern tip of the island to discover the wildlife and wilderness of Lover’s Key State Park. Rent a kayak to find manatees, fish and hundreds of species of birds native to the Calusa Blueway.
Shops and cafes make up this favorite destination at Fort Myers Beach Pier. Stroll, pick up souvenirs and embark on a sightseeing or sunset cruise.
The heart and soul of Naples, this pastel-colored neighborhood of shops, restaurants, galleries and coconut palms captures the historic charm of one of Florida's most beloved cities.
Ostego Bay Marine Science Center
Aspiring marine biologists love the Ostego Bay Marine Science Center, where interactive exhibits, a touch tank, aquariums and guided and self-guided tours allow easy exploration of the unique ecology of the area’s barrier islands.
Bowditch Point Park
Located on the northern tip of Fort Myers Beach, 17-acre Bowditch Point Park is a mixed-use recreational spot and designated Great Florida Birding Trail and paddlecraft launch onto the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail. There are also walking trails, picnic areas, great swimming and sunbathing, and ten slips for day docking.
Big M Casino
Set sail and test your luck on this six-hour, high-stakes cruise featuring roulette, craps, blackjack and lots of food and drink.
Key West Express
A three-hour, air-conditioned ride on this high-speed ferry brings you to sunny Key West for the day.
Edison and Ford Winter Estates
Follow in the footsteps of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford while exploring 20 acres of historic buildings and gardens where these great men spent their winter vacations. Don’t miss the Edison Botanic Research Lab and Museum. Guided and self-guided tours available.
Catch the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium and the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park as these MLB teams train for another exciting season of America’s favorite pastime.
Head to downtown Fort Myers for fun events and the year-round Farmer’s Market on Friday and Saturday mornings.
Everglades National Park
Just 37 miles from Old Naples, the Gulf Coast Visitors Center for Everglades National Park welcomes visitors for guided boat rides into the Everglades’ swampy interior. Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle your way toward ospreys, egrets and even the occasional alligator.
Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
Top musicians, comedians and performers take a bow at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at Edison State College.
Bell Tower Shops
Lush flowers and splashing fountains make Fort Myers’ Bell Tower Shops a favorite destination for open-air shopping and dining. Williams-Sonoma, Saks Fifth Avenue and Banana Republic are among its 50+ shops.
More than 140 designer and brand name outlets, including Neiman Marcus Last Call, make this Estero, FL outlet mall a must-see for bargain hunters.
The shelling capital of the world, Sanibel Island is a treasure trove for shell collectors. Head to the Sanibel Lighthouse area in the early morning hours, preferably right after a storm, to discover an array of beautiful shells. Afterwards, stop by Periwinkle Place for great toy, gift and gourmet food shopping.
This free-spirited island enclave attracts artists with its mix of shops, restaurants and sights, including the Captiva Cemetery and the Island Store. Bring your sweet tooth; two of our favorites are the Mucky Duck (for Key Lime Pie) and the Bubble Room (for Orange Cake).
Gulf Coast Town Center
A great spot for strolling and shopping, this popular outdoor mall in Fort Myers has it all, from apparel and accessories to specialty stores and more than a dozen restaurants, including P.F. Chang's, Pinchers Crab Shack and The Keys Bar & Grille.
Located in nearby Estero, Coconut Point is an outdoor mall with more than 140 stores, including Apple, Buckle and Chanel. Top-notch eateries include Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Bice and Southfork Grille.
Florida Gulf Coast University
A member of the State University System of Florida, this four-year college in Fort Myers offers 51 undergraduate degree programs, a NCAA Division 1 athletics program and delightful campus distinguished by LEED-certified buildings.