Fort Myers / Cape Coral Florida
Fort Myers, Florida, also known as “The City of Palms” for its Royal Palm tree lined boulevards, has become a central hub for families, students, tourists and seasonal visitors alike to live, learn and play. The Fort Myers area has emerged as one of the best places to live in Southwest Florida because of the quality of life it offers all its residents ranging from the arts, attractions, parks, museums, recreation, education, restaurants, shopping, beaches, community events and much more.
Fort Myers’ central location makes traveling to nearby cities incredibly easy with Cape Coral to the west; Estero, Bonita Springs and Naples to the south; Sanibel and Captiva to the southwest; Lehigh Acres to the east. All it takes is a short ride on I-75 or 41 to get you to any one of Fort Myers’ neighboring cities.
Beaches & Boating in Fort Myers and Cape Coral
With 1.8 million annual visitors, Fort Myers Beach has gained a reputation for being the World’s Safest Beach because of its shallow waters and lack of undertow. Its 7 miles of white, sugar sand attract spring breakers from around the country as well as winter residents and locals alike. People of all ages can enjoy all that this pristine beach offers such as wave runner and jet ski rentals, boat rentals, fishing charters, parasailing, beachfront restaurants, a movie theater, bowling alleys, marinas, casino boats, Key West cruises, parks, picnic areas, a pier and plenty of shopping.
Just south of Fort Myers Beach is the state park of Lover’s Key. A haven for wildlife like manatees, bottlenose dolphins, roseate spoonbills, fiddler crabs and bald eagles, it is one of four barrier islands that make up the park. It is a unique beach experience as you walk the boardwalk or ride the tram to the beach great for shelling, swimming, picnicking and watching the wildlife. Just a ways farther south is Bonita Beach where beachgoers witness spectacular sunsets and cruise by gorgeous beachfront homes.
Plan a day out on the water with a number of boat rental options as well as Captained fishing charters that will take you to the best fishing spots of the back bay or the deep waters of the gulf and send you home with a coveted trophy. Just off the coast of Cape Coral, are some of the best fishing spots around near Matlacha and Pine Island.
Parks & Recreation
Fort Myers’ ecosystem and wildlife is excitingly unique and with so many opportunities to learn about the mammals, birds, reptiles and aquatic wildlife there are just as many opportunities to experience it all first had. Some of the greatest family memories can be made at places like the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary – where you can explore five habitats full of wildlife such as alligators, river otters, Florida black bear, owls, egrets, Ibis and Florida deer or the Calusa Nature Center where the experience is educational and personal with a museum where you will learn about Florida’s natural history, get up close and personal with skunks, raccoons, deer, butterflies, amphibians and birds of prey as well as an awe inspiring planetarium where you will discover how vast our universe is or even catch a movie. The Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve in Cape Coral is an attractive park for experienced kayakers as well as for anyone wanting to explore the wildlife-filled 365 acre preserve by way of the boardwalk. The list of Fort Myers’ opportunities to appreciate its natural habitat goes on with the Six Mile Cypress Slough, the Imaginarium & Aquarium, Babcock Ranch, the San Carlos Bay Bunche Preserve, the Koreshan State Park, Lakes Park and Manatee Park. With so many places to explore, there is no way you or your family will not find reason to get out of the house!
Fort Myers also has a wide range of recreational leagues, activities and centers that will keep the whole family active. With recreation centers in Bonita Springs, Estero, Lehigh Acres, Cape Coral and Fort Myers, you can take advantage of summer camps, sports leagues, open play, exercise classes, fitness facilities and more. Sign up your future baseball or softball star in one of the many local little league programs or traveling teams. For young volleyball players, Fort Myers is provides indoor and beach volleyball clubs where your child will have the opportunity to sharpen his/her skills for next season or even for their college tryouts.
Adjacent to the William “Bill” Austen Youth Center in Cape Coral, is one of the largest skate facilities from Tampa to Miami featuring almost 27,000 square feet of ramps, rails and pipes for skateboarders, rollerbladers, and bike enthusiasts ages 6 and up. Eagle Skate Park also offers an after school program where students will be supervised and enjoy private skate time, homework assistance, games and sports.
No matter what sport your child plays, you will find it in the Fort Myers area. But wait a minute, it is time to get off the bench and get in the game, adults because there are a variety of leagues for you as well! Break out that rusty gear and take advantage of Co-ed or men’s softball, indoor volleyball, beach volleyball, hockey, bowling, soccer, basketball, Frisbee golf and even roller derby for those hardcore ladies! The best part of it is, with our areas’ mild tropical weather you can enjoy playing your favorite sport year round!
Just like there are plenty of outdoor activities, there are plenty of hot shopping spots to take advantage of with shopping malls like Coconut Point, an outdoor mall, where you can find great stores like Dillards, Ann Taylor Loft, American Eagle, Soma Intimates, Aldo Shoes, Coldwater Creek, Brighton Collectibles, Banana Republic, Cache, Chico’s, DSW Shoes, Ulta and the list goes on and on. With over 140 top designer and brand names, Miromar Outlets is another great destination for all your shopping needs with discount stores like Bloomingdales, Juicy Couture, Cole Haan, Michael Kors, White House Black Market, Carter’s, Kenneth Cole and more. Gulf Coast Town Center is a popular spot for shopping and socializing featuring shops like JC Pennys, Belk, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Bass Pro, Best Buy, Babies R Us, Family Christian Store and Journey; and restaurants like Outback Steakhouse, P.F. Changs, Carrabbas Italian Grill, Calistoga Bakery Café, and Red Robin.
Nightlife & Entertainment
From live music to water parks, Fort Myers is not lacking in things to do. Almost any night of the week you will find live music from North Fort Myers to Estero featuring local bands like the Geek Squad, SYNU, Soapy Tuna, A200, Stolen Fruit, David C Johnson, Oysters Fantastic Band and many more, but no matter what kind of music you prefer, you can find it at any number of venues.
A few popular hot spots are Blu Sushi, Firepit, Bar Louie, The Cigar Bar and Ale House at Gulf Coast Town Center in Estero where on the weekends a younger crowd enjoys sushi, cocktails, karaoke and a few dances. For a central Fort Myers hot spot, the Edison is known to attract young and old out for a happy hour pick up or enjoying great American Cuisine while surrounded by the memorabilia of old Fort Myers. In the mood for some authentic Irish food and entertainment, Ballyorney Irish Pub is the newest addition to Fort Myers representing an artistic collection of different Irish Pubs across the country offering a different pub experience in every room as well as a wide variety of beers, ales, brews and blends.
Fort Myers offers plenty of entertainment and events for families as well! Like free family-friendly movies on the lawn at Gulf Coast Town Center in Estero, every Tuesday night during the summer. Or on those hot Florida days, Sunsplash Family Waterpark in Cape Coral is a great way to cool down and have some fun with slides, pools, a lazy river, tot spot, volleyball and food. Fort Myers also offers several community pools where your family can enjoy some safe family fun.
Don’t miss the great American sport of baseball at the minor league Miracle stadium on Thirsty Thursdays or free hotdogs on Friday nights and home of the Minnesota Twins Spring Training season from April to September. Also, to be completed for the 2012 Spring Training season is the new Boston Red Sox stadium which will hold 11,000 fans and will remain Boston’s spring training locale for the next 30 years (Lee County has been the Spring Training home of the Red Sox since 1993).
Experience some fun, food and murder, on the Murder Mystery Dinner Train where you will find a truly unique dining experience as you are served a five course meal in the midst of an ongoing comical mystery that is played out in the aisles. See if you can figure out the mystery.
Catch the critics’ latest rave at any one of the movie theaters in the area such as Bell Tower 20 (Fort Myers), Gulf Coast Town Center’s Regal Cinemas 16 (Estero), Hollywood Theatres Coconut Point 16 (Estero), and the Marquee Coralwood 10 (Cape Coral).
Choose from an array of activities from roller skating to windsurfing or a train ride to putt-putt golf. Fort Myers will keep your family busy!
Downtown Fort Myers
Also known as “The River District”, Downtown Fort Myers recently went through a 70 million dollar restoration and has become an inviting place for shopping, dining, live music, artists and community events. Downtown Fort Myers is home to cozy coffee shops like Café Matisse, high class restaurants like the Verandah, great hang outs like the Morgan House, late night snack stops like Downtown Pizza, crowded dance floors like Neo Lounge and beautiful, yet affordable accommodations like Hotel Indigo.
The River District also hosts great monthly events like Art Walk, which is held every first Friday of the month, when local artists come out to showcase their talents on the street and in the shops that keep their doors open till 10 p.m. to allow visitors to search through the many unique and eclectic items you will find nowhere else in Fort Myers. For music lovers, every third Saturday of the month brings the Music Walk which draws out a variety of bands and musicians ranging from punk, rockabilly, indie, reggae, folk, piano, steel drums and more. With over a dozen venues, including restaurants, galleries and bars, plus street performers spread out over the brick paved streets of Downtown Fort Myers, the Music Walk attracts people of all ages and kinds who come together to enjoy the many talented people who call Fort Myers home.
Art & History
Explore the history and the inventive minds of Thomas A. Edison and Henry Ford at the Edison-Ford Estates on McGregor Blvd where you will travel back in time to the invention of the light bulb and the improvement of the first automobile. Or take a tour of the Burroughs Home, a Georgian Revival Mansion that once hosted Fort Myers’ elite; it is also a great venue for weddings and other special events. Located in the old Atlantic Coastline Railroad depot, encourage your family to learn more about the history of the Southwest Florida area with a trip to the Southwest Florida Museum of History where they will learn about early settlers, Spanish explorers, the Paleo Indians, the Calusa, artifacts and even explore Theodore Roosevelt’s private 1929 Pullman rail car.
Book tickets to major Broadway shows like Wicked, Grease, My Fair Lady, Cats, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Jersey Boys and many more at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall on the Edison College campus. The Broadway Palm Dinner Theater is another great experience for anyone who appreciates the arts and dinner. For a more intimate theater experience once shared with Thomas A. Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, the Florida Repertory Theater, held in the historic Arcade in Downtown Fort Myers, offers comedic, dramatic and inspirational plays like Neil Simon’s Rumors, It’s A Wonderful Life, God of Carnage, The Glass Menagerie, Romeo and Juliet and much more.
Cape Coral Arts Studio, located in the Rubicond Park in south Cape Coral, provides a variety of fine arts and crafts to residents and visitors. Sign up for one of their classes, marvel at the beautiful artwork, restock your supplies at their art supply store or take part in one of their many culture filled events and art exhibits. The annual Cape Coral Festival of the Arts is held every January and features over 300 artists from all over the country who have a talented passion for painting, photography, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, clothing, metalwork and fine crafts.
With so much to offer its residents and visitors already, Fort Myers continues to expand providing new attractions, schools, parks and neighborhoods. Everything you need to improve the quality of life right here in Fort Myers.